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Kansas City to temporarily house homeless people in hotels

April 9, 2021 GMT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Local officials agreed Thursday to provide temporary housing in hotel rooms for the homeless population in Kansas City, Missouri, following a months-long encampment on the lawn of City Hall.

The measure to provide hotel rooms for up to 500 people for the next 90 days unanimously cleared the City Council, the Kansas City Star reported.

Roughly 40 tents housing dozens of people have been set up in front of City Hall and in other encampments since February as advocates seek additional resources for people without secure housing.

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“Kansas City does not have unique problems, but Kansas City can have unique solutions,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “And a way that we can have those unique solutions is working together.”

The mayor said he is seeking support from the the City Council to accomplish longer-term solutions. The hotels will provide time to work on two other goals: a land bank for permanent housing and a workforce initiative.

“To me, that is a beautiful first step,” said James Shelby, who goes by the name Qadhafi and became homeless roughly two years ago. “It’s not the end. But that’s the first step of the beginning of resolving this issue.”

The city is not disclosing the hotel locations to protect residents’ privacy.