KC Tenants, UMKC students look to increase affordable housing options

Emma Russell

With UMKC’s desire to become a residential campus, the need for affordable housing is increasingly important. However, many UMKC students wonder if they’d be able to find any close to campus.  

One organization working to change this is KC Tenants. The group, which held a Tenant Bill of Rights Rally last week, is focused on lowering housing costs throughout Kansas City.

UMKC students, such as sophomore Tyler Frey, believe this conversation should be brought into university view. 

“They have UMKC homes, but those aren’t cheap,” Frey said. “It would be helpful if there were people that students could go to and get financial guidance for housing.”

If the KC Tenants Bill of Rights is accepted by the Kansas City Council on Nov. 6, it will bring a new plan of affordability to low-income renters in the downtown area, including UMKC students.

KC Tenants Leader Maya Neal said the rally was held to drive home their initiative that affordable housing is a basic human right. 

Outside of residential life, many students who live close to campus believe the options for student housing close by are few and far between. 

Brookside 51, the new apartment complex on Oak Street, will set students back $1200 for a studio.  

“It’s stressful because [students] don’t want to live in the dorms past their freshman year,” said junior Emma Hildbolt, who lives 10 minutes from campus in an apartment with her sister. “They’re kind of going in blind and picking a place because they need a place to live, and then they end up in a really bad situation.”

UMKC students are also finding a lack of information from the university that provides them with an idea of where to start home hunting. 

“They could benefit from maybe building or purchasing another apartment building or complex just off of campus,” Hildbolt said. 

Frey lives five minutes from campus and believes that on-campus life is beneficial for students and that UMKC should have more options. 

“I used to live 40 minutes away from school and felt like I was too disconnected,” Frey said. “It’s less affordable, but it’s manageable. And I feel more connected with my school considering I’m a block away.”

With the available options, UMKC students will have to continue maintaining their budget without much outside help and juggle the many costs of living closer to campus.

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