KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas City’s skyline fills with cranes and gentrification looms, the cost of existing in this city has become an unbearable crisis for its Black and marginalized communities.
In a blatant display of economic exploitation, Kansas City has witnessed the highest surge in rent across the entire United States, amplifying the city’s long-standing history of housing injustice.
New research from Rent.com paints a dire picture, showing that rents in the Kansas City metro have ballooned by a staggering 16.17% within a single year.
Following Kansas City in this shameful ranking are Oklahoma City, Memphis, Minneapolis, and Providence, with other Midwestern metros like Columbus and Detroit also seeing the economic squeeze.
While rent prices plummet in Southern cities like New Orleans and Austin by around 13%, and Louisville experiences a decrease of 5.28%, it becomes increasingly clear that the mechanism of gentrification is selectively applied to displace and exploit specific communities.
Kansas City’s local tenant union, KC Tenants, minces no words about the situation: “The rent is too damn high!” they said in a statement. “This rent hike is another episode in the ongoing saga of landlords and political elites playing monopoly with our lives. Tax breaks are doled out like candy to wealthy, out-of-town developers who proceed to evict us from our own narratives. We are literally paying for our own marginalization and displacement.”
Hope can be found from such grassroots efforts of organizations like KC Tenants, which has galvanized a force of over 10,000 people and continues to grow, actively fighting to reclaim the dignity and spaces that belong to the community.