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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary........................................................................................................................1
The Five Pillars of Change..............................................................................................................3
Who Develops The Fair Housing Choice
Priorities for Springfield Citizens.....................................................................................................5
First Pillar of Change
(Dialog and Understanding)............................................................................................................7
Second Pillar of Change
(Cultural Consciousness)................................................................................................................18
Third Pillar of Change
(Advocacy and Partnerships)..........................................................................................................20
Fourth Pillar of Change
(Structural and Systemic Barriers)..................................................................................................28
Fifth Pillar of Change
(Personal and Organizational Accountability).................................................................................34
Springfield Collective Tenant Association.......................................................................................40
Conclusion.......................................................................................................................................41
i
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In 1968, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act to protect marginalized classes from discrimi-
nation in housing opportunities because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and famil-
ial status. The Act was subsequently amended in 1988, to become the Fair Housing Amendments Act.
Throughout the State of Missouri, ordinary citizens and their respective communities-at-large are
grappling with the deprivation or abridgment of fair housing choices on an even playing field with proper
levels of accountability. Springfield citizens are certainly among those facing increasing levels of anger,
frustration and concern.
Missouri's history shows it to be a harsh one-sided state heavily favoring property owners by ex-
tremely prejudicial, deeply tyrannical and pervasively oppressive state laws that treat tenants more as
intruders living on private property, than valued consumers paying money for goods and services so the
Landlord financially profits off of his or her land.
In spite of the Missouri Supreme Court recognizing common law creates the implied warranty of
habitability, in Detling v. Edelbrock, 671 S.W.2d 265, 270 (Mo. banc 1984), Missouri Legislators and
Springfield city officials have consistently failed or refused to codify the Court's ruling into state law and
city ordinances, respectively.
The fundamental tenants of the residential dwelling implied warranty of habitability is that “land-
lords in residential lease contracts impliedly represent to their tenants that “the dwelling is habitable and
fit for living at the inception of the term and that it will remain so during the entire term.” Id., and yet, it is
not a reality for countless of citizens across Missouri and throughout Springfield.
The right of all citizens to exercise his or her right of quiet enjoyment by having a safe and sani-
tary place to live, on an even playing field with shared accountability, is a human right but not one that is
widely enjoyed by ordinary citizens, many of whom are severely and pervasively at risk because of his
or her medical condition(s) or other impediments caused by his or her disability.
It is utterly mind-boggling how, in the 21st century, we are still combating oppressive and inher-
ently dangerous living conditions forced on consumers who pay for goods and services, because state
and city government officials simply cannot or will not wrap their heads around their obligation to protect
the lives, health, safety and welfare of ordinary citizens, in housing opportunities.
Notwithstanding the aforesaid, ordinary citizens in a protected class suffer discrimination in their
housing terms and/or conditions because of their protected class status, and suffer retaliatory evictions,
harassment and defamation of the tenant's character by malicious and retaliatory evictions in court's.
Low-income tenants lack the resources to hire their own attorney. Many if not most law firms or
attorney's will decline to represent tenants because they do not have enough money. And Landlords will
hire multiple attorney's from different law firms to ensure tenants cannot obtain a local attorney, due to
the conflicts of interest in representing a tenant of a Landlord whom the attorney has or does represent.
Prior to COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic that paralyzed our nation and threw many people
into severe and pervasive financial crisis' due to employment layoff's or unemployment, nationally, there
were over 3.6 million evictions filed every year ('Eviction: Intersection of Poverty, Inequality, and Hous-
ing' (2018), by Ashley Gromis, PhD Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University), with only
about 3% of tenants having legal counsel in contrast to 81% of Landlords having an attorney.
Numerous studies show that when tenants are represented by legal counsel, home retention in
lieu of housing eviction, ranges from 70% to 100% of the time. Currently, there are 17 cities, 4 states
and 1 county that give tenants the Right To Counsel (RTC). Kansas City, Missouri is among them. The
National Coalition for a Civil Right To Council reports that in Kansas City:
1
The pre-RTC eviction rate was 99% and in the first 3 months of RTC it was less
than 20%. Most recently, of all the resolved cases, 91.5% of tenants have avoided
eviction, compared to the 99% of tenants who were evicted before RTC.
Other cities such as New York City, San Francisco, Cleveland, Boulder, and Toledo in Ohio, and
such states as Connecticut and WA State, have all found the same kind of successes because of RTC
laws that protect the legal rights of tenants. And studies out of Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Colorado,
California, and Minnesota, consistently show the substantial benefits RTC laws have across the board.
Some states such as Arizona, Minnesota, Oregon, and Utah, issue limited licenses that permit a
non-attorney, i.e., paralegals, to practice law in limited situations, to offset the lack of access to attorney
representation in civil cases, such as landlord-tenant evictions.
And yet, in Springfield, Missouri, publicly elected policy makers are still trying to grasp even the
rudimentary aspects of what objectives to create for housing priorities.
Springfield city officials have been grappling with fair housing choice impediments for nearly one
decade and they are not really any closer today than they were nearly ten-years ago, in solving issues
Springfield citizens face in the increasingly worse and ongoing fair housing choice crisis.
The time has come to end the gamesmanship, bureaucratic stall tactics, pretextual ignorance,
and endless committee hearings to study the studies that taxpayers paid for and expected the publicly
elected officials to act on in addressing and resolving the fair housing choice crisis.
As Springfield City Councilman Craig Hosmer so pointedly stated on January 8, 2024, during the
City Council meeting, at timestamp 37:25 to 37:51:
I think that we also, as has been mentioned by the, the people that
testified, we also have an obligation to actually implement what,
you know, we've done other studies that we haven't done anything
with . . . And so, I think if, if we're going to pay for and get these
studies, I think there's an obligation we try to follow the
recommendations of supposed experts in the field that should be,
you know, instructing and, and advising our policy.
It is time for citizens to hold government officials accountable to the people, in the quest to have,
exercise and benefit from fair housing choices that create even playing fields with shared accountability.
The fair housing choice crisis in Springfield did not create itself – it manifested because of the
conduct of everyone involved – and the fair housing crisis did not just magically develop over night and
without notice – it has manifested over the past ten years with the same bureaucratic processes being
used to supposedly address the issues without really solving the issues.
No citizen should be afraid, discouraged or ridiculed for expressing their fears, concerns, and
yes, even their anger, about the issues and about the inaction of government officials to protect the
lives, health, safety, welfare, and the civil rights and liberties of people.
Unless and until policy makers, bureaucrats, citizens, advocates, landlords, tenants and other
stakeholders start engaging the hard, pointed and seemingly controversial conversations, then changes
that would otherwise create and sustain fair housing, will never really be successfully achieved.
To this end, this fair housing choice report dispenses with the formalities of “diplomacy” which
politicians and bureaucrats alike have transformed into meaning “dishonesty”, and instead, provides a
pointed examination of the issues based on historical records, statistical data, recorded conversations
in government held public meetings, email conversations, and visibly demonstrated conduct.
2
THE FIVE PILLARS OF CHANGE
Historical records show that since 1996, city officials of Springfield, Missouri, and the communi-
ty-at-large have continuously grappled with an ongoing housing crisis. Moreover, that since 1996, city
officials have repeatedly claimed that they are earnestly working to solve the housing crisis plaguing our
community.
In March 2020, the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations (MCHRCR)
and City Council concluded their citywide citizen inclusion survey, to obtain the input and insights of the
Springfield population about the issues they see the City experiencing. Among the top responses was a
consistency of both intentional and unintentional discrimination of marginalized classes.
Despite this effort and the responses received from Springfield citizens, the fair housing crisis in
Springfield continued to grow worse, with City Council regularly failing or refusing to take decisive ac-
tions to address the Springfield fair housing choice crisis. Marginalized Springfield citizens are the ones
who were suffering the most in their housing environments.
In March 2022 the Springfield Mayor's Initiative on Equity and Equality was created. It consisted
of 18 Springfield citizens: 2 in the medical field, 2 in the public & private school field, 2 in banking, 4 in
the business community, 1 attorney, and 7 representing Catholic, Jewish, Baptist and Evangelical faiths.
While the 18 member panel developed a sufficiently sound set of principles, noticeably the effort
applied followed the status quo government way of doing things in that of appointing people in positions
of power or with prestigious titles, to decide the ordinary common citizen's rights and liberties.
The panel developed a five-tier format to promote and incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion
into city government and the City as a whole. City Council adopted these principles and labeled them to
be the Five Pillars of Change, under the pretext that they would somehow reform city government, the
City as a whole and how ordinary and marginalized citizens would be treated.
Despite these efforts and the principles adopted, the fair housing choice crisis continued to grow
worse. with City Council regularly failing or refusing to take decisive actions to address the Springfield
fair housing choice crisis. Marginalized Springfield citizens are the ones who were suffering the most in
their housing environments.
In October 2023, city council received the most recent housing study done in Springfield, which
identified numerous issues in fair housing choices. However, it was not until January 30, 2023, that City
Council members began discussing the development of special housing priorities to address the issues,
but ultimately City Council failed or refused to establish any housing priorities.
The present informal consensus among council members is that housing priorities should focus
on “housing stock” issues to generate and increase financial gains for the City and private parties, such
that comes from home development and home ownership.
On March 25, 2024, City Council members decided that instead of developing housing priorities
themselves, as a whole body, they passed the buck of responsibility to the City Community Involvement
Committee. The purpose and intent of which is to have the Committee study the housing study done, to
decide what, if any, housing priority objectives to establish by yet another bureaucratic process.
Meanwhile, the Springfield fair housing crisis continues to grow worse. Marginalized classes
continue to suffer by having their lives, health, safety and welfare endangered, as numerous Springfield
citizens have regularly testified about in public meetings, to City Council members.
The Five Pillars of Change was held out as the so-called cure-all-be-all solution to ensuring that
all Springfield citizens have an equal place in City government and the City as a whole.
3
On June 6, 2023, City Council enacted Special Ordinance 2023-126, to ensure members of the
LGBTQ+ community knew the Five Pillars of Change apply to them because as individuals and a class,
they are entitled to diversity, equity and inclusion in Springfield.
Meanwhile, the fair housing choice crisis in Springfield continues to grow worse, with the most
marginalized class, people with disabilities, suffering the worst.
In adopting the five principles developed by the panel serving on the Mayor's Initiative on Equity
and Equality, City Council members labeled the principles the Five Pillars of Change, which are:
A. Dialog and Understanding:
1. Seeking and listening to diverse thoughts respectfully
2. Fostering a culture of mutual learning through continual dialogue and education
B. Cultural Consciousness:
1. Developing awareness of our own existing biases
2. Understanding, valuing, and respecting diversity
C. Advocacy and Partnerships:
1. Cultivating inclusive partnerships to increase intentional and effective collaboration
2. Welcoming diverse voices and advocating for the underrepresented and the disenfranchised
D. Structural and Systemic Barriers:
1. Identifying and removing diversity, equity, and inclusion barriers
2. Refining policies and implementing practices to protect the rights of every member of our
community
E. Personal and Organizational Accountability:
1. Inspiring, modeling, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence
2. Honoring individuals and organizations that demonstrate accountability for fostering an
inclusive community
The most controversial and adversarial pillar is that of Structural and Systemic Barriers because
if applied equally, and realistically, and it is doubtful it will be, it means those in government must accept
the role they and and continue to play in creating and imposing barriers against Springfield citizens.
It requires those in City government to accept being criticized, scrutinized and held to account
for their conduct that deprives or abridges civil rights, disenfranchises individuals or classes of citizens,
and that fails or refuses to honor and abide by all tiers of the Five Pillars of Change they enacted.
It requires those in City government to visibly hold themselves and each other accountable to
the people, to the law and to the ethics they are supposed to have and act with, in order to model, pro-
mote and inspire all tiers of the Five Pillars of Change among all individuals and classes in Springfield.
But in reality, it is highly unlikely that City officials will do these things.
4
WHO DEVELOPS THE FAIR HOUSING CHOICE
PRIORITIES FOR SPRINGFIELD CITIZENS
In terms of housing priorities, the 2024 Springfield Economic Vitality Plan entails:
Support the development and preservation of quality, affordable housing
stock to meet the needs of a growing and diverse community.
During the January 30, 2024 Tuesday's with Council meeting, Mayor Ken McClure, Councilmen
Mathew Simpson, Brandon Jensen, Abe McGull and Craig Hosmer and Councilwoman Heather
Hardinger all voiced their belief that the housing priorities should include home development and home
ownership.
During the January 30, 2024 Tuesday's with Council meeting on developing housing priorities,
Councilwoman Heather Hardinger stated, at timestamps 53:54 to 55:02
Yeah I, I agree with, uh, Councilman [Craig] Hosmer on the venue for discussing
this primarily. I mean of course as chair of the Community Involvement Committee,
I'm always happy to bring stuff into us. We have robust meetings meeting but um,
you know, I think that we have a sense of urgency in developing objectives that like
truly need the quality of place that we've been talking about for so many years.
And I think we've got citizens that have been waiting for some of these initiatives to
come about and I think discussing them in a broader form, I think not only creates
more diversity of thought so that we can kind of collaborate together as a unit as to
how we wanna proceed with this. But I also think that, you know, we owe it to
citizens who have been waiting for some time of this infrastructure to be put in place.
And I think we have the resources to start working on that now.
Councilwoman Hardinger's above statement is to say that while it may be just and proper to
have the Community Involvement Committee eventually take over discussing housing priorities, the first
step needed to include the City Council as a whole body, before transferring it to a limited Committee.
In agreement with this, Mayor Ken McClure stated, at timestamps 55:02 to 55:51, that:
I say here's, here's I think what I'm hearing. We've talked about committee, that's
always an option and my though it if it goes to committee [physically gesturing to
Councilwoman Hardinger in her capacity as the chair of the Community
Involvement Committee] . . . I do think, uh, particularly and, and I this is helpful,
we need[] to see this. I, I, I think maybe a half day retreat is something we need
to do with the focus on, on council priorities specifically. We start with, start with
this and then I think you weave into that where we're on the existing ones. Yeah.
I think once we know where you go on the housing housing, it'll help us try to figure
what stays, what goes and on the other priorities that compliment.
Despite the aforesaid, on March 25, 2024, a motion was made in City Council meeting, for the
Community Involvement Committee take over developing the housing priorities rather than going to the
planned retreat for Council members to develop the foundation of objectives first.
During the March 25, 2024 City Council meeting, Councilman Brandon Jensen objected to hav-
ing the discussions transferred to the Community Involvement Committee. Councilman Jensen stated:
I've been doing a lot of soul searching on this, um, very specific topic and,
um, the issue, the process that we've followed so far. Um, and when we
left our, our last committee of the whole thing meeting, I thought that we
5
had done a really good job of coming together, um, and developing a
consensus on language for our goal under Councilwoman Horton's
leadership in that meeting,
Um, and our next steps were gonna be to come back together, um, roll up
our sleeves and do the work of actually identifying the priorities that we
could all agree upon, um, leveraging our, our unique expertise. Um, and I
think each of us, all nine of us bring, uh, even though, um, Councilwoman
[Heather] Hardinger is not here, we all bring a unique set of skills and
perspectives that I think are integral to the development of an overall
vision to our community.
Um, I don't have any doubt in the Committee Involvement Committee's ability
to develop, to do good work and develop a set of objectives, but it's inherently
going to be missing the input of at least five council members. Um, all of whom,
as I said, have unique perspectives. Um, I know that any priorities that come
out of that are gonna come back to the [city council] of the whole. Um, but there's
a very big difference in the power of providing formative input upfront and the
power of just review and approval of other people's work.
Agreeing with Councilman Jensen, Councilman Craig Hosmer stated in relevant parts:
I have my own concern about committees, cause it does, it does give those
four people on the committee an inordinate amount of decision making
because you hear the information, you get this particular expertise, and
sometimes it comes back to council. The other members of council don't have
that information, and you don't really make informed decision[s] sometimes
Um, and so I understand your position and I sort of, I, I agree, uh, because I
think this is an issue that's an overarching issue. It's like, it's like dealing
with poverty, dealing with housing is one of the biggest issues that we face in
this city.
