‘My current address is 414 East 12th Street, City Hall, homeless at large’: Organizer Speaks on Homeless Union

Andrei Stoica

2/5/2021- Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City Homeless Union in Kansas City, Missouri is continuing its occupation in front of City Hall into its second week. Qadhafi, who led the efforts to unionize the homeless of Kansas City, explained the unionization and occupation in an interview on February 5:

“I started asking people at different camps around the city to set a date for a meeting on the 28th...to meet up here, and we went and picked a lot of people up, brought them up before the meeting and we initiated a homeless union, so we could stop being extorted and exploited by other people that (are) saying they're doing something for us and was talking about (how) they fixing us and ain't doing a damn thing, you know, and that's just it.

I mean, everybody except the homeless has been invited to the round table to do something on our behalf, except us. And the people that they called into the round table to fix us don't even know us. They never been to no homeless camps. They scared of us. We come down the street, and they go the other way. And they, I mean, ain't no other way of putting it except they just like using us to game the system.

And since we don't have a voice collectively, they can do that, because we separated, divided, despised by everybody. And so we came together on common terms to create our own union and join what's right for ourselves and forbid what's wrong. And now, collectively, we have a voice, and so based on that, we're gonna be speaking for ourselves, you know, based on, nobody is influencing us outside of people that's walking in our shoes.

Anybody who got a place to live, and go home every day, and not out here on these streets, you know, I mean, they can't tell us how to fix us. We don't need no intercessor or go-between to do nothing.

Everybody keeps saying they giving other people money to fix us or to take care--the mayor, the city council. They say they did about $8,000 this year on this warming shelter, I mean this warming booth, that ain't working, ‘cause some of the people over here is coming from up here at this Bartle Hall thing, and they prefer to come out here in the cold than to be there. And $7 million to these homeless shelters--with $7 million ain't nobody trying to fix the homeless problem. With $7 million and over 10,000 homes, I mean, empty homes in Kansas City that's not doing nothing, $7 million will get every homeless person in Kansas City a home and get the home upgraded so it could pass city inspection, and the city even own water, so they could give us six months of free water, during this COVID thing that they say they trying to cure, that they say is a national emergency, but ain't nobody trying to fix the problem.

When they put us in hotels, it don't benefit us. There ain't nobody and no homeless camp that I know, even the camp that Sixx died at, ain't nobody from that camp been in no hotel or nobody that nobody knows, so basically they putting probably their grandkids or people that they know sleeping on the couch or whatever in hotels, ‘cause (it) ain't nobody on the street. All of us still out here, you know, and that's not solving the problem anyway. but when they do that, we don't benefit.

Even if they put us in the hotel for a few days, we still would be homeless, you know, and that's like, I mean there's some dumbass shit that they're doing. And they say they doing it in the name of us, and they not talking to us or asking us. We closer to the problem. We closer to the solution.

And if you ask us, we would go simply buy homes, get them upgraded, you know, to pass inspection, and even hire some of the homeless people to help renovate them. And that would solve the problem.

But ain't trying to do that, or they ain't trying to do that. When they put us in hotels, the hotels benefit, not us. When they talk about programs to fix us, ain't nobody fixing us. We ain't broke. The motherfucking system broke. You know what I'm saying? And they just giving each other money, passing it along.

You know, and they're doing it in the name of us, and all we saying is we got a voice, and we're gonna use it. And as soon as we unionize, we was going to occupy City Hall because, like other people that was doing this, we ain't got nowhere else to go.

We're already homeless, you know, and so based on that, all we're gonna do is keep recruiting more people to come here to this, you know, this is our house. And so we're gonna live here. My current address is 414 East 12th Street, City Hall, homeless at large.”

Per an announcement from Kansas City Homeless United on Friday night, February 5, power to the camp had been shut off, then later restored. The camp was requesting a generator to be able to ensure power given the freezing temperatures projected for the upcoming week.

Published on: 2/6/2021