KC neighborhood upended by construction of pallet homes for the homeless

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents of the Eastwood Hills neighborhood of Kansas City, south of the stadium complex, are concerned about the proposed pallet-style “tiny houses” for the homeless in their community.

Councilor Melissa Robinson presented the resolution to house the project at the municipal farm last month.

The location is owned by the city and consists of over 440 acres. However, the plan suffers a major setback.

“As you say, this transitional housing, but the resources just aren’t in the area for pallet homes to be successful,” said Anna Wimmer, who lives in the Eastwood Hills community.

Wimmer and others share their concerns about already degraded areas, traffic, infrastructure and crime.

“While I don’t know the solution for the homeless, there are taxpayer citizens who need potholes fixed, who need trash picked up in the neighborhood, who need sidewalks, which need viable programs, which need the city cleaned up,” said Taryn Kelly.

A community meeting was held Tuesday night to discuss the proposal in front of town members.

Kansas City Deputy Director Kimiko Gilmore was the only city member to attend.

There were several controversial back-and-forth moments as dozens of people asked questions and shared their concerns about the potential project.

Gilmore addressed the crowd several times, making it very clear that this is not a set deal and when this happens there is a detailed plan.

“There’s trash and crime but with this, it’s not that. It’s not a camp you’d see on the streets or on the side of highways or anything. It’s not what it is,” Gilmore said.

The proposal consists of 59 shelters of 64 square feet. According to the city, the community would include full services and security.

While previously the area was suggested to have very little residential impact, people who live nearby say that is not the case.

“The thing is, sometimes people see the map with the municipal farm and think, oh, there’s nothing there. There are things located around and in the municipal farm, including the largest community garden in Kansas City,” President Gale Burrus said.

The president of the Eastwood Hills Neighborhood Association says he is not against the development, but against the proposal taking place at the municipal farm.

According to the deputy city manager, the city has already purchased materials to build pallet houses last year.

City members will discuss the financial plan for the project at a meeting later this month.

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