So, I don't like to disagree with my mayor, but I, on this, on this particular issue,
I think this is big enough issue that we should, we should get together as a
council, uh, and maybe have a council meeting at night where we do, where we,
all we deal with is the housing issue and have people present information
because I think that it, it's something we have to do something on. You know, the
information is pretty stark of what we're faced with. And if we don't do something,
I think we're sort of shirking our responsibility.
Originally, Councilwoman Horton stated, during the February 12, 2024 City Council meeting:
I'm speaking just in general to anyone out in the public. You do not have to
wait until city council puts something on the agenda to come and speak and
to come, and let your voice be heard on, on a matter. There are nine of us
here that can engage, and, uh, you know, get on the pathway towards, um,
a solution, and to, uh, allow us to, to think differently and creatively and shift
our thinking in terms of how we're, um, approaching different issues that
might be wider, broader, systemic types of issues.
Her above statement is in line with what Councilman Jensen and Councilwoman Hardinger were
pointing out: It is better for the council, as a whole body. to set the foundation of objections first because
in Committee, the voice of the people is only permitted if Councilwoman Hardinger calls on a citizen to
speak. Moreover, that Council as a whole only gets to engage in providing approval of other people's
work rather than providing formative input upfront first.
6
Despite the aforesaid, and in opposition to Councilman Jensen, during the March 25, 2024 City
Council meeting, Councilwoman Horton stated:
I don't necessarily have any objections with this topic going to committee
because it could at least be on the burner monthly instead of us scrambling
to figure out a time for all nine of our schedules to sink. And for me, I always
knew that there were objectives of this particular priority that needed to go to
committee.
For example, uh, the rental property inspections, we know that has to go, that
needs further review and it needs further study. We know, we knew that um I,
I knew that landlord licensing needed further study and needed further review.
I knew that tenant's right to counsel needed further study and further review
the establishment of affordable housing trust fund incentive zoning.
Like all of those things, I knew that eventually they would go to committee so
that we can do a deeper dive. Um, on the other side that, I do realize that I, I'd,
I'd have to relinquish being on the front end of, um, participating in public
meetings on the discussion. But I do trust the chair. Um, Heather Hardinger, I
do feel as though she does, um, hold, ha hold, uh, quality housing as a priority
and other members of committee.
And I really do feel as though that this needs monthly eyeballs, constant eyeballs,
and it not be up in the air in terms of whether or not we have a quorum of whether
or not all of us can be there. But the conversation can continue to, to go. Um, and
so, I, I personally don't have any objections, so I'm okay with the motion and the
second that's on the floor.
As pointed out during the March 25, 2024 City Council meeting, the decision to reverse course
in Council members developing the foundational housing priority objectives first, in a half day retreat as
originally planned, the decision to transfer the discussion to the Community Involvement Committee
was premised on Council members being volunteers and unable to schedule time for a retreat.
Whether or not it is a legitimate argument to make, at a minimum, the appearance is given that a
majority of Council members believe they have better things to do with their time than to participate in a
half day retreat, working as a whole body, to develop objectives for ensuing fair housing choice crisis.
THE REST OF THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
7
FIRST PILLAR OF CHANGE
(DIALOG AND UNDERSTANDING)
I. Springfield Housing Studies (2010 to 2023):
A. Comprehensive Housing Studies:
In October 2023, the City of Springfield released the results from the comprehensive citywide
housing study done by APD Urban Planning Management. Some, but not all, of the findings include:
Takeaways:
➢ Springfield had a 5% growth in population from 2010 through 2020, with the largest age co-
hort between 20 and 29. The population of 65+ is projected to increase by nearly 25% by 2030.
➢ The median household income is $37,491. The poverty rate is 22%. There is a mismatch
between available housing and incomes, and first-time home buyers are having difficulty
affording a home.
➢ Home ownership declined by 17% from 2010 to 2020. Home ownership rate is currently 42%.
➢ 92% of housing in Springfield are single family residential. Current residential zoning is a
major contributor to a lack of housing diversity.
➢ Some of Springfield’s rental housing stock is substandard.
➢ The most common multifamily housing type is duplex.
➢ Multifamily homes are primarily located near Missouri State University.
➢ 97% of all housing structures are occupied.
➢ Vacant residential lots can be found in most neighborhoods.
➢ 77% of all housing is in good condition.
➢ 21% of all housing structures are in fair to worse condition.
➢ 44% of all housing structures were built between 1950 and 1970.
➢ 21% were built between 1980 and 2020.
➢ 30% were built between 1840 and 1940.
➢ Housing structures in Zone 1 (northwest quadrant of the city) have a broader range of
conditions.
➢ Attendees of the February housing study community meeting listed town homes, starter
homes, workforce housing and tiny homes as housing types missing from Springfield
neighborhoods.
➢ Attendees of the February community meeting listed the following as strengths of Springfield
neighborhoods: neighborhood establishment, community engagement, historic homes, diversity
in housing, neighborhood character, accessible/walkable communities, affordable homes,
transit-oriented development, quality schools and parks/greenspace.
➢ Weaknesses were ineffective landlords, unaffordable housing, lack of viable rental housing,
lack of variety in housing types, vacant housing, blight and decay, walkability/connectivity,
development/preservation.
8
Community input:
➢ 74% of those who took the online survey are in favor of regulating rental housing
➢ 68% are in favor of new housing types
➢ 61% are in favor of housing affordability assistance programs
➢ 49% are in favor of new commercial development in neighborhoods
➢ 45% are in favor of exterior maintenance programs
➢ 44% are in favor of design standards for neighborhoods
➢ 40% are in favor of tiny/cottage home developments.
B. Mayor's Initiative on Equity & Equality:
In March 2022, the City of Springfield released the final report by the 18 member citizen panel
of the Mayor's Initiative on Equity and Equality.
See https://www.springfieldmo.gov/5443/Mayors-Initiative-on-Equity-and-Equality
The final report points out, “Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and City Council voted unanimously
in 2021 to create the Mayor’s Initiative on Equity and Equality to further the City’s ongoing efforts to en-
sure an equitable environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion.” Id., on p.1.
The panel existed for one-year. The panel represented “different personal and professional lived
experiences, different sectors of the community, and various cultural backgrounds.” Id. The final report
was issued to City Council and Mayor McClure, in March 2022.
The panel defined the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion to mean:
Diversity encompasses the entire human experience. Diversity is the wide
spectrum of unique lived experiences that each individual possesses,
expresses, and contributes.
Equity is promoting justice, impartiality, and fairness within the procedures,
processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling
equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome
disparities within our community and society as a whole. Inclusion is how we
make diversity work.
Inclusion is the creation and support of an environment that not only accepts
but celebrates differences by leveraging diversity to make stronger decisions
for the greater good. Inclusive diversity is equally respectful of and embraces
the unique qualities of each person.
The panel identified and established specific principles the City needs to engage in, by the fol-
lowing:
➢ Seeking and listening to diverse thoughts respectfully;
➢ Fostering a culture of mutual learning through continual dialogue and education;
➢ Developing awareness of our own existing biases;
➢ Understanding, valuing, and respecting diversity;
➢ Cultivating inclusive partnerships to increase intentional and effective collaboration;
➢ Welcoming diverse voices and advocating for the underrepresented and the disenfran-
chised;
9
➢ Identifying and removing diversity, equity, and inclusion barriers;
➢ Refining policies and implementing practices to protect the rights of every member of our
community;
➢ Inspiring, modeling, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence; and
➢ Honoring individuals and organizations that demonstrate accountability for fostering an
inclusive community
C. Citywide Citizen Survey:
In October 2020, the City of Springfield released its Inclusion Survey of Springfield citizens that
explored the perceptions and beliefs about diversity, equity and inclusion existing in Springfield.
See https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/50681/Springfield-Inclusiveness-Survey
According to the Springfield Business Journal, Councilwoman Heather Hardinger, who at that
time was a Commissioner of the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations, said:
The purpose of the inclusion survey was to shed light on issues that may be holding
back inclusive change and leadership – including concerns about racism,
discrimination and belonging that impact citizens in Springfield.
See https://sbj.net/stories/whats-the-role-of-business-in-diversity-inclusion-efforts,71181?
The survey was conducted by the city council and the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights &
Community Relations. The study presented eight questions for Springfield citizens to answer. Dr. Gloria
J. Galanes, Ph.D., and Missouri State University Professor Emerita, wrote the final report.
The report points out, on p.3, the study period was from January 21, 2020 to March 2020. The
report admits not knowing how many people received the survey because the study did not follow
controlled study guidelines. However, the report does point out that 2,276 responses were turned in.
Ultimately, the survey sought to determine the perceptions of Springfield citizens and entities in
exactly how inclusive the City of Springfield is, to-wit, those responding asserted that Springfield is:
➢ very inclusive, 249 (12.22%);
➢ somewhat inclusive, 812 (39.86%);
➢ not very inclusive, 646 (31.73%);
➢ not inclusive, 267 (13.11%); and
➢ no opinion/not applicable, 63 (3.09%).”
The report points out that among the top responses received, “[r]espondents called for more di-
versity of all kinds (racial, ethnic, age-related, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and disability)” Id.,
and that “the city needs to solicit the opinions of diverse members and actually listen to those opinions.”
Id. Moreover, that the “[l]ack of diversity is fostering an environment where people are subconsciously
discriminating in addition to purposefully [discriminating] (sic).” Id.
D. Extrapolating The Data:
The qualitative and quantitative data in §§ A to C above, explains why the Mayor's Initiative on
Equity & Equality and Springfield citizens have expressed very pointed beliefs and expectations about
City officials needing to start actually listening to Springfield citizens and genuinely address their griev-
ances, the violations of law that occur and the irreparable harms Springfield citizens continue to suffer.
10
As Councilwoman Hardinger pointed out on January 30, 2024, the fair housing choice crisis and
the issues are not new. They have existed for years, and according to historical records from City Coun-
cil, they have existed since at least 1996. And it bares repeating that on January 8, 2024, Councilman
Craig Hosmer pointedly stated, at timestamp 37:25 to 37:51, that,
I think that we also, as has been mentioned by the, the people that
testified, we also have an obligation to actually implement what,
you know, we've done other studies that we haven't done anything
with . . . And so, I think if, if we're going to pay for and get these
studies, I think there's an obligation we try to follow the
recommendations of supposed experts in the field that should be,
you know, instructing and, and advising our policy.
E. City of Springfield Statistical Data:
In September 2013, the City of Springfield released its 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing
Choices' report, which the city council adopted on September 23, 2013. The September 2013 demo-
graphics provided in the report show:
See https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5212/Analysis-of-Fair-Housing-Impediments-
PDF?bidI
Race Percentage Comparison 2010
With Percentage Changes From 2000 Percentages
United States Missouri Springfield
Total Population
White
Black
Native American*
Asian
Other
Two or More Races
Hispanic/Latino**
308,745,538 (+9.7%)***
72.4% (-3.6%)
12.6% (+2.4%)
1.1% (+10.0%)
4.8% (+33.3%)
6.2% (+12.7%)
2.9% (+20.8%)
16.3% (+30.4%)
5,988,927 (+7.0%)***
82.8% (-2.5%)
11.6% (+3.6%)
0.6% (+2.0%)
1.6% (+45.5%)
1.3% (+62.5%)
2.1% (+40.0%)
3.5% (+66.7%)
159,498 (+5.2%)***
88.7% (-3.3%)****
4.1% (+24.2%)****
1.0% (+11.1%)****
1.9% (+35.7%)****
1.2% (+33.3%)****
3.2% (+60.0%)****
3.4% (+60.1%)****
*American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders
**Hispanic/Latino considered an ethnicity, not a race
***Percentage change since 2000
****Percentage change from 2000 percent
In contrast, the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' points out:
Race Percentage Comparison 2017
With Percentage Changes From 2017 Percentages
United States Missouri Springfield
Total Population
White
Black
American Indian*
Asian
Native Hawaiian
Two or More Races
Hispanic/Latino**
325,719,178 (+5.5%) ****
76.6% (+5.8%)
13.4% (+6.3%)
1.3% (+0.2%)
5.8% (+20.8%)
0.2%
2.7% (-6.9%)
18.1% (+11.0%)
6,113,532 (+2.1%)****
83.1% (+0.4%)
11.8% (+1.7%)
0.6% (+0.1%)
2.1% (+31.3%)
0.1%
2.3% (+9.5%)
4.2% (+20.0%)
167,376 (+4.9%)***
88.4% (-0.3%)****
4.7% (+14.0%)****
0.6% (-0.2%)****
2.1% (+10.5%)****
0.2%
3.1% (-3.1%)****
4.2% (+23.5%)****
*American Indian, Alaska Native
**Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders
***Hispanic/Latino considered an ethnicity, not a race
****Estimated percentage change since 2010
*****Estimated percentage change from 2010 percent
11
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report for the year 2010,
points out:
Population Age Comparison 2010
With Percentage Changes From 2000
United States – 2010 Missouri – 2010 Springfield – 2010
Under Age 18
Age 62 and Over
Median Age - years
24.0%** (-6.6%)*
16.2%** (+10.2%)*
37.2 (+1.9 yrs)
23.8%** (-6.7%)*
17.2%** (+8.2%)*
37.9 (+1.8 yrs)
29,176 (18.3%)** (-8.0%)*
27,582 (17.3%)** (+1.8%)*
33.2 (+0.3 yrs)
*Percentage change from 2000 percentage
**Percentage of entire population
The January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out:
Population Age Comparison 2017
With Percentage Changes From 2010
United States – 2017 Missouri – 2017 Springfield – 2017
Under Age 18
Age 65 and Over
Median Age - years
22.6%** (-5.8%)*
15.6%** (+20.0%)*
37.7 (+0.5 yrs)
22.6%** (-5.0%)*
16.5** (+17.9%*
38.3 (+0.4 yrs)
30,295 (18.1%)** (-1.1%)*
24.939 (14.9%)** (+2.8%)*
32.8 (+0.4 yrs)
*Estimated percentage change from 2010 percentage
**Estimated percentage of entire population
***Source U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey Population Estimates
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out:
Population Age Comparison 2010
Percentage of Total Zip Code Population
Zip Code Under Age 18 Age 62 and Over Media Age (years)
65802
65803
65804
65806
65807
65809
65810
21.8%
21.8%
18.2%
13.3%
17.3%
22.1%
24.6%
13.9%
16.8%
23.0%
7.8%
17.0%
24.2%
17.6%
32.2
36.7
40.8
26.2
31.3
47.0
39.5
Averages 18.30% 17.30% 33.2
Note: Each Zip Code, except 65806, is located both inside and outside the Springfield city limits
*See Zip Code Map
The September 2013 report goes on to point out:
➢ Springfield’s 2010 household median income was $28,697, a 3% decline from $29,563 in
2000.
➢ 44 percent of households in 2010 earned less than $25,000;
➢ About 29 percent of Springfield’s households earned between $25,000 and $50,000;
➢ About 27 percent earned more than $50,000;
➢ These figures include about a 19 percent increase in the number of households earning
less than $25,000 since the 2000 Census; and
12
➢ A 30 percent decline for households earning between $25,000 and $50,000 and over a
100% increase for households earning more than $50,000.
