Thursday, March 19, 2020
TKC QUESTION: WILL KANSAS CITY HELP NEIGHBORS STRUGGLING AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC OR ESCALATE CLASS WAR???
The economic impact of the Coronavirus has already created desperate circumstances in Kansas City.
Following the announcement of a "State Of Emergency" shut down, thousands of service industry workers have lost their main source of income: TIPS. More workers have been furloughed or laid off and the numbers of unemployed continue to rise. The nation is now on lock down as a precaution against the pandemic and conducting business as usual simply isn't an option.
In the coming days and weeks the rising need of workers without resources will become apparent on local streets. There is a promise of federal assistance and measures to stop local evictions and utility shut offs are now in place. Still, with a jump of 70,000 jobless claims, there's no denying that the current level of metro unemployment has been unseen since the Great Depression. There's hope that a couple of weeks of self-quarantine will work to "flatten the curve" while mainstream sources indicate that the US government is preparing for a COVID-19 pandemic that could last up to 18 months and 'include multiple waves of illness.'
Accordingly, here's the big question:
OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS KANSAS CITY HAS DECLARED WAR ON LOWER INCOME RESIDENTS AND NOW THE CORONAVIRUS WILL TEST THIS COMMUNITY'S COMMITMENT TO THOSE IN NEED!!!
Here are just a few examples of how KCMO has become an increasingly hostile place for the less fortunate.
Just last year a property tax crisis threatened to force lower income residents out of their homes.
A few weeks ago the proposed closing of a downtown homeless shelter earned headlines but also muted celebration among development boosters inside the loop who lament the blighting impact of services for the needy on nearby luxury real estate.
Every few years KCMO struggles to curb panhandling and the health department throwing bleach on food intended for the homeless garnered national headlines.
And while locals have celebrated the "renaissance" of Downtown, concerns about rampant gentrification have been downplayed as displacing lower income residents in Kansas City wasn't just a side effect of local development but seemingly part of the agenda of former Mayor Sly James.
Now the past is prologue and we are confronted with THOUSANDS OF WORKERS who will be unable to provide for themselves or get a job. Sure, $1K checks to most adults might help for a while but reliance on government aid is already a sketchy proposition and state infrastructure is struggling to keep up with demand.
Unfortunately, advocacy for the poor isn't also without it's peril and politics. As much as helping people help themselves is admirable . . . KC has every right to be suspicious of protesters and their fair wage & fair housing goals when their advocacy is often tied to new laws that would virtually eliminate the profit motive for other workers who are also trying to scrape out a living.
Yesterday KC Tenants launched a social media barrage on the warpath against local evictions without much regard to home owners who might desperately need tenants paying rent during these hard times. To be fair to this group, they claimed to be rallying in order to rescue an old lady from being thrown out on the street . . . Which should never happen.
Still, turnabout is fair play and the very near future will show us both Republicans & Democrats engaging in desperately needed "socialism" under the guise of economic stimulus. Fact is, the survival of our nation could very well depend on how effectively and quickly emergency funds are directed to those desperately in need.
And while it's great locals are eager to support local businesses . . . What we're really talking about here is Kansas City sharing resources with people who need it rather than just running to the grocery store in a desperate panic to hoard more toilet paper.
Call it charity, kindness or investment in the social fabric of this nation . . . It's clear that people already require help here locally, important organizations like the United Way are working to meet the demand but it appears that need will continue to grow as we weather the storm of Coronavirus together in Kansas City.
Developing . . .