JUMP asks City of Topeka to address affordable housing crisis

Published: Oct. 13, 2017 at 6:43 PM CDT
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The Topeka faith based organization, JUMP, asked Topeka city leaders to address the city's affordable housing crisis.

The meeting took place in what the organization calls one of Topeka's intensive care neighborhoods, and they had plenty of ideas for improvement.

Curtis and Melanie Odum moved to the area of 7th and Polk in Topeka more than 20 years ago.

"We just moved to Topeka, so we didn't really know what areas to live in and which ones not to, and when we told people where we were moving the first thing they said was aw noooo!!!!,” Curtis said laughing.

That's why the jump organization those this spot to issue its neighborhood intensive care call to action.

"This place is still the same today, this environment has not changed over here. It's probably gotten worse. and that says something about our city and the condition that they allow people to live in,” Melanie said.

At the meeting they asked city leaders to develop a plan to improve less desirable neighborhoods, and create an affordable housing act for residents.

The city says it has made a number of efforts to improve the area, even attempting to start a volunteer program to fix up properties the owner couldn't themselves, but it ended when few people signed up.

Property Maintenance Manager for the city of Topeka, Mike Haugen said you have to have people that want to invest in the area to improve it.

“It's a group effort from the entire community, the city government, and we as code enforcement go out and cite these properties, but it's not going to stop problems from occurring until we all make a commitment," Haugen said.

According to Topeka's consolidated action plan, more than 7000 Topeka families live in unstable or unsanitary conditions.

Pastor Raymond Barry of Gethsemane Worship Center said Money would be set aside for that trust fund to more or less help these people in those types of situations.

“So they could afford houses or apartments with real living conditions where everything works, where they didn't have to pay 50 percent of their income,” Barry said.

On October 16th at 7pm the jump organization will gather to participate in voter registration and education, with Mayorial candidates Michelle De La Isla and Spencer Duncan, and you can expect affordable housing to be discussed.