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report also asserts:
Household Income Comparison 2011 By Zip Code*
Zip
Codes
Income less
than $25,000
Income $25,000
to $50,000
Income more
than $50,000
Household Income below
Poverty Level – People 18 & Over
65802
65803
65804
65806
65807
65809
65810
37.4%
34.9%
29.5%
62.3%
31.2%
8.2%
12.6%
31.2%
31.5%
28.4%
22.4%
32.6%
17.6%
23.1%
31.4%
33.6%
42.1%
15.3%
36.2%
74.2%
64.3%
20.3%
19.1%
12.2%
41.1%
18.3%
3.7%
5.0%
Average 44.00% 29.10% 26.90% 20.50%
Note: Each Zip Code, except 65806, is located both inside and outside the Springfield city limits
*See Zip Code Map
In contrast, the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' points out:
Median income and poverty rates by zip codes;
ACS 2013-2017 Census Data
Zip Codes Poverty Rate Median Household Income
65802
65803
65804
65806
65807
65809
65810
25.7%
23.8%
12.8%
51.0%
22.4%
6.0%
6.7%
$34,649.00
$35,871.00
$48,214.00
$16,357.00
$38,862.00
$98,043.00
$68,597.00
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report also points out:
Rents Paid and Rents Compared with Income – 2010
With Comparisons to 2000
Rents Paid – by Household
2000 2010
Less than $300 3,719 1,668 (-55%)*
$300 - $499 13,773 8,856 (-35.7%)*
$500 - $749 8,850 13,691 (+54.7%)*
$750 - $999 1,909 6,584 (+244%)*
More than $1,000 665 2,969 (+346%)*
Median Rent $452 $607 (+34.3%)*
Rents as a Percentage of Household Income
2000 2010
Less than 20% 9,291 (31.1%)** 6,823 (20.5%)**
20 to 24.9% 4,218 (14.1%)** 3,323 (10%)**
25 to 29.9% 3,525 (11.8%)** 3,766 (11.3%)**
More than 35% 9,348 (31.2%)** 17,216 (51.6%)**
Not Computed 1,452 (4.8%)** N/A
*Percentage change since 2000
**Percentage of household income
13
In contrast, the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report for the
year 2017 points out:
Rents Paid and Rents Compared to Income:
ACS Data 2013 to 2017
Occupied units paying rent 39, 014 39, 014
Less than $500
$500 to $999
$1,000 to $1,499
$1,500 to $1,999
$2,000 to to $2,499
$2,500 to $2,999
$3,000 or more
Median (dollars)
No rent paid
6,315
26,317
5,523
464
229
85
81
711
1,080
16.2%
67.5%
14.2%
1.2%
0.6%
0.2%
0.2%
(X)
(X)
Gross Rents as Percentage of Household Income:
GRAPI – ACS Data 2013 to 2017
Occupied units paying rent 37, 478 37, 478
Less than 15.0 percent
15.0 to 19.9 percent
20.0 to 24.9 percent
25.0 to 29.9 percent
30.0 to 34.9 percent
35.0 percent or more
3,839
4,843
4,845
4,590
3,264
16.097
10.2%
12.9%
12.9%
12.2%
8.7%
43.0%
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report for 2010 also
points out:
Fair Market Rents – 2010
With Changes From 2000 in Parentheses
0 Bedrooms 1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms
2010
2000
$404 (+51.0%)*
$268
$477 (+40.3%)*
$340
$610 (+38.6%)*
$440
$869 (+42.9%)*
$608
$993 (+56.9%)*
$633
*Percentage change from 2000
In contrast the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out:
National Fair Market Rents – 2013 to 2019*
With Changes From 2000 in Parentheses
0 Bedrooms 1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms
2013
2014
2015 to 2017
2018
2019
$425
$425
$475 to $575
$575
$550
$475
$475
$500 to $600
$600
$575
$625
$650
$650 to $675
$675
$650
$975
$975
$975 to $1,100
$1,100
$1,025
$975
$975
$975 to $1,200
$1,200
$1,090
*National fair market rents, as determined by the U.S. Housing and Development Department
14
F. U.S. Social Security Administration:
The statistical data below by the U.S. Social Security Administration, from 2020 to 2022, shows
that there is a sufficiently large population of people in Greene County who receive some type of social
security income, that they qualify as a target class when developing housing priorities in Springfield.
Number of recipients in state (by eligibility category, age, and receipt of
OASDI benefits) and amount of payments December 2020*
Location Total Aged Blind and
disabled
Under
18
Age 18
to 64
Age 65
or older
SSI recipients
also receiving
OASDI
Amount of
payments
(thousands
of dollars)
Missouri 134,636 6, 826 127,810 19,199 93,351 22,086 44, 863 78,160
Greene
County
6, 461 212 6,249 969 4,643 849 2, 180 3,799
*SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record and Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data;
and U.S. Postal Service geographic data.
Number of recipients in state (by eligibility category, age, and receipt of
OASDI benefits) and amount of payments December 2021*
Location Total Aged Blind and
disabled
Under
18
Age 18
to 64
Age 65
or older
SSI recipients
also receiving
OASDI
Amount of
payments
(thousands
of dollars)
Missouri 131,148 6774 124, 374 18,428 90,097 22,623 43,778 77,577
Greene
County
6, 402 223 6,179 950 4, 557 895 2,126 3,801
*SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record and Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data;
and U.S. Postal Service geographic data.
Number of recipients in state (by eligibility category, age, and receipt of
OASDI benefits) and amount of payments December 2022*
Location Total Aged Blind and
disabled
Under
18
Age 18
to 64
Age 65
or older
SSI recipients
also receiving
OASDI
Amount of
payments
(thousands
of dollars)
Missouri 128,879 6,906 121,973 18,197 87,180 23,502 43,014 80,977
Greene
County
6,363 253 6,110 919 4,488 956 2117 4,090
*SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record and Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data;
and U.S. Postal Service geographic data.
G. United States Census Bureau:
Calculation of Springfield Population Size
U.S. Census Bureau – 2010 to 2022
Month/Year Population Size
April 2010 159,498
April 2020 169,176
July 2022 170,067
15
Calculation of Springfield Housing Costs
U.S. Census Bureau – 2018 to 2022
Median value of owner-occupied housing
units, 2018-2022
$146,400.00
Median selected monthly owner costs
-with a mortgage, 2018-2022
$1,108.00
Median selected monthly owner costs
-without a mortgage, 2018-2022
$418.00
Median gross rent, 2018-2022 $878.00
Calculation of Springfield Economy
U.S. Census Bureau – 2017 to 2022
In civilian labor force, total, percent of
population age 16 years+, 2018-2022
59.50%
In civilian labor force, female, percent of
population age 16 years+, 2018-2022
56.20%
Total accommodation and food services
sales, 2017 ($1,000)
$760,462.00
Total health care and social assistance
receipts/revenue, 2017 ($1,000)
$3,729,685.00
Total transportation and warehousing
receipts/revenue, 2017 ($1,000)
$2,365,95
Total retail sales, 2017 ($1,000) $4, 676,860
Total retail sales per capita, 2017 $27,954.00
Calculation of Springfield Income & Poverty
U.S. Census Bureau – 2018 to 2022
Median household income (in 2022 dollars) (2018-2022) $43,450.00
Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2022 dollars)
(2018-2022)
$28,806.00
Persons in poverty (2018-2020) 20.30%
H. Extrapolating The Data:
The totality of the aforesaid statistical data leaves no room to doubt that Springfield increasingly
experiences a disproportionate ratio between individual financial income vs. cost of housing issues, that
has continued to worsen and imposes tangible adverse affects on the most vulnerable populations of
Springfield citizens.
For example, people who currently obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI), receive $943.00
per-month. When faced with the costs of renting a home, whether an apartment or a house, the over-
whelming vast majority of their monthly income is spent on just paying their monthly rent amount.
For individuals receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), the average income is $1,300
per-month.
Therefore, there is a tone deaf response when City Council members express desires for people
to become home owners, when they can barely afford essential life-sustaining needs.
16
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out that:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development uses 30% of a
household’s income as a benchmark for the appropriate amount a
household should pay for rent. Fifty-eight percent of renters paid more than
30% of their income for rent in 2010.
The same report also points out:
While 76% and 88% of households in the south and east (Zip Codes 65809
and 65810) own housing, 17% own in the city’s center city area (Zip Code
65806). In other words, over 83% of center city’s housing is rental units
while less than 12% of the housing in Zip Code 65809 is occupied by renters.
This data explains why, according to the September 2013 and January 2020 reports, the great-
est poverty stricken location in Springfield rests in the Zip Code area of 65806, which also likely houses
the largest number of people receiving either SSI and/or SSDI.
Business development in the 65806 Zip Code area is virtually stagnate in a large sector of the
area, that individuals living in this area, who work, are required to spend greater amounts of money
traveling to and from work, which imposes tangible adverse effects on their total cost of living expenses.
Compounding the issues and the adverse effects, is that public benefit programs such as SSDI,
SSI, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formally called food stamps) and Medicaid, have re-
source limits that ensure individuals receiving these benefits are purposefully kept in financial poverty. If
a person goes over the financial resource limit, he or she will lose either a portion of or the totality of his
or her public benefits.
Furthermore, what many people do not realize is that in numerous cases, Medicaid in Missouri
is treated like a regular health insurance policy with monthly premiums (or deductibles) called 'spend
downs'. Individuals with a monthly spend down are required to pay the amount out of their own pocket
each month before Medicaid kicks in to pay the remaining amount for medical, dental or vision services
received but only for that month because each month, the same spend down dollar amount renews and
thus, is different from regular health care insurance where the deductible paid is for the entire year.
Thus, any housing priority created, must give a heavy emphasis on the 65806 Zip Code area for
housing priorities to have any meaningful and long-term effect in addressing the housing crisis in itself,
but also in addressing many other issues that go hand-in-hand. For example, discrimination because of
a protected class status and acts of retaliation and harassment in housing opportunities.
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17
SECOND PILLAR OF CHANGE
(CULTRUAL CONSCIOUSNESS)
Putting it simply, people do not speak on a one dimensional level but rather, based on their three
dimensional identity that, whether consciously or subconsciously, incorporates their entire range of life
experiences.
Crenshaw (2022) defined "Intersectionality” to be “a metaphor for understanding
the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes
compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood
among conventional ways of thinking."
Crenshaw (1991) also pointed out that, “a person's interactions with the world are
not just solely based on one aspect of their identity, but are rather layered
and multifaceted; interactions in which racism, sexism, abelism, classism [and
other forms of oppression] are experienced simutaneously.
In terms of politics, Patricia Hill Collins, Duke University Press, 2019, explained in 'Intersection-
ality as Critical Social Theory' that:
The term “intersectionality” references this big tent umbrella of an intellectual
and political crossroads or meeting place for political and intellectual
engagement across political, substantive, and methodological differences.
Politically, intersectionality aspires for robust interpretive communities to house
necessary dialogs among disparate ideas and people. Substantively,
communities that incorporate people who theorize from the bottom up as well as
from the top down can produce a wealth of new questions, interpretations, and
knowledge that is far more concerned with changing the existing social order
than in explaining it. Methodologically, this dialogical way of producing
knowledge elevates the significance of intellectual and political coalitions and
alliances within interpretive communities above the brilliance of the individual
intellectual.
Historically and traditionally, the willingness of politicians and bureaucrats to listen, is invariably
and predominately given to those whom they believe have credence based on political ideologies, pres-
tigious titles, political clout, financial capabilities, and/or positions of real or perceived power over peo-
ple or things. Suffice to say, this excludes the ordinary person, marginalized classes and in particular, it
eliminates people with disabilities because they are invariably deregulated to a subclass level.
One example of this comes from a statement Councilman Brandon Jensen made during the city
council meeting on March 25, 2024, when he advocated against and objected to sending the housing
priority goals to the Community Involvement Committee. Councilman Jensen stated:
Um, me, any member of the public and any member of the council is certainly
allowed to attend committee meetings, but they have no voting power. They
are only allowed to speak if they are called upon by the chair.
Timestamp 2:54:37 to 2:54:45.
In this respect, Councilman Jensen points out that meaningful participation in City government,
to develop housing priorities, depends on if a prospective speaker is favored enough by the chair, to be
called upon to speak and thus, facing the political barriers that prevent participation in City government.
These political barriers create political polarization and shun those with an opposing view or po-
sition, or who hold a politician or bureaucrat accountable even if the person has the right solution or the
right pathway to achieve that solution.
18
On the flip side, Councilman Jensen also stated during this same City Council meeting that:
I don't have any doubt in the Community Involvement Committee's ability to
develop, to do good work and develop a set of objectives, but it's inherently
going to be missing the input from at least five council members. Um, all of
whom, as I said, have unique perspectives. Um, I know that any priorities that
come back to the [council] of the whole. Um, but there's a, there's a very big
difference in the power of providing formative input upfront and the power of
just review. Timestamp 2:44:26 to 2:44:52.
The context of what Councilman Jensen said above is precisely what ordinary citizens has felt at
one time or another – being an outsider who is forced to look but not touch – when trying to participate
in their government to solve policy issues, obtain needed legislation, or to redress grievances.
It is not and never should be about a person's “title”, “power” or “position”, which is what Patricia
Hill Collins explained when she wrote about the need to incorporate and listen to those at the top and
those at the bottom of the spectrum because every voice matters and ever viewpoint is valuable.
More succinctly, it is precisely what the October 2020 citizen survey and the March 2022 report
by the Mayor's Initiative on Equity & Equality point out – the need for both City Council and City officials
to actually listen to the people rather than speaking in place of the people instead, or only being willing
to listen to those having a politically favored “title”, “power” or “position”.
Thus, culture conscious is not about pushing the agenda of a politician, bureaucrat, organization
or any one person. It is not about requiring “the people” to conform to the will of those having a “title”,
“power” or “position”, but recognizing and embracing the diversity people offer and want to give, in the
process of solving the issues.
THE REST OF THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
19
THIRD PILLAR OF CHANGE
(ADVOCACY AND PARTNERSHIPS)
The success or failure of advocacy and partnerships depends greatly on the place people see
themselves on the Dignity Index below.
To this end, the next several pages are transcripts of the testimony given by several, but not all,
of the ordinary citizens attending city council meetings in recent months, and then the author's personal
testimony.
Timothy Shriver
National School Board Association
Conference (NSBA) New Orleans.
April 4, 2024 to April 7, 2024
20
I'm a PCA worker for In-Home Solutions for the last three-years, and currently
work at Jenny Lynn apartments in Zone Three for the last year.
The reason I'm here today is because my job requires me legally, under [RSMo]
192.2405.2(1), to report all abuse and neglect that I witness under [RSMo]
192.2400. I'm also required to report financial exploitation under [RSMo] 570.145.
Failure to do so will result in a misdemeanor under [RSMo] 565.018.2(1).
I have reported my findings to BDS, adult protective services, corporate
management, millennia housing and I've contacted the fire department,
contracted my work, and send countless emails to no avail.
I am here to do my job. I'm here to report in person to the city. There are problems
within the elderly housing community that you're doing nothing about. Who suffers
the consequences? What statute is that under? Time and time again do I get the
runaround.
I have contacted Ms. Paulette and Nicholson's executive assistant at the Missouri
Department of Health and Senior Services, questioning what am I to do about this
issue. Uh, all offered me to be transferred back down the telephone pole until I was
speaking to an automated system.
Why does this bother me? Let me ask you a better question. Why does this not
bother you? Why is EOA, ADA and affordable safe housing not a problem to you?
When this is in your city. Would you feel more concerned if it was your
grandmother and your grandpa? Is it not a priority because it's not personal?
Would you wanna send your children there to live? What about you? Do you
wanna live there?
I have to work there. I have to care take for a son, a husband, a father, a deacon
of a church, and he has to live there. He has to live there under the promise of a
safe, sanitary, and affordable living condition while receiving none of the above.
Who gets stuck on the fifth floor elevator for a week, missing appointments,
therapies, and freedoms of being outside just like you. There is mold, broken
elevators, no central air, bedbugs, roaches, unkept walls and floors. I could go on.
I'm here to make sure that you are aware. Ask what you think that I should do as
a mandated reporter when reporting to a system that doesn't want to listen? I
wanna know who is passing building inspections and continuing to give money to
a corporation that isn't following legal statutes? I'm here today to demand our
mayor and governing officials to take immediate action and to do their jobs just
like I have to.
Jordan Hensley, PCA disability worker
February 12, 2024 City Council Meeting
21
I'm here today to share about my experience with renting in Springfield. My
husband and I moved into our current apartment back in 2017 and have
lived in the same unit ever since. That's going on seven-years in the same
building, which has given me plenty of time to notice a few things.
