Another move in Armour section 8 fight


By Joe Lambe

After a legal filing last week accused the city of racism, an apparent compromise on section 8 apartments on Armour Boulevard appeared on today’s docket for a city council committee.

But a substitute will be introduced instead and conflict will continue if it is adopted, officials with Eagle Point Companies, said Tuesday.

The companies that own and manage the Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista apartments will also continue with their fair housing complaint filed last week with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said CEO Laura Burns.

That legal action – part of a long hardball political fight – alleged the city tried to drive poor blacks out of the Hyde Park neighborhood.

It came after a compromise failed months before. Today’s docket for the Neighborhoods, Housing & Healthy Communities Committee includes what appears to be a revival of that compromise.

The mayor’s office negotiated for that compromise, but a substitute will be presented, said Chris Hernandez, director of city communications. He believes a majority of the council will support the new compromise, he said, and “we’re still trying to come up with a solution that satisfies everyone.”

Councilman Jim Glover, who lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood and has led efforts against concentrated section 8 housing there, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The original compromise vanished from dockets months ago after Glover said more negotiations were needed.

Hernandez said that provisions in the new proposed agreement include:

  • The state and city will no longer pursue a study that finds the Armour buildings are socially blighted because of crime associated with them.
  • There will be no effort to confiscate the buildings. Eagle Point contended the city wanted to get the social blight status to take its property by eminent domain.
  • The city will continue with talks among all interested stakeholders.

Among agreements and wording in the previous compromise that fell apart:

  • The city and state will abandon the attempt to find that the Armour buildings amount to social blight.
  • The city agrees Eagle Point has continuously improved the properties in ways that include social services and security.
  • The city wants to provide more social services to residents of Eagle Point properties and others and to provide more security for the Armour Boulevard Corridor.
  • The city will work with the Housing Authority of Kansas City to provide social services to low income multi-family properties citywide, including help finding jobs, tutoring children and help in finding permanent, stable homes.
  • In the Armour dispute, there will be meetings of all interested parties handled by a neutral facilitator.

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