Despite causing concerns for some nearby residents, a small apartment project under construction in Kansas City’s Waldo area appears to be a responsible way to help deserving young people.
The facility will assist those who have turned 18 and aged out of the state foster care system. It won’t be a halfway house or a crash pad for reckless hooligans. Residents will be screened and selected. A professional counselor will live on site and manage the 14 one-bedroom units.
The worthwhile goal is to create an environment that gives the young residents a good chance to succeed in getting a better education and jobs. They also won’t live in the apartments forever; they are supposed to be getting ready for fully independent living.
The unpleasant alternatives for too many youth who have aged out of foster care are low-paying jobs, homelessness or a descent into crime. Supporters of the project make a compelling case that reaching out to assist these youth will help reduce problems for Kansas City, not increase them.
As often happens in housing projects, some residents are wondering how this one might hurt their property values. Partly answering that, Ruth White, executive director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, said she had “never found any scandals” while reviewing similar living situations.
Still, White wisely advised that neighbors who want to know more ask detailed questions, such as when the topic comes up as it’s expected to at a neighborhood meeting in March.
Proponents must provide solid answers to advance what looks like a wise investment in the lives of local youth.