For instance, every year, some time in July and August, whenever the Summer
heat is at its peak, our AC will go out and every single year, it takes our landlord
at least a week to fix it. The current standing record is one week, five days in
2019. And when they do finely send the one HVAC guy they have for their dozens
of properties, he always does a patch job.
Last year I asked if there was anything we were doing that was contributing to our
AC going out every year, and the HVAC technician informed me that the HVAC
systems themselves need to be replaced and have been failing for years. And yet,
because my landlord does not want to spend the money to do this, every year we
get to go on a nice week long stay at my in-laws, which is very inconvenient for us
and our grouchy old cat.
My rent is $860 and there are 100 units in my apartment complex alone. Some of
my neighbors with children pay over $1,000.00 for a three bedroom. It is clear
beyond a shadow of a doubt that this landlord collects enough rent to reinvest a
portion of rent to maintain basic life safety standards in these apartments while
still remaining profitable. They simply choose not to.
It is the city's lack of policy on that issue that enables them to continue this highly
unethical practice. Last August, when our AC went out like clockwork, our apartment
got up to 98 degrees, which is unlivable and dangerous. But luckily, me and my
husband are young and healthy and have some place to go to escape the heat.
Many of my neighbors in the same building do not. They're either disabled or elderly
and cannot leave their homes or they cannot afford to pay for a hotel room to escape
the heat. If the apartment of a medically fragile person reaches 98 degrees that can
kill them.
These are the people I am here for today. The people that cannot easily leave their
homes to come to speak to city council and yet are the ones suffering the most and
suffering in silence. These are the people that these property management companies
love to take advantage of. Our grandparents, our parents, our disabled friends and
family people working two or three jobs just to pay rent and put food on the table for
their children.
This is the harsh reality that so many people living in Springfield face every day and
they need our help. And a good first step I would like to see is rental unit licensing.
Housing that is being rented out for profit needs to pass basic life safety inspection
standards and hefty punishments need to be doled out for not fulfilling the minimum
requirements of being a housing provider.
Sarah Hines, private citizen
February 12, 2024 City Council Meeting
22
My name is Michael. I am a leader with Springfield Tenants Unite. I moved to
Springfield in 2006 and have been a renter in Springfield Apartments for 18
years. Now I'm here to speak about renters and, but especially those with
accessibility issues.
Most Springfield rentals fail to provide more than the bare minimum of what is
required to stay in compliance with with the ADA []. Currently, even very
affordable and necessary accessibility aids such as shower grab bars, which
are easily installed, are missing from majority of rentals in Springfield. Easy
fixes are these shower grab bars and smooth down entryways on the apartment
entryway doors for those who have problems taking a step up.
Many people with disabilities can have low-income. Finding homes that are safe,
accessible and truly affordable has always been a challenge. Not only is the daily
life a struggle when we are forced to live in a built world that did not account for
us . . . One will eventually experience a disability and physical limitations, is one
in five Missourians will be considered 65 plus.
We need to start thinking about what we consider our future housing, want to invest
in. Give people dignity and agency to live at home. Prioritizing safe, accessible and
truly affordable houses that will also save they city more money in the long run as
assisted living facilities cost way more to ultimately.
Another issue I and my peers have encountered is retaliation from landlords that don't
want to abide by ADA regulations. We are at risk of eviction, homelessness when we
attempt to assert our rights.
There is not a lot HUD can do. I've tried to reach out to them and all they can do is
make sure I am in [the] exact type of apartment that I was first moved into. It can
only be with, uh, everything has to be the same. That is the only contingency they
have. So with eviction, we would like some legal representation, a right to counsel.
Seventeen other cities have done this. We can to, right to counsel is an effective
policy that ensures both landlords and renters legal rights that are protected by the
court of law.
I urge the city council to make safe, affordable housing truly a top priority for other
constituents
Michael Rodriguez, private citizen with disabilities
February 12, 2024 City Council Meeting
23
I am speaking to night because I am very concerned about our city's priorities
for our last remaining ARPA funds. In a city where one in three households
live in or near poverty, we are proposing to put nearly a million dollars into sports
facilities and tourism that have received millions already instead of using those
precious funds to help our own residents. And that's not right.
Cooper Park is my families neighborhood park. I personally don't live nearby, but
some of my relatives within walking distance, so that's the park where I played
when I was a kid. It's where I go for walks with my family now. And I am so glad the
city wants to invest in the park because I want it to be there for decades to come.
But this ARPA proposal isn't just about putting a little bit of money into keeping our
local park in good shape for local families.
This bill is about putting money into the sports complex at the park to attract people
from out of town because tourist bring in business and generate tax revenue and
much of that tax revenue doesn't come back to help folks like me, my family or my
fellow tenants.
One of the biggest places tourists spend money is on hotels and motels and short-
term rentals and lodging taxes by city law go right back into tourism promotion,
sporting events and arts tourism.
Additionally, city residents are consistent tax revenue sources too, until we aren't
when we become homeless. We must prioritize the people that live in Springfield
because this helps our community remain safe, helps workers keep showing up
for work. It helps students keep going to school without interruption and keeps us
spending and providing tax revenue in Springfield all year round. There are so many
things the city of Springfield could do with $900,000.
The Springfield Community Land and Trust needs money to abate blighted properties
and put them back into use. Ozark Alliance to End Homelessness could use additional
funds for their rapid rehousing and eviction diversion programs. OCAC could use funds
for rental assistance and stabilization.
Allocating our last ARPA funds to any combination of these programs or anything else
that helps housing and homelessness would do so much more good for our city than
the plan you're proposing tonight.
So, I am asking that you table this bill for now and take the time to develop an alternate
proposal. Land Trust CPO, OCAC, and STUN all agree that you should wait until after
your your housing retreat on April 2nd. Set your housing, set your priorities for housing
first, then let those priorities guide what to do . . .
Alice Barber, Leader at Springfield Citizens Unite
Opposition to City Council Bill 2024-048
March 11, 2024 City Council Meeting
24
I'm here tonight because you already know what's going on in my community.
My neighbors have come out the last two council meetings to tell you about it.
I want you to think about what kind of message you're sending when you know
people here in Springfield are living with broken windows, broken appliances,
broke elevators, mold and bugs and you want to spend $900,000 on a sports
complex.
You don't have to send that message. You can table this bill and find a way to
use that money that sends a better message about your priorities. I don't know
if you can use that money to fix Jenny Lynn, but is there a way to use it that
would prevent what's happening to me from happening over and over again?
There are plenty of organizations working to end homelessness and keep people
in safe, healthy homes who could use this money. It's your responsibility, as council
members, to represent the people of this city. Do you really think pouring almost a
million dollars into a sports complex is what the people want? Or is that just what's
convenient for you? Put the breaks on this decision.
Make a new plan to put the money into housing and homelessness prevention and
show Springfield residents like me who [you] really care about.
Lester Kennedy, citizen with disabilities
Opposition to City Council Bill 2024-048
March 11, 2024 City Council meeting
25
As we navigate the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 and the pandemic,
it is imperative that we prioritize the need of our community members who are most
vulnerable.
While investing in a sports complex may have its merits for some, spending these
funds on addressing the ongoing issue of housing instability and the crisis facing
tenants would be far more impactful and compassionate use of resources. The
housing crisis is only getting worse and it needs action and immediate attention.
I moved to Springfield in 2019. Since then, I've lived with mold, mildew, rotting roofs,
walls and abusive landlords. These are serious and life-threatening conditions that
are far too common. And I feel pushed to the wayside in our city.
I wouldn't be able to live with the roof over my head in Springfield if I hadn't found
myself in a community that helps me survive. Wouldn't it be nice to have a city
that does the same?
There's not a bus stop at Cooper, so who are the renovations going to benefit,
people with access to resources, cars, gas, money, able body with time to spare?
I'm curious how I'm supposed to believe that the city has good intentions with so
much money from COVID relief going to a sports complex that isn't accessible to
everyone. Tenants do not want to be intimidating, but its concerning and confusing
when city council members don't understand the unhealthy, unsafe, unaffordable
living conditions that everyone around me is living with.
I'm confused and worried whenever council members are confused. Like these aren't
everyday problems. We, the people who live here are the reason why Springfield is so
special. We are why Springfield is unique and beautiful. We deserve healthy lifestyles.
If you invest in the people of Springfield, you'll make our city a safer and more attractive
place to be. You'll prevent more people from becoming homeless. You'll make Springfield
the place people want to visit and live.
Investing in affordable housing, workers, public transportation and neighborhoods
ultimately adds to tourism. And I'll paint a picture for you. A tourist comes to see the
historic Fox Theater downtown, but has to step over several homeless people on the
way and walk behind a big shopping cart full of survival supplies, will that encourage
people to come back here.
We are not homeless because we want to be, don't try or can't get a job. Eviction is a
leading cause of homelessness. Every homeless person has their own story, and we
all have a right to a home. Remember it says in your forward Springfield plan, housing
and homeless prevention programs benefit those directly impacted by the housing crisis,
but it also contributes to the overall health and resilience of our city.
I urge you to reconsider the allocation of funds and prioritize investments that will
directly address the housing crisis to support tenants in need. If you wanna invest
in the city, all you have to do is invest in the people . . .
Corina Jane, Leader at Springfield Citizens Unite
Opposition to City Council Bill 2024-048
March 11, 2024 City Council meeting
26
In June or July 2018, I suffered a life-threatening medical condition, which required me to have
three organs removed from my body and to be bed ridden for six months.
I think it was August 2018, that I called city officials. One day my son walked into the bathroom
and his foot and ankle went through the floor.
I notified my landlord and she accused me and my son of deliberately damaging her property by
not drying off in the shower.
My landlord refused to do the repairs and instead, she sent me an email demanding that I pay
her $25,000.00 to buy her house or she would evict me. Only an idiot extorts someone by email.
City officials told me they might evict my son and me immediately from our home. How would
you feel if you asked the city for help only to be told the city might evict you and your disabled son, after
you just had three organs removed and your landlord is extorting you to avoid fixing the house instead.
City officials inspected the house and cited my landlord. It turned out that my landlord's handy-
man did not install the toilet right, which caused water damage that rotted the wood under the floor.
We avoided being homeless by renting another house from a different landlord. A year later, that
landlord abruptly sold the house but we were able to keep renting.
However, my new landlord wanted to know if my son and I are gay – two men living in the same
house thing – so he sent me a text with sexual innuendo's about his being naked. Only an idiot sends a
text message to sexually harass their own tenant.
That landlord was then and he continues to serve on the Board of Directors of City Utilities.
In 2022, my medical conditions had deteriorated to the point my doctor prescribed me a wheel-
chair, and he pointed out that I will need it for the rest of my life.
During the time I rented from that new landlord, I made five separate written requests to install a
proper and suitable wheelchair ramp at the house I rented.
I offered to pay 100% of the total cost and I even offered to hire their own maintenance man who
agreed to do the work.
My landlord – the person City Council appointed to the Board of Directors of City Utilities – flat
out refused to let me install the wheelchair ramp needed. As such, we were constructively evicted from
our home and I have suffered, among other things, over $100.000 in damages.
Just because people work in government does not mean they are honorable and obey the law.
Studies show government officials are a major reason people with disabilities are abused & neglected.
Abuse and neglect is a factual and provable form of discrimination.
As my fair housing choice report points out, since at least 1996, City Council has known that we
have a housing crisis in Springfield. Countless citizens have testified about the issues. The longer you
delay the solutions the more you abuse and neglect people with disabilities, as government officials.
Christopher Cross, citizen
April 22, 2024 City Council meeting
27
FOURTH PILLAR OF CHANGE
(STRUCTURAL AND SYSTEMIC BARRIERS)
Structural barriers can include, but is not limited to, policies, practices, patterns, acts or services
that disadvantage one class of people or one individual but not another class or person, with or without
having a disability.
However, in terms of housing opportunities, structural and systemic barriers often occur because
of a protected class status or where there is a close nexus, a casual connection or motivating factor that
involves the protected class.
As a general rule, protected classes include, but may not necessarily be limited to, race, gender,
sex, disability, religion, national origin, age, ancestry, color, and ethnicity.
In terms of the Fair Housing Amendments Act, on April 5, 2023, the Eighth Circuit Court of Ap-
peals ruled that the Fair Housing Amendments Act does not extend protections in fair housing opportu-
nities because of the economic circumstance of a person or class of people. See Klossner v. IADU Ta-
ble Mound MHP, LLC, 65 F.4th 349, 352-53 (8th Cir. 2023). The question before the Court was:
whether that duty extends to "accommodating" a tenant's lack of income by
accepting a government housing voucher that the landlord otherwise would
not accept from a low-income tenant.
The Eighth Circuit Court held that:
[w]e conclude that while the statute requires a landlord to make reasonable
accommodations that directly ameliorate the handicap of a tenant, the obligation
does not extend to alleviating a tenant's lack of money to pay rent.
Id., at 531.
I. Impacts On People With Disabilities:
People with disabilities are regularly deregulated in housing opportunities that force them into di-
lapidated housing that often includes bedbugs, cockroaches, mice, mold, mildew, and assorted housing
defects that need repairs.
Despite the tone deaf ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court, income source plays a very important
role and has an extremely significant impact on fair housing choices that people with disabilities have,
in finding safe, sanitary and suitable housing opportunities.
Landlords invariably look for and create new ways to chip away at fair housing opportunities. For
example, requiring prospective tenants to have a monthly income three times the amount of rent. Some
Landlords create leases that treat tenants as pseudo home buyers For example:
➢ Requiring tenants to absorb the costs of house repairs;
➢ Requiring tenants to provide plumbing repairs;
➢ Requiring tenants to absorb Landlord liabilities by renters insurance;
➢ Requiring tenants to provide “tree services”; and
➢ Requiring tenants to pay property taxes by increased rents.
Landlords create leases to strongly favor corporate interests, ensure financial profits, and strip
tenants and prospective tenants of bargaining rights.
28
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out that:
The ACCRA (American Chamber Of Commerce Researchers Association) Cost
of Living Survey (prepared by The Council for Community and Economic
Research) compares the costs for goods and services in communities (known
as the Cost of Living or COL) the same costs and services in other communities
and the U.S. as a whole.
Springfield’s overall composite score in 2005 was 89.4%. This means the COL in
Springfield was 89.4% of the nation’s as a whole in 2005. In other words, the
overall COL in Springfield is cheaper than the nation.
Springfield's score increased to 90% in 2013 meaning the composite score for
Springfield got closer to the nation’s, an average of 10% less.
The cost for housing, compared to the country as a whole, decreased from
81.2% in 2005 to 78.3% indicating it’s less expensive to afford, live in and
maintain housing relative to the nation’s costs for housing and that cost
declined compared to the nation’s.
Factors included in determining cost of living were:
Springfield – 2005
(percent of USA average)
Springfield – 2013
(percent of USA
average)
Composite Score 89.4.% 90.0.%
Grocery 101.1.% 97.4.%
Housing 81.2.% 78.3.%
Utilities 72.0.% 92.7.%
Transportation 97.9.% 96.2.%
Health Care 93.3.% 96.1.%
Miscellaneous 95.4.% 92.5.%
Source: Council for Community and Economic Research
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) asserted that for 2023, Mis-
souri was the sixth lowest state in the nation in overall cost of living. In comparison to states surround-
ing Missouri, the MERIC asserts that for 2023, the cost of living was:
Missouri Illinois Iowa Kansas Oklahoma Arkansas
Composite Score 88.5 % 92.1 % 90.3 % 87.1 % 86.2 % 89.0 %
Grocery 95.3 % 98.0 % 96.6 % 97.20% 94.4 % 95.3 %
Housing 77.0 % 79.8 % 74.1 % 67.4 % 68.5 % 74.6 %
Utilities 98.6 % 88.6 % 95.5 % 106.6 % 98.2 % 91.6 %
Transportation 90.9 % 103.0 % 98.6 % 90.1 % 92.6 % 89.6 %
Health Care 89.9 % 95.0 % 99.4 % 96.9 % 92.6 % 87.5 %
Miscellaneous 91.5 % 96.8 % 95.9 % 91.8 % 91.3 % 97.7 %
29
For municipal comparisons, the MERIC asserts the cost of living for 2023 was:
Springfield Joplin Columbia St. Louis KCMO–KS
Composite Score 84.8 % 84.1 % 90.9 % 88.9 % 93.7 %
Grocery 94.1 % 92.7 % 96.4 % 96.9 % 96.5 %
Housing 72.3 % 60.2 % 83.3 % 75.8 % 93.3 %
Utilities 80.3 % 108.9 % 93.0 % 101.7 % 109.0 %
Transportation 89.8 % 92.5 % 89.6 % 93.5 % 88.9 %
Health Care 94.9 % 88.5 % 92.9 % 88.7 % 84.4 %
Miscellaneous 89.4 % 90.7 % 94.5 % 91.5 % 91.5 %
Additional impediments that affect the financial abilities of people with disabilities include, but are
not limited to:
➢ Costs of repairs to medical equipment that is not covered by a health insurance plan;
➢ Costs to obtain medical equipment that is not paid for by a health insurance plan;
➢ Costs associated with medically required dietary needs;
➢ Costs of medications that is not covered by a health insurance plan;
➢ Costs associated with caregiver services that is not paid for by a health insurance plan; and
➢ Costs associated with housing modifications that the person has to pay for out-of-pocket.
These financial costs weigh heavily against cost of living factors and quality of life; they impose
substantial adverse impacts on fair housing choices and they impact a person's debt-to-income ratio.
Polices, practices, services or programs that do not factor in the totality of associated costs, cre-
ate further structural and systemic impediments in fair housing choice opportunities.
II. Home Ownership:
During the Tuesday's with Council meeting, six City Council members voiced support in renters
becoming home owners. Only one council member, Monica Horton, discussed the reality of the majority
of renters being unable to purchase homes because of financial disadvantages by income resources.
While the City of Springfield has a first time home buyer program from federal funding received
from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are limits imposed. For ex-
ample, but not limited to:
➢ The program only pays for “some of” the down payment and closing costs;
➢ The program caps the total purchase price of the house at no more than $150,000;
➢ The program can forcibly reduce the total purchase cap price allowed to buy a house;
➢ The program restricts buyers to living in a specific geographic location;
➢ The program imposes some of the same restrictions used in Section 8 housing vouchers; and
➢ The program has less advantages than receiving an FHA loan from HUD.
30
While members of City Council advocate for home ownership because of the financial gains the
City receives from property taxes and other related costs such as required permits for repairs, what City
Council members do not think about is the sustainability of low-income home buyers to keep the house
because of the relevant costs, inflation and shrinkflation and the ever increasing property tax amounts.
Thus, without low-income individuals seeing a meaningful and sustainable increase in their own
financial resources, whether from public benefits or hourly wages, in reality, City Council members need
to focus on solutions to the fair housing choice crisis that actually address the rudimentary issues first.
III. Discrimination Complaints:
According to the Springfield Mayors Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations, the
number of discrimination complaints filed from 2004 to 2012 totaled 43, as broken down below:
Categories 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Disability alone X X X X 2 6 8
Familial Status alone 1 X X X X 1 2
Familial Status & Disability X X X X 1
Gender/Sex X X X X 2 1 3
Color/National Origin 1 X X X X 1
Race by itself 3 X X X X 3 5
Race by association with another 1 3 X X X X 1
Religion X X X X 1
Source: Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations & Springfield Department of Planning & Development
X = No data available
On January 6, 1997, the City Council of Springfield enacted City Council Bill No. 96-411 to cre-
ate Special Ordinance No. 23087, which holds in relevant part:
WHEREAS, in order to remain eligible for federal CDBG and HOME Program
funding under the Community Development Act, the City must affirmatively
further fair housing by conducting an analysis to identify impediments to fair
housing choice within the City, and take appropriate actions to overcome
impediments[].
The Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 amended the United States Housing Act
of 1937, to, among other things, include low-income housing opportunities through government funding,
for people to qualify for and receive and thus, to have equal housing opportunities.
The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice report that Council Bill No. 96-411 (1996)
refers to, is a federally mandated report required for the City of Springfield to receive federal funding for
public housing programs, services or activities in Springfield.
The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice', report points out that:
The Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations (MCHRCR)
has served the Springfield community since 1964 as the agency charged with
tracking and facilitating reports of alleged discrimination including housing
discrimination.
31
However, as reported by the Springfield Department of Planning and Development, in the above
chart of complaints filed from 2004 to 2012, the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community
Relations (MCHRCR), did not provide data from 2004 to 2009 even though § 2-223(3) of the Springfield
City Codes mandates data be filed with the City Council.
Moreover, on March 25, 2024, the author of this housing report filed a public records request to
receive a copy of the required 2023 MCHRCR report pursuant to city ordinance § 2-223(3), in order for
the author to include the information in this housing report.
However, on March 29, 2024, the Custodian of Records for the City of Springfield informed this
author that the requested report is not available – does not exist – to provide to this author.
On November 27, 2023 the Commissioner's of the MCHRCR publicly admitted knowing their an-
nual report is required to be filed with City Council and was approaching its due date. Despite this, the
November 27, 2023 MCHRCR public meeting minutes do not show any vote was taken to approve any
final report to file with City Council, as § 2-223(3) of the Springfield City Code mandates.
On December 20, 2023, the MCHRCR conducted its public meeting. There is no mention in the
public meeting minutes of the Commissioners even discussing let alone voting on the mandated report
to file with the City Council.
The Springfield Department of Planning and Development cites, incorporates and relies on the
mandated MCHRCR report, for the Department of Planning and Development to draft and file the feder-
ally mandated 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice', report. Failure or refusal of the
MCHRCR Commissioner's to file their report can impede or prevent federal funding for housing.
When MCHRCR Commissioners either fail or refuse to abide by, carry out and fulfill their man-
dated duties, it creates structural and systematic barriers that impede or prevent City Council members
having the most recent and accurate data to make policy and legislative decisions.
As such, this fair housing choice report is limited by the failure or refusal of the MCHRCR to file
its annual report with City Council so it is made available to the general public as Missouri's open record
laws require.
According to the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice', report from the
City of Springfield, the State of Missouri reports the following, in discrimination complaints filed:
Categories 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Race 4 4 4 2 2
Disability 3 2 12 6 4
National Origin 1 0 1 0 0
Familial Status 0 0 3 0 0
Sex 1 0 2 2 2
Rent/Housing 2 3 17 7 7
Accommodations 3 1 0 3 2
Facility 6 3 2 1 0
Zoning 1 0 0 0 0
Source: Missouri Commission on Human Rights
32
Individuals are permitted to file a housing and discrimination complaint with the state, the federal
government or both, who receive, hear, investigate and resolve complaints.
According to the City of Springfield 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' 2020 report
the MCHRCR typically refers housing complaints to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the national number of
complaints of discrimination that were filed for FY 2022 were:
Categories FY 2022
Disability 5, 069
Race 2, 457
Sex 1, 107
Retaliation* 1, 065
National Origin 765
Familial Status 741
Color 354
Religion 183
* Retaliation is not itself a protected class but does
constitute grounds to file a complaint.
Source: HUD Enforcement Management System (HEMS)
with data being current, as of November 29, 2022
Additionally, the City's 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report, points out:
The number of inquiries to the MCHRCR averaged 6 per year and the
number of claims made to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights
(MO COHR) averaged 11 per year. Forty-seven percent were canceled,
withdrawn or determined to have No Cause. The remaining 53% were
successfully resolved. Race (31%) and disability (53%) were the largest
type of claims filed. Seventy-one percent of all cases were related to
housing or rental situations; the disability cases were divided between
Accommodations and Facilities; a large percentage of each type were
resolved successfully. Using this data as an input to identify impediments
as well as citizen comments from the CONPLAN helps understand the
Springfield issues.
The overall available data shows that, on average, people with disabilities file more complaints
than other marginalized classes, on discrimination issues. Whether the data represents a factual target-
ing of this class, or an erroneous perception about individual situations or circumstances, or the need to
create special educational opportunities about disabilities, those with disabilities and those involved with
this class, need specific recognition and opportunities, to ensure discrimination does not occur.
Unlike other marginalized classes, disabilities is a more complex subject by the very fact there is
a broad spectrum of types and degrees of disabilities and different kinds and types of accommodations
that may be or are needed to ensure fair housing choices exist on an even and equal playing field.
However, while the status quo methodology is to pull from the “professional” community to have
training and educational classes conducted, and however much that is beneficial, the real lessons come
from the people who live with disabilities and experience life in ways that a non-disabled professional
will not and cannot possibly understand even if he or she has a family member with disabilities.
33
FIFTH PILLAR OF CHANGE
(PERSONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY)
Commonly, when media outlets, and state and municipal government entities tackle discrimina-
tion, conversations tend to focus predominately on politically popular classes that have the perception
of being more newsworthy; have more favorable political focus; garner a higher attention among public
and private sectors; present a greater degree of volatility for media ratings and political agendas; bring
in higher monetary gains and/or increase membership in a political base. Thus, the common focus cen-
ters on race, sex, gender, religion, and national origin.
As a result, the disability class is invariably and frequently excluded from conversations address-
ing discrimination issues. And yet, disability-based discrimination is a real severe and pervasive issue.
The City of Springfield's 2020 report on the 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice,
points out that:
Discrimination related to disabilities may occur in less obvious forms than
other types of discrimination. In the case of physical disabilities, lack of
access such as ramps and accommodations such as doorways of sufficient
width or countertops of functional height are often a problem in affordable
housing. Current federal law requires that landlords make reasonable
accommodation for the disabled; however, the tenant may hesitate to
complain, be unaware of their rights, or simply not have the time to wait for
the accommodations to be made.
New Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) multi-family developments must
have units either partially or totally accessible depending on the number of units
within the development due to recent policy change by the Missouri Housing
Development Commission (MHDC). New buildings and facilities are required to
be designed and constructed to be accessible in accordance with the City’s
codes. The reality, however, is that most affordable housing units that are in older
developments may not be feasible to renovate.
People without disabilities who are in other marginalized classes do not encounter the type and
degree of discrimination people with disabilities face, which affects essential life needs such as cooking
food, getting in and out of a doorway, being able to bathe or shower, maneuver around housing designs
and so on. This is not to say people in other marginalized classes do not face serious issues because of
their protected class status. But it is to say that people with disabilities face very unique barriers and at-
titudes in housing that literally affects their ability to have and maintain health, safety, welfare and life.
In the political arena, nonprofit and corporate worlds, and advocacy efforts, the focus is and has
to be about increasing base numbers and drawing in money. These two components will determine the
type, degree, and strength of power that exist, to successfully push a specific goal, platform or ideology
into reality.
The downfall in this scheme, is that it pits otherwise would be allies against each other in spite of
there being a common interest to successfully achieve the same goal, platform or ideology, as each has
another common interest – survival of the individual corporation, nonprofit, politician, and advocate.
While the author of this report dissents against the second prong of this pillar, which requires us
to “honor[] individuals and organizations that demonstrate accountability for fostering an inclusive com-
munity”, if the goal of this pillar is to “[i]nspir[e], model[], and promot[e] diversity, equity, and inclusion
excellence,” then it means holding ourselves and each other to account for conduct that fails or refuses
to achieve the desired results.
34
Timothy Shriver
National School Board Association
Conference (NSBA) New Orleans.
April 4, 2024 to April 7, 2024
35
I. Americans with Disabilities Act:
Springfield is no stranger to the legal ramifications and irreparable harms that are imposed when
City officials fail or refuse to comply with disability laws. such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 2001, the City of Springfield entered into a binding consent decree in United States vs City
of Springfield, Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-43-125 (https://archive.ada.gov/sprfldmo.htm)
for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On December 8, 2023 – twenty two years later – the Springfield Director of Diversity, Equity &
Inclusion, Taj Sulyeman, stated Springfield does not meet even minimal requirements of the Americans
with Disabilities Act. He then reaffirmed his statement on December 20, 2023.
City Utilities operates under Chapter 110 of the City Charter. The city council appoints all board
members of City Utilities. Despite the jurisdictional authority the City has, email evidence shows that it
took City officials and City Utilities executive staff from July 5, 2022 to February 14, 2024, to even begin
working on making just one bus stop compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For over one and a half years, City officials and City Utility executive staff knowingly, intention-
ally and willfully acted with gross negligence or reckless disregard for the physical safety and the civil
rights of people in wheelchairs, by failing or refusing to bring just one bus stop into compliance with
mandates of the American with Disabilities Act, and to ensure the area has sidewalks.
On December 27, 2023, Taj Sulyeman explained that the rationalization for taking over one and
a half years to make the bus stop compliant with federal law, is that city officials negotiate with violator's
of the law for their voluntary compliance with the law, in lieu of City officials enforcing the law, and peo-
ple with disabilities are required to wait for violator's to decided to obey the law instead.
The rationalization given presupposes people with disabilities are required to politely and diplo-
matically beg for their rights by submissively asking perpetrators, “please sir, don't abuse me.”
The negotiations with City Utilities officials suddenly and abruptly ended on February 14, 2024,
when and because the author of this report sent City officials and City Utility executive staff an email
that a media outlet would follow this author around Springfield to discuss the structural and systemic
barriers that people in wheelchairs face in accessing City and private sector services.
When contemplating what structural and systemic barriers need to be examined, addressed and
resolved in order to fully achieve the Five Pillars of Change, Councilman Abe McGull pointed out during
the June 5, 2023 City Council meeting that while the role of government should be limited, it is the duty
of government to ensure the health, safety and welfare of citizens (timestamp 1:23:23 to 1:23:36).
Neither the aforesaid duty of government nor the Five Pillars of Change can be or ever truly will
be carried out and fulfilled when those in government believe that a violator of the law has more rights
than the victims they create. Moreover, by the structural and systemic barriers that those in government
impose on protected classes, to require people with disabilities to beg, “please sir, don't abuse me.”
II. Fair Housing Amendments Act:
The Fair Housing Act of 1974 was amended on September 13, 1988 and was signed into federal
law on March 13, 1989, making it the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.
The purpose of amending the Act of 1974, was to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
“to include within the definition of discriminatory housing practice new prohibitions against coercion, in-
timidation, threats, or interference because of a handicap.” H.R.1158 — 100th Congress (1987-1988).
36
Although the Fair Housing Amendments Act uses the term, “handicap,” the U.S. Supreme Court
pointed out in Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 631 (1998), the definition of “disability” in the Ameri-
cans with Disabilities Act is drawn almost verbatim “from the definition of 'handicap' in the Fair Housing
Amendments Act of 1988”, that “handicap” and “disabilities” are the same in meaning and application.
While the Americans with Disabilities Act is said to be the gold star of protections for people with
disabilities, and the Americans with Disabilities does provide limited protections in certain situations and
circumstances in housing, the Fair Housing Amendments Act is what guarantees fair housing choices.
Unfortunately, the City Council of Springfield is only just now starting to talk about whether hous-
ing priorities should be a standalone priority.
The Fair Housing Amendments Act is a major and key federal law that should be incorporated in
the Five Pillars of Change and extended to every Springfield citizen for fair housing choices.
In 2018, the City of Springfield developed its Citizen Participation Plan, which provides required
processes used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in order for the City to ap-
ply for and receive federal funding.
On August 7, 2023, City Council heard Council bill 2023-187, to enact Special Ordinance 27891,
which, among other things, discusses the requirement of the City to provide its annual 'Analysis of Im-
pediments to Fair Housing Choice' report.
See https://cityview.springfieldmo.gov/city-council-meeting-august-7-2023/ at timestamp 29:38 to 39:50.
During the August 7, 2023 public hearing, it was stated that the federal requirement for the City
to file the 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report did not start until 2015. However, City
Council Bill 96-411 identified this exact report, in 1996, as being a federally required report.
The 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report is required to incorporate the report
filed by the MCHRCR with the City Council pursuant to § 2-223(3) of the City Codes. The MCHRCR did
not file its 2023 report with City Council.
During the August 7, 2023 public hearing, it was pointed out the Community Advisory Commit-
tee on Community Development had a history of canceling public meetings sufficient enough to cause
the Springfield Department of Planning and Development to seek City Council approval, to conduct the
meetings instead when the advisory committee is unable to do so.
In spite of the numerous reports generated, the statistical data complied and all the work that is
done each year by citizen participants and City staff, it is disconcerting that City Council members are
only just now starting to talk about whether housing priorities should be a standalone priority, when the
issues have been known to exist since at least 1996.
As plainly evident by the numerous citizen testimony given to the City Council, it is clear that the
fair housing crisis continues to get worse in Springfield. And while City Council members want to focus
on home ownership, citizens are focusing on having a safe, sanitary and affordable place to live, that is
free from discrimination and harassment by Landlords. The disconnect here, does very real damage.
III. Use of the P.A.I.L.S Methodology:
As Crenshaw (1991) points out, “a person's interactions with the world are not just solely based
on one aspect of their identity, but are rather layered and multifaceted; interactions”. Therefore, when
contemplating the application of the Five Pillars of Change and eliminating the structual and systematic
barriers, it is important to develop collaboration among stakeholders based on a holistic approach.
37
Housing For All - Fair Housing Choice Report
Housing For All - Fair Housing Choice Report
Housing For All - Fair Housing Choice Report
Housing For All - Fair Housing Choice Report

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Housing For All - Fair Housing Choice Report

  • 1.
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary........................................................................................................................1 The Five Pillars of Change..............................................................................................................3 Who Develops The Fair Housing Choice Priorities for Springfield Citizens.....................................................................................................5 First Pillar of Change (Dialog and Understanding)............................................................................................................7 Second Pillar of Change (Cultural Consciousness)................................................................................................................18 Third Pillar of Change (Advocacy and Partnerships)..........................................................................................................20 Fourth Pillar of Change (Structural and Systemic Barriers)..................................................................................................28 Fifth Pillar of Change (Personal and Organizational Accountability).................................................................................34 Springfield Collective Tenant Association.......................................................................................40 Conclusion.......................................................................................................................................41 i
  • 3.
  • 4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In 1968, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act to protect marginalized classes from discrimi- nation in housing opportunities because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and famil- ial status. The Act was subsequently amended in 1988, to become the Fair Housing Amendments Act. Throughout the State of Missouri, ordinary citizens and their respective communities-at-large are grappling with the deprivation or abridgment of fair housing choices on an even playing field with proper levels of accountability. Springfield citizens are certainly among those facing increasing levels of anger, frustration and concern. Missouri's history shows it to be a harsh one-sided state heavily favoring property owners by ex- tremely prejudicial, deeply tyrannical and pervasively oppressive state laws that treat tenants more as intruders living on private property, than valued consumers paying money for goods and services so the Landlord financially profits off of his or her land. In spite of the Missouri Supreme Court recognizing common law creates the implied warranty of habitability, in Detling v. Edelbrock, 671 S.W.2d 265, 270 (Mo. banc 1984), Missouri Legislators and Springfield city officials have consistently failed or refused to codify the Court's ruling into state law and city ordinances, respectively. The fundamental tenants of the residential dwelling implied warranty of habitability is that “land- lords in residential lease contracts impliedly represent to their tenants that “the dwelling is habitable and fit for living at the inception of the term and that it will remain so during the entire term.” Id., and yet, it is not a reality for countless of citizens across Missouri and throughout Springfield. The right of all citizens to exercise his or her right of quiet enjoyment by having a safe and sani- tary place to live, on an even playing field with shared accountability, is a human right but not one that is widely enjoyed by ordinary citizens, many of whom are severely and pervasively at risk because of his or her medical condition(s) or other impediments caused by his or her disability. It is utterly mind-boggling how, in the 21st century, we are still combating oppressive and inher- ently dangerous living conditions forced on consumers who pay for goods and services, because state and city government officials simply cannot or will not wrap their heads around their obligation to protect the lives, health, safety and welfare of ordinary citizens, in housing opportunities. Notwithstanding the aforesaid, ordinary citizens in a protected class suffer discrimination in their housing terms and/or conditions because of their protected class status, and suffer retaliatory evictions, harassment and defamation of the tenant's character by malicious and retaliatory evictions in court's. Low-income tenants lack the resources to hire their own attorney. Many if not most law firms or attorney's will decline to represent tenants because they do not have enough money. And Landlords will hire multiple attorney's from different law firms to ensure tenants cannot obtain a local attorney, due to the conflicts of interest in representing a tenant of a Landlord whom the attorney has or does represent. Prior to COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic that paralyzed our nation and threw many people into severe and pervasive financial crisis' due to employment layoff's or unemployment, nationally, there were over 3.6 million evictions filed every year ('Eviction: Intersection of Poverty, Inequality, and Hous- ing' (2018), by Ashley Gromis, PhD Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University), with only about 3% of tenants having legal counsel in contrast to 81% of Landlords having an attorney. Numerous studies show that when tenants are represented by legal counsel, home retention in lieu of housing eviction, ranges from 70% to 100% of the time. Currently, there are 17 cities, 4 states and 1 county that give tenants the Right To Counsel (RTC). Kansas City, Missouri is among them. The National Coalition for a Civil Right To Council reports that in Kansas City: 1
  • 5. The pre-RTC eviction rate was 99% and in the first 3 months of RTC it was less than 20%. Most recently, of all the resolved cases, 91.5% of tenants have avoided eviction, compared to the 99% of tenants who were evicted before RTC. Other cities such as New York City, San Francisco, Cleveland, Boulder, and Toledo in Ohio, and such states as Connecticut and WA State, have all found the same kind of successes because of RTC laws that protect the legal rights of tenants. And studies out of Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and Minnesota, consistently show the substantial benefits RTC laws have across the board. Some states such as Arizona, Minnesota, Oregon, and Utah, issue limited licenses that permit a non-attorney, i.e., paralegals, to practice law in limited situations, to offset the lack of access to attorney representation in civil cases, such as landlord-tenant evictions. And yet, in Springfield, Missouri, publicly elected policy makers are still trying to grasp even the rudimentary aspects of what objectives to create for housing priorities. Springfield city officials have been grappling with fair housing choice impediments for nearly one decade and they are not really any closer today than they were nearly ten-years ago, in solving issues Springfield citizens face in the increasingly worse and ongoing fair housing choice crisis. The time has come to end the gamesmanship, bureaucratic stall tactics, pretextual ignorance, and endless committee hearings to study the studies that taxpayers paid for and expected the publicly elected officials to act on in addressing and resolving the fair housing choice crisis. As Springfield City Councilman Craig Hosmer so pointedly stated on January 8, 2024, during the City Council meeting, at timestamp 37:25 to 37:51: I think that we also, as has been mentioned by the, the people that testified, we also have an obligation to actually implement what, you know, we've done other studies that we haven't done anything with . . . And so, I think if, if we're going to pay for and get these studies, I think there's an obligation we try to follow the recommendations of supposed experts in the field that should be, you know, instructing and, and advising our policy. It is time for citizens to hold government officials accountable to the people, in the quest to have, exercise and benefit from fair housing choices that create even playing fields with shared accountability. The fair housing choice crisis in Springfield did not create itself – it manifested because of the conduct of everyone involved – and the fair housing crisis did not just magically develop over night and without notice – it has manifested over the past ten years with the same bureaucratic processes being used to supposedly address the issues without really solving the issues. No citizen should be afraid, discouraged or ridiculed for expressing their fears, concerns, and yes, even their anger, about the issues and about the inaction of government officials to protect the lives, health, safety, welfare, and the civil rights and liberties of people. Unless and until policy makers, bureaucrats, citizens, advocates, landlords, tenants and other stakeholders start engaging the hard, pointed and seemingly controversial conversations, then changes that would otherwise create and sustain fair housing, will never really be successfully achieved. To this end, this fair housing choice report dispenses with the formalities of “diplomacy” which politicians and bureaucrats alike have transformed into meaning “dishonesty”, and instead, provides a pointed examination of the issues based on historical records, statistical data, recorded conversations in government held public meetings, email conversations, and visibly demonstrated conduct. 2
  • 6. THE FIVE PILLARS OF CHANGE Historical records show that since 1996, city officials of Springfield, Missouri, and the communi- ty-at-large have continuously grappled with an ongoing housing crisis. Moreover, that since 1996, city officials have repeatedly claimed that they are earnestly working to solve the housing crisis plaguing our community. In March 2020, the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations (MCHRCR) and City Council concluded their citywide citizen inclusion survey, to obtain the input and insights of the Springfield population about the issues they see the City experiencing. Among the top responses was a consistency of both intentional and unintentional discrimination of marginalized classes. Despite this effort and the responses received from Springfield citizens, the fair housing crisis in Springfield continued to grow worse, with City Council regularly failing or refusing to take decisive ac- tions to address the Springfield fair housing choice crisis. Marginalized Springfield citizens are the ones who were suffering the most in their housing environments. In March 2022 the Springfield Mayor's Initiative on Equity and Equality was created. It consisted of 18 Springfield citizens: 2 in the medical field, 2 in the public & private school field, 2 in banking, 4 in the business community, 1 attorney, and 7 representing Catholic, Jewish, Baptist and Evangelical faiths. While the 18 member panel developed a sufficiently sound set of principles, noticeably the effort applied followed the status quo government way of doing things in that of appointing people in positions of power or with prestigious titles, to decide the ordinary common citizen's rights and liberties. The panel developed a five-tier format to promote and incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into city government and the City as a whole. City Council adopted these principles and labeled them to be the Five Pillars of Change, under the pretext that they would somehow reform city government, the City as a whole and how ordinary and marginalized citizens would be treated. Despite these efforts and the principles adopted, the fair housing choice crisis continued to grow worse. with City Council regularly failing or refusing to take decisive actions to address the Springfield fair housing choice crisis. Marginalized Springfield citizens are the ones who were suffering the most in their housing environments. In October 2023, city council received the most recent housing study done in Springfield, which identified numerous issues in fair housing choices. However, it was not until January 30, 2023, that City Council members began discussing the development of special housing priorities to address the issues, but ultimately City Council failed or refused to establish any housing priorities. The present informal consensus among council members is that housing priorities should focus on “housing stock” issues to generate and increase financial gains for the City and private parties, such that comes from home development and home ownership. On March 25, 2024, City Council members decided that instead of developing housing priorities themselves, as a whole body, they passed the buck of responsibility to the City Community Involvement Committee. The purpose and intent of which is to have the Committee study the housing study done, to decide what, if any, housing priority objectives to establish by yet another bureaucratic process. Meanwhile, the Springfield fair housing crisis continues to grow worse. Marginalized classes continue to suffer by having their lives, health, safety and welfare endangered, as numerous Springfield citizens have regularly testified about in public meetings, to City Council members. The Five Pillars of Change was held out as the so-called cure-all-be-all solution to ensuring that all Springfield citizens have an equal place in City government and the City as a whole. 3
  • 7. On June 6, 2023, City Council enacted Special Ordinance 2023-126, to ensure members of the LGBTQ+ community knew the Five Pillars of Change apply to them because as individuals and a class, they are entitled to diversity, equity and inclusion in Springfield. Meanwhile, the fair housing choice crisis in Springfield continues to grow worse, with the most marginalized class, people with disabilities, suffering the worst. In adopting the five principles developed by the panel serving on the Mayor's Initiative on Equity and Equality, City Council members labeled the principles the Five Pillars of Change, which are: A. Dialog and Understanding: 1. Seeking and listening to diverse thoughts respectfully 2. Fostering a culture of mutual learning through continual dialogue and education B. Cultural Consciousness: 1. Developing awareness of our own existing biases 2. Understanding, valuing, and respecting diversity C. Advocacy and Partnerships: 1. Cultivating inclusive partnerships to increase intentional and effective collaboration 2. Welcoming diverse voices and advocating for the underrepresented and the disenfranchised D. Structural and Systemic Barriers: 1. Identifying and removing diversity, equity, and inclusion barriers 2. Refining policies and implementing practices to protect the rights of every member of our community E. Personal and Organizational Accountability: 1. Inspiring, modeling, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence 2. Honoring individuals and organizations that demonstrate accountability for fostering an inclusive community The most controversial and adversarial pillar is that of Structural and Systemic Barriers because if applied equally, and realistically, and it is doubtful it will be, it means those in government must accept the role they and and continue to play in creating and imposing barriers against Springfield citizens. It requires those in City government to accept being criticized, scrutinized and held to account for their conduct that deprives or abridges civil rights, disenfranchises individuals or classes of citizens, and that fails or refuses to honor and abide by all tiers of the Five Pillars of Change they enacted. It requires those in City government to visibly hold themselves and each other accountable to the people, to the law and to the ethics they are supposed to have and act with, in order to model, pro- mote and inspire all tiers of the Five Pillars of Change among all individuals and classes in Springfield. But in reality, it is highly unlikely that City officials will do these things. 4
  • 8. WHO DEVELOPS THE FAIR HOUSING CHOICE PRIORITIES FOR SPRINGFIELD CITIZENS In terms of housing priorities, the 2024 Springfield Economic Vitality Plan entails: Support the development and preservation of quality, affordable housing stock to meet the needs of a growing and diverse community. During the January 30, 2024 Tuesday's with Council meeting, Mayor Ken McClure, Councilmen Mathew Simpson, Brandon Jensen, Abe McGull and Craig Hosmer and Councilwoman Heather Hardinger all voiced their belief that the housing priorities should include home development and home ownership. During the January 30, 2024 Tuesday's with Council meeting on developing housing priorities, Councilwoman Heather Hardinger stated, at timestamps 53:54 to 55:02 Yeah I, I agree with, uh, Councilman [Craig] Hosmer on the venue for discussing this primarily. I mean of course as chair of the Community Involvement Committee, I'm always happy to bring stuff into us. We have robust meetings meeting but um, you know, I think that we have a sense of urgency in developing objectives that like truly need the quality of place that we've been talking about for so many years. And I think we've got citizens that have been waiting for some of these initiatives to come about and I think discussing them in a broader form, I think not only creates more diversity of thought so that we can kind of collaborate together as a unit as to how we wanna proceed with this. But I also think that, you know, we owe it to citizens who have been waiting for some time of this infrastructure to be put in place. And I think we have the resources to start working on that now. Councilwoman Hardinger's above statement is to say that while it may be just and proper to have the Community Involvement Committee eventually take over discussing housing priorities, the first step needed to include the City Council as a whole body, before transferring it to a limited Committee. In agreement with this, Mayor Ken McClure stated, at timestamps 55:02 to 55:51, that: I say here's, here's I think what I'm hearing. We've talked about committee, that's always an option and my though it if it goes to committee [physically gesturing to Councilwoman Hardinger in her capacity as the chair of the Community Involvement Committee] . . . I do think, uh, particularly and, and I this is helpful, we need[] to see this. I, I, I think maybe a half day retreat is something we need to do with the focus on, on council priorities specifically. We start with, start with this and then I think you weave into that where we're on the existing ones. Yeah. I think once we know where you go on the housing housing, it'll help us try to figure what stays, what goes and on the other priorities that compliment. Despite the aforesaid, on March 25, 2024, a motion was made in City Council meeting, for the Community Involvement Committee take over developing the housing priorities rather than going to the planned retreat for Council members to develop the foundation of objectives first. During the March 25, 2024 City Council meeting, Councilman Brandon Jensen objected to hav- ing the discussions transferred to the Community Involvement Committee. Councilman Jensen stated: I've been doing a lot of soul searching on this, um, very specific topic and, um, the issue, the process that we've followed so far. Um, and when we left our, our last committee of the whole thing meeting, I thought that we 5
  • 9. had done a really good job of coming together, um, and developing a consensus on language for our goal under Councilwoman Horton's leadership in that meeting, Um, and our next steps were gonna be to come back together, um, roll up our sleeves and do the work of actually identifying the priorities that we could all agree upon, um, leveraging our, our unique expertise. Um, and I think each of us, all nine of us bring, uh, even though, um, Councilwoman [Heather] Hardinger is not here, we all bring a unique set of skills and perspectives that I think are integral to the development of an overall vision to our community. Um, I don't have any doubt in the Committee Involvement Committee's ability to develop, to do good work and develop a set of objectives, but it's inherently going to be missing the input of at least five council members. Um, all of whom, as I said, have unique perspectives. Um, I know that any priorities that come out of that are gonna come back to the [city council] of the whole. Um, but there's a very big difference in the power of providing formative input upfront and the power of just review and approval of other people's work. Agreeing with Councilman Jensen, Councilman Craig Hosmer stated in relevant parts: I have my own concern about committees, cause it does, it does give those four people on the committee an inordinate amount of decision making because you hear the information, you get this particular expertise, and sometimes it comes back to council. The other members of council don't have that information, and you don't really make informed decision[s] sometimes Um, and so I understand your position and I sort of, I, I agree, uh, because I think this is an issue that's an overarching issue. It's like, it's like dealing with poverty, dealing with housing is one of the biggest issues that we face in this city. So, I don't like to disagree with my mayor, but I, on this, on this particular issue, I think this is big enough issue that we should, we should get together as a council, uh, and maybe have a council meeting at night where we do, where we, all we deal with is the housing issue and have people present information because I think that it, it's something we have to do something on. You know, the information is pretty stark of what we're faced with. And if we don't do something, I think we're sort of shirking our responsibility. Originally, Councilwoman Horton stated, during the February 12, 2024 City Council meeting: I'm speaking just in general to anyone out in the public. You do not have to wait until city council puts something on the agenda to come and speak and to come, and let your voice be heard on, on a matter. There are nine of us here that can engage, and, uh, you know, get on the pathway towards, um, a solution, and to, uh, allow us to, to think differently and creatively and shift our thinking in terms of how we're, um, approaching different issues that might be wider, broader, systemic types of issues. Her above statement is in line with what Councilman Jensen and Councilwoman Hardinger were pointing out: It is better for the council, as a whole body. to set the foundation of objections first because in Committee, the voice of the people is only permitted if Councilwoman Hardinger calls on a citizen to speak. Moreover, that Council as a whole only gets to engage in providing approval of other people's work rather than providing formative input upfront first. 6
  • 10. Despite the aforesaid, and in opposition to Councilman Jensen, during the March 25, 2024 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Horton stated: I don't necessarily have any objections with this topic going to committee because it could at least be on the burner monthly instead of us scrambling to figure out a time for all nine of our schedules to sink. And for me, I always knew that there were objectives of this particular priority that needed to go to committee. For example, uh, the rental property inspections, we know that has to go, that needs further review and it needs further study. We know, we knew that um I, I knew that landlord licensing needed further study and needed further review. I knew that tenant's right to counsel needed further study and further review the establishment of affordable housing trust fund incentive zoning. Like all of those things, I knew that eventually they would go to committee so that we can do a deeper dive. Um, on the other side that, I do realize that I, I'd, I'd have to relinquish being on the front end of, um, participating in public meetings on the discussion. But I do trust the chair. Um, Heather Hardinger, I do feel as though she does, um, hold, ha hold, uh, quality housing as a priority and other members of committee. And I really do feel as though that this needs monthly eyeballs, constant eyeballs, and it not be up in the air in terms of whether or not we have a quorum of whether or not all of us can be there. But the conversation can continue to, to go. Um, and so, I, I personally don't have any objections, so I'm okay with the motion and the second that's on the floor. As pointed out during the March 25, 2024 City Council meeting, the decision to reverse course in Council members developing the foundational housing priority objectives first, in a half day retreat as originally planned, the decision to transfer the discussion to the Community Involvement Committee was premised on Council members being volunteers and unable to schedule time for a retreat. Whether or not it is a legitimate argument to make, at a minimum, the appearance is given that a majority of Council members believe they have better things to do with their time than to participate in a half day retreat, working as a whole body, to develop objectives for ensuing fair housing choice crisis. THE REST OF THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK 7
  • 11. FIRST PILLAR OF CHANGE (DIALOG AND UNDERSTANDING) I. Springfield Housing Studies (2010 to 2023): A. Comprehensive Housing Studies: In October 2023, the City of Springfield released the results from the comprehensive citywide housing study done by APD Urban Planning Management. Some, but not all, of the findings include: Takeaways: ➢ Springfield had a 5% growth in population from 2010 through 2020, with the largest age co- hort between 20 and 29. The population of 65+ is projected to increase by nearly 25% by 2030. ➢ The median household income is $37,491. The poverty rate is 22%. There is a mismatch between available housing and incomes, and first-time home buyers are having difficulty affording a home. ➢ Home ownership declined by 17% from 2010 to 2020. Home ownership rate is currently 42%. ➢ 92% of housing in Springfield are single family residential. Current residential zoning is a major contributor to a lack of housing diversity. ➢ Some of Springfield’s rental housing stock is substandard. ➢ The most common multifamily housing type is duplex. ➢ Multifamily homes are primarily located near Missouri State University. ➢ 97% of all housing structures are occupied. ➢ Vacant residential lots can be found in most neighborhoods. ➢ 77% of all housing is in good condition. ➢ 21% of all housing structures are in fair to worse condition. ➢ 44% of all housing structures were built between 1950 and 1970. ➢ 21% were built between 1980 and 2020. ➢ 30% were built between 1840 and 1940. ➢ Housing structures in Zone 1 (northwest quadrant of the city) have a broader range of conditions. ➢ Attendees of the February housing study community meeting listed town homes, starter homes, workforce housing and tiny homes as housing types missing from Springfield neighborhoods. ➢ Attendees of the February community meeting listed the following as strengths of Springfield neighborhoods: neighborhood establishment, community engagement, historic homes, diversity in housing, neighborhood character, accessible/walkable communities, affordable homes, transit-oriented development, quality schools and parks/greenspace. ➢ Weaknesses were ineffective landlords, unaffordable housing, lack of viable rental housing, lack of variety in housing types, vacant housing, blight and decay, walkability/connectivity, development/preservation. 8
  • 12. Community input: ➢ 74% of those who took the online survey are in favor of regulating rental housing ➢ 68% are in favor of new housing types ➢ 61% are in favor of housing affordability assistance programs ➢ 49% are in favor of new commercial development in neighborhoods ➢ 45% are in favor of exterior maintenance programs ➢ 44% are in favor of design standards for neighborhoods ➢ 40% are in favor of tiny/cottage home developments. B. Mayor's Initiative on Equity & Equality: In March 2022, the City of Springfield released the final report by the 18 member citizen panel of the Mayor's Initiative on Equity and Equality. See https://www.springfieldmo.gov/5443/Mayors-Initiative-on-Equity-and-Equality The final report points out, “Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and City Council voted unanimously in 2021 to create the Mayor’s Initiative on Equity and Equality to further the City’s ongoing efforts to en- sure an equitable environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion.” Id., on p.1. The panel existed for one-year. The panel represented “different personal and professional lived experiences, different sectors of the community, and various cultural backgrounds.” Id. The final report was issued to City Council and Mayor McClure, in March 2022. The panel defined the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion to mean: Diversity encompasses the entire human experience. Diversity is the wide spectrum of unique lived experiences that each individual possesses, expresses, and contributes. Equity is promoting justice, impartiality, and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our community and society as a whole. Inclusion is how we make diversity work. Inclusion is the creation and support of an environment that not only accepts but celebrates differences by leveraging diversity to make stronger decisions for the greater good. Inclusive diversity is equally respectful of and embraces the unique qualities of each person. The panel identified and established specific principles the City needs to engage in, by the fol- lowing: ➢ Seeking and listening to diverse thoughts respectfully; ➢ Fostering a culture of mutual learning through continual dialogue and education; ➢ Developing awareness of our own existing biases; ➢ Understanding, valuing, and respecting diversity; ➢ Cultivating inclusive partnerships to increase intentional and effective collaboration; ➢ Welcoming diverse voices and advocating for the underrepresented and the disenfran- chised; 9
  • 13. ➢ Identifying and removing diversity, equity, and inclusion barriers; ➢ Refining policies and implementing practices to protect the rights of every member of our community; ➢ Inspiring, modeling, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence; and ➢ Honoring individuals and organizations that demonstrate accountability for fostering an inclusive community C. Citywide Citizen Survey: In October 2020, the City of Springfield released its Inclusion Survey of Springfield citizens that explored the perceptions and beliefs about diversity, equity and inclusion existing in Springfield. See https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/50681/Springfield-Inclusiveness-Survey According to the Springfield Business Journal, Councilwoman Heather Hardinger, who at that time was a Commissioner of the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations, said: The purpose of the inclusion survey was to shed light on issues that may be holding back inclusive change and leadership – including concerns about racism, discrimination and belonging that impact citizens in Springfield. See https://sbj.net/stories/whats-the-role-of-business-in-diversity-inclusion-efforts,71181? The survey was conducted by the city council and the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations. The study presented eight questions for Springfield citizens to answer. Dr. Gloria J. Galanes, Ph.D., and Missouri State University Professor Emerita, wrote the final report. The report points out, on p.3, the study period was from January 21, 2020 to March 2020. The report admits not knowing how many people received the survey because the study did not follow controlled study guidelines. However, the report does point out that 2,276 responses were turned in. Ultimately, the survey sought to determine the perceptions of Springfield citizens and entities in exactly how inclusive the City of Springfield is, to-wit, those responding asserted that Springfield is: ➢ very inclusive, 249 (12.22%); ➢ somewhat inclusive, 812 (39.86%); ➢ not very inclusive, 646 (31.73%); ➢ not inclusive, 267 (13.11%); and ➢ no opinion/not applicable, 63 (3.09%).” The report points out that among the top responses received, “[r]espondents called for more di- versity of all kinds (racial, ethnic, age-related, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and disability)” Id., and that “the city needs to solicit the opinions of diverse members and actually listen to those opinions.” Id. Moreover, that the “[l]ack of diversity is fostering an environment where people are subconsciously discriminating in addition to purposefully [discriminating] (sic).” Id. D. Extrapolating The Data: The qualitative and quantitative data in §§ A to C above, explains why the Mayor's Initiative on Equity & Equality and Springfield citizens have expressed very pointed beliefs and expectations about City officials needing to start actually listening to Springfield citizens and genuinely address their griev- ances, the violations of law that occur and the irreparable harms Springfield citizens continue to suffer. 10
  • 14. As Councilwoman Hardinger pointed out on January 30, 2024, the fair housing choice crisis and the issues are not new. They have existed for years, and according to historical records from City Coun- cil, they have existed since at least 1996. And it bares repeating that on January 8, 2024, Councilman Craig Hosmer pointedly stated, at timestamp 37:25 to 37:51, that, I think that we also, as has been mentioned by the, the people that testified, we also have an obligation to actually implement what, you know, we've done other studies that we haven't done anything with . . . And so, I think if, if we're going to pay for and get these studies, I think there's an obligation we try to follow the recommendations of supposed experts in the field that should be, you know, instructing and, and advising our policy. E. City of Springfield Statistical Data: In September 2013, the City of Springfield released its 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choices' report, which the city council adopted on September 23, 2013. The September 2013 demo- graphics provided in the report show: See https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5212/Analysis-of-Fair-Housing-Impediments- PDF?bidI Race Percentage Comparison 2010 With Percentage Changes From 2000 Percentages United States Missouri Springfield Total Population White Black Native American* Asian Other Two or More Races Hispanic/Latino** 308,745,538 (+9.7%)*** 72.4% (-3.6%) 12.6% (+2.4%) 1.1% (+10.0%) 4.8% (+33.3%) 6.2% (+12.7%) 2.9% (+20.8%) 16.3% (+30.4%) 5,988,927 (+7.0%)*** 82.8% (-2.5%) 11.6% (+3.6%) 0.6% (+2.0%) 1.6% (+45.5%) 1.3% (+62.5%) 2.1% (+40.0%) 3.5% (+66.7%) 159,498 (+5.2%)*** 88.7% (-3.3%)**** 4.1% (+24.2%)**** 1.0% (+11.1%)**** 1.9% (+35.7%)**** 1.2% (+33.3%)**** 3.2% (+60.0%)**** 3.4% (+60.1%)**** *American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders **Hispanic/Latino considered an ethnicity, not a race ***Percentage change since 2000 ****Percentage change from 2000 percent In contrast, the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' points out: Race Percentage Comparison 2017 With Percentage Changes From 2017 Percentages United States Missouri Springfield Total Population White Black American Indian* Asian Native Hawaiian Two or More Races Hispanic/Latino** 325,719,178 (+5.5%) **** 76.6% (+5.8%) 13.4% (+6.3%) 1.3% (+0.2%) 5.8% (+20.8%) 0.2% 2.7% (-6.9%) 18.1% (+11.0%) 6,113,532 (+2.1%)**** 83.1% (+0.4%) 11.8% (+1.7%) 0.6% (+0.1%) 2.1% (+31.3%) 0.1% 2.3% (+9.5%) 4.2% (+20.0%) 167,376 (+4.9%)*** 88.4% (-0.3%)**** 4.7% (+14.0%)**** 0.6% (-0.2%)**** 2.1% (+10.5%)**** 0.2% 3.1% (-3.1%)**** 4.2% (+23.5%)**** *American Indian, Alaska Native **Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders ***Hispanic/Latino considered an ethnicity, not a race ****Estimated percentage change since 2010 *****Estimated percentage change from 2010 percent 11
  • 15. The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report for the year 2010, points out: Population Age Comparison 2010 With Percentage Changes From 2000 United States – 2010 Missouri – 2010 Springfield – 2010 Under Age 18 Age 62 and Over Median Age - years 24.0%** (-6.6%)* 16.2%** (+10.2%)* 37.2 (+1.9 yrs) 23.8%** (-6.7%)* 17.2%** (+8.2%)* 37.9 (+1.8 yrs) 29,176 (18.3%)** (-8.0%)* 27,582 (17.3%)** (+1.8%)* 33.2 (+0.3 yrs) *Percentage change from 2000 percentage **Percentage of entire population The January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out: Population Age Comparison 2017 With Percentage Changes From 2010 United States – 2017 Missouri – 2017 Springfield – 2017 Under Age 18 Age 65 and Over Median Age - years 22.6%** (-5.8%)* 15.6%** (+20.0%)* 37.7 (+0.5 yrs) 22.6%** (-5.0%)* 16.5** (+17.9%* 38.3 (+0.4 yrs) 30,295 (18.1%)** (-1.1%)* 24.939 (14.9%)** (+2.8%)* 32.8 (+0.4 yrs) *Estimated percentage change from 2010 percentage **Estimated percentage of entire population ***Source U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey Population Estimates The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out: Population Age Comparison 2010 Percentage of Total Zip Code Population Zip Code Under Age 18 Age 62 and Over Media Age (years) 65802 65803 65804 65806 65807 65809 65810 21.8% 21.8% 18.2% 13.3% 17.3% 22.1% 24.6% 13.9% 16.8% 23.0% 7.8% 17.0% 24.2% 17.6% 32.2 36.7 40.8 26.2 31.3 47.0 39.5 Averages 18.30% 17.30% 33.2 Note: Each Zip Code, except 65806, is located both inside and outside the Springfield city limits *See Zip Code Map The September 2013 report goes on to point out: ➢ Springfield’s 2010 household median income was $28,697, a 3% decline from $29,563 in 2000. ➢ 44 percent of households in 2010 earned less than $25,000; ➢ About 29 percent of Springfield’s households earned between $25,000 and $50,000; ➢ About 27 percent earned more than $50,000; ➢ These figures include about a 19 percent increase in the number of households earning less than $25,000 since the 2000 Census; and 12
  • 16. ➢ A 30 percent decline for households earning between $25,000 and $50,000 and over a 100% increase for households earning more than $50,000. The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report also asserts: Household Income Comparison 2011 By Zip Code* Zip Codes Income less than $25,000 Income $25,000 to $50,000 Income more than $50,000 Household Income below Poverty Level – People 18 & Over 65802 65803 65804 65806 65807 65809 65810 37.4% 34.9% 29.5% 62.3% 31.2% 8.2% 12.6% 31.2% 31.5% 28.4% 22.4% 32.6% 17.6% 23.1% 31.4% 33.6% 42.1% 15.3% 36.2% 74.2% 64.3% 20.3% 19.1% 12.2% 41.1% 18.3% 3.7% 5.0% Average 44.00% 29.10% 26.90% 20.50% Note: Each Zip Code, except 65806, is located both inside and outside the Springfield city limits *See Zip Code Map In contrast, the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' points out: Median income and poverty rates by zip codes; ACS 2013-2017 Census Data Zip Codes Poverty Rate Median Household Income 65802 65803 65804 65806 65807 65809 65810 25.7% 23.8% 12.8% 51.0% 22.4% 6.0% 6.7% $34,649.00 $35,871.00 $48,214.00 $16,357.00 $38,862.00 $98,043.00 $68,597.00 The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report also points out: Rents Paid and Rents Compared with Income – 2010 With Comparisons to 2000 Rents Paid – by Household 2000 2010 Less than $300 3,719 1,668 (-55%)* $300 - $499 13,773 8,856 (-35.7%)* $500 - $749 8,850 13,691 (+54.7%)* $750 - $999 1,909 6,584 (+244%)* More than $1,000 665 2,969 (+346%)* Median Rent $452 $607 (+34.3%)* Rents as a Percentage of Household Income 2000 2010 Less than 20% 9,291 (31.1%)** 6,823 (20.5%)** 20 to 24.9% 4,218 (14.1%)** 3,323 (10%)** 25 to 29.9% 3,525 (11.8%)** 3,766 (11.3%)** More than 35% 9,348 (31.2%)** 17,216 (51.6%)** Not Computed 1,452 (4.8%)** N/A *Percentage change since 2000 **Percentage of household income 13
  • 17. In contrast, the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report for the year 2017 points out: Rents Paid and Rents Compared to Income: ACS Data 2013 to 2017 Occupied units paying rent 39, 014 39, 014 Less than $500 $500 to $999 $1,000 to $1,499 $1,500 to $1,999 $2,000 to to $2,499 $2,500 to $2,999 $3,000 or more Median (dollars) No rent paid 6,315 26,317 5,523 464 229 85 81 711 1,080 16.2% 67.5% 14.2% 1.2% 0.6% 0.2% 0.2% (X) (X) Gross Rents as Percentage of Household Income: GRAPI – ACS Data 2013 to 2017 Occupied units paying rent 37, 478 37, 478 Less than 15.0 percent 15.0 to 19.9 percent 20.0 to 24.9 percent 25.0 to 29.9 percent 30.0 to 34.9 percent 35.0 percent or more 3,839 4,843 4,845 4,590 3,264 16.097 10.2% 12.9% 12.9% 12.2% 8.7% 43.0% The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report for 2010 also points out: Fair Market Rents – 2010 With Changes From 2000 in Parentheses 0 Bedrooms 1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms 2010 2000 $404 (+51.0%)* $268 $477 (+40.3%)* $340 $610 (+38.6%)* $440 $869 (+42.9%)* $608 $993 (+56.9%)* $633 *Percentage change from 2000 In contrast the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out: National Fair Market Rents – 2013 to 2019* With Changes From 2000 in Parentheses 0 Bedrooms 1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms 2013 2014 2015 to 2017 2018 2019 $425 $425 $475 to $575 $575 $550 $475 $475 $500 to $600 $600 $575 $625 $650 $650 to $675 $675 $650 $975 $975 $975 to $1,100 $1,100 $1,025 $975 $975 $975 to $1,200 $1,200 $1,090 *National fair market rents, as determined by the U.S. Housing and Development Department 14
  • 18. F. U.S. Social Security Administration: The statistical data below by the U.S. Social Security Administration, from 2020 to 2022, shows that there is a sufficiently large population of people in Greene County who receive some type of social security income, that they qualify as a target class when developing housing priorities in Springfield. Number of recipients in state (by eligibility category, age, and receipt of OASDI benefits) and amount of payments December 2020* Location Total Aged Blind and disabled Under 18 Age 18 to 64 Age 65 or older SSI recipients also receiving OASDI Amount of payments (thousands of dollars) Missouri 134,636 6, 826 127,810 19,199 93,351 22,086 44, 863 78,160 Greene County 6, 461 212 6,249 969 4,643 849 2, 180 3,799 *SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record and Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data; and U.S. Postal Service geographic data. Number of recipients in state (by eligibility category, age, and receipt of OASDI benefits) and amount of payments December 2021* Location Total Aged Blind and disabled Under 18 Age 18 to 64 Age 65 or older SSI recipients also receiving OASDI Amount of payments (thousands of dollars) Missouri 131,148 6774 124, 374 18,428 90,097 22,623 43,778 77,577 Greene County 6, 402 223 6,179 950 4, 557 895 2,126 3,801 *SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record and Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data; and U.S. Postal Service geographic data. Number of recipients in state (by eligibility category, age, and receipt of OASDI benefits) and amount of payments December 2022* Location Total Aged Blind and disabled Under 18 Age 18 to 64 Age 65 or older SSI recipients also receiving OASDI Amount of payments (thousands of dollars) Missouri 128,879 6,906 121,973 18,197 87,180 23,502 43,014 80,977 Greene County 6,363 253 6,110 919 4,488 956 2117 4,090 *SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record and Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data; and U.S. Postal Service geographic data. G. United States Census Bureau: Calculation of Springfield Population Size U.S. Census Bureau – 2010 to 2022 Month/Year Population Size April 2010 159,498 April 2020 169,176 July 2022 170,067 15
  • 19. Calculation of Springfield Housing Costs U.S. Census Bureau – 2018 to 2022 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2018-2022 $146,400.00 Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2018-2022 $1,108.00 Median selected monthly owner costs -without a mortgage, 2018-2022 $418.00 Median gross rent, 2018-2022 $878.00 Calculation of Springfield Economy U.S. Census Bureau – 2017 to 2022 In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2018-2022 59.50% In civilian labor force, female, percent of population age 16 years+, 2018-2022 56.20% Total accommodation and food services sales, 2017 ($1,000) $760,462.00 Total health care and social assistance receipts/revenue, 2017 ($1,000) $3,729,685.00 Total transportation and warehousing receipts/revenue, 2017 ($1,000) $2,365,95 Total retail sales, 2017 ($1,000) $4, 676,860 Total retail sales per capita, 2017 $27,954.00 Calculation of Springfield Income & Poverty U.S. Census Bureau – 2018 to 2022 Median household income (in 2022 dollars) (2018-2022) $43,450.00 Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2022 dollars) (2018-2022) $28,806.00 Persons in poverty (2018-2020) 20.30% H. Extrapolating The Data: The totality of the aforesaid statistical data leaves no room to doubt that Springfield increasingly experiences a disproportionate ratio between individual financial income vs. cost of housing issues, that has continued to worsen and imposes tangible adverse affects on the most vulnerable populations of Springfield citizens. For example, people who currently obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI), receive $943.00 per-month. When faced with the costs of renting a home, whether an apartment or a house, the over- whelming vast majority of their monthly income is spent on just paying their monthly rent amount. For individuals receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), the average income is $1,300 per-month. Therefore, there is a tone deaf response when City Council members express desires for people to become home owners, when they can barely afford essential life-sustaining needs. 16
  • 20. The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out that: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development uses 30% of a household’s income as a benchmark for the appropriate amount a household should pay for rent. Fifty-eight percent of renters paid more than 30% of their income for rent in 2010. The same report also points out: While 76% and 88% of households in the south and east (Zip Codes 65809 and 65810) own housing, 17% own in the city’s center city area (Zip Code 65806). In other words, over 83% of center city’s housing is rental units while less than 12% of the housing in Zip Code 65809 is occupied by renters. This data explains why, according to the September 2013 and January 2020 reports, the great- est poverty stricken location in Springfield rests in the Zip Code area of 65806, which also likely houses the largest number of people receiving either SSI and/or SSDI. Business development in the 65806 Zip Code area is virtually stagnate in a large sector of the area, that individuals living in this area, who work, are required to spend greater amounts of money traveling to and from work, which imposes tangible adverse effects on their total cost of living expenses. Compounding the issues and the adverse effects, is that public benefit programs such as SSDI, SSI, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formally called food stamps) and Medicaid, have re- source limits that ensure individuals receiving these benefits are purposefully kept in financial poverty. If a person goes over the financial resource limit, he or she will lose either a portion of or the totality of his or her public benefits. Furthermore, what many people do not realize is that in numerous cases, Medicaid in Missouri is treated like a regular health insurance policy with monthly premiums (or deductibles) called 'spend downs'. Individuals with a monthly spend down are required to pay the amount out of their own pocket each month before Medicaid kicks in to pay the remaining amount for medical, dental or vision services received but only for that month because each month, the same spend down dollar amount renews and thus, is different from regular health care insurance where the deductible paid is for the entire year. Thus, any housing priority created, must give a heavy emphasis on the 65806 Zip Code area for housing priorities to have any meaningful and long-term effect in addressing the housing crisis in itself, but also in addressing many other issues that go hand-in-hand. For example, discrimination because of a protected class status and acts of retaliation and harassment in housing opportunities. THE REST OF THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK 17
  • 21. SECOND PILLAR OF CHANGE (CULTRUAL CONSCIOUSNESS) Putting it simply, people do not speak on a one dimensional level but rather, based on their three dimensional identity that, whether consciously or subconsciously, incorporates their entire range of life experiences. Crenshaw (2022) defined "Intersectionality” to be “a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood among conventional ways of thinking." Crenshaw (1991) also pointed out that, “a person's interactions with the world are not just solely based on one aspect of their identity, but are rather layered and multifaceted; interactions in which racism, sexism, abelism, classism [and other forms of oppression] are experienced simutaneously. In terms of politics, Patricia Hill Collins, Duke University Press, 2019, explained in 'Intersection- ality as Critical Social Theory' that: The term “intersectionality” references this big tent umbrella of an intellectual and political crossroads or meeting place for political and intellectual engagement across political, substantive, and methodological differences. Politically, intersectionality aspires for robust interpretive communities to house necessary dialogs among disparate ideas and people. Substantively, communities that incorporate people who theorize from the bottom up as well as from the top down can produce a wealth of new questions, interpretations, and knowledge that is far more concerned with changing the existing social order than in explaining it. Methodologically, this dialogical way of producing knowledge elevates the significance of intellectual and political coalitions and alliances within interpretive communities above the brilliance of the individual intellectual. Historically and traditionally, the willingness of politicians and bureaucrats to listen, is invariably and predominately given to those whom they believe have credence based on political ideologies, pres- tigious titles, political clout, financial capabilities, and/or positions of real or perceived power over peo- ple or things. Suffice to say, this excludes the ordinary person, marginalized classes and in particular, it eliminates people with disabilities because they are invariably deregulated to a subclass level. One example of this comes from a statement Councilman Brandon Jensen made during the city council meeting on March 25, 2024, when he advocated against and objected to sending the housing priority goals to the Community Involvement Committee. Councilman Jensen stated: Um, me, any member of the public and any member of the council is certainly allowed to attend committee meetings, but they have no voting power. They are only allowed to speak if they are called upon by the chair. Timestamp 2:54:37 to 2:54:45. In this respect, Councilman Jensen points out that meaningful participation in City government, to develop housing priorities, depends on if a prospective speaker is favored enough by the chair, to be called upon to speak and thus, facing the political barriers that prevent participation in City government. These political barriers create political polarization and shun those with an opposing view or po- sition, or who hold a politician or bureaucrat accountable even if the person has the right solution or the right pathway to achieve that solution. 18
  • 22. On the flip side, Councilman Jensen also stated during this same City Council meeting that: I don't have any doubt in the Community Involvement Committee's ability to develop, to do good work and develop a set of objectives, but it's inherently going to be missing the input from at least five council members. Um, all of whom, as I said, have unique perspectives. Um, I know that any priorities that come back to the [council] of the whole. Um, but there's a, there's a very big difference in the power of providing formative input upfront and the power of just review. Timestamp 2:44:26 to 2:44:52. The context of what Councilman Jensen said above is precisely what ordinary citizens has felt at one time or another – being an outsider who is forced to look but not touch – when trying to participate in their government to solve policy issues, obtain needed legislation, or to redress grievances. It is not and never should be about a person's “title”, “power” or “position”, which is what Patricia Hill Collins explained when she wrote about the need to incorporate and listen to those at the top and those at the bottom of the spectrum because every voice matters and ever viewpoint is valuable. More succinctly, it is precisely what the October 2020 citizen survey and the March 2022 report by the Mayor's Initiative on Equity & Equality point out – the need for both City Council and City officials to actually listen to the people rather than speaking in place of the people instead, or only being willing to listen to those having a politically favored “title”, “power” or “position”. Thus, culture conscious is not about pushing the agenda of a politician, bureaucrat, organization or any one person. It is not about requiring “the people” to conform to the will of those having a “title”, “power” or “position”, but recognizing and embracing the diversity people offer and want to give, in the process of solving the issues. THE REST OF THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK 19
  • 23. THIRD PILLAR OF CHANGE (ADVOCACY AND PARTNERSHIPS) The success or failure of advocacy and partnerships depends greatly on the place people see themselves on the Dignity Index below. To this end, the next several pages are transcripts of the testimony given by several, but not all, of the ordinary citizens attending city council meetings in recent months, and then the author's personal testimony. Timothy Shriver National School Board Association Conference (NSBA) New Orleans. April 4, 2024 to April 7, 2024 20
  • 24. I'm a PCA worker for In-Home Solutions for the last three-years, and currently work at Jenny Lynn apartments in Zone Three for the last year. The reason I'm here today is because my job requires me legally, under [RSMo] 192.2405.2(1), to report all abuse and neglect that I witness under [RSMo] 192.2400. I'm also required to report financial exploitation under [RSMo] 570.145. Failure to do so will result in a misdemeanor under [RSMo] 565.018.2(1). I have reported my findings to BDS, adult protective services, corporate management, millennia housing and I've contacted the fire department, contracted my work, and send countless emails to no avail. I am here to do my job. I'm here to report in person to the city. There are problems within the elderly housing community that you're doing nothing about. Who suffers the consequences? What statute is that under? Time and time again do I get the runaround. I have contacted Ms. Paulette and Nicholson's executive assistant at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, questioning what am I to do about this issue. Uh, all offered me to be transferred back down the telephone pole until I was speaking to an automated system. Why does this bother me? Let me ask you a better question. Why does this not bother you? Why is EOA, ADA and affordable safe housing not a problem to you? When this is in your city. Would you feel more concerned if it was your grandmother and your grandpa? Is it not a priority because it's not personal? Would you wanna send your children there to live? What about you? Do you wanna live there? I have to work there. I have to care take for a son, a husband, a father, a deacon of a church, and he has to live there. He has to live there under the promise of a safe, sanitary, and affordable living condition while receiving none of the above. Who gets stuck on the fifth floor elevator for a week, missing appointments, therapies, and freedoms of being outside just like you. There is mold, broken elevators, no central air, bedbugs, roaches, unkept walls and floors. I could go on. I'm here to make sure that you are aware. Ask what you think that I should do as a mandated reporter when reporting to a system that doesn't want to listen? I wanna know who is passing building inspections and continuing to give money to a corporation that isn't following legal statutes? I'm here today to demand our mayor and governing officials to take immediate action and to do their jobs just like I have to. Jordan Hensley, PCA disability worker February 12, 2024 City Council Meeting 21
  • 25. I'm here today to share about my experience with renting in Springfield. My husband and I moved into our current apartment back in 2017 and have lived in the same unit ever since. That's going on seven-years in the same building, which has given me plenty of time to notice a few things. For instance, every year, some time in July and August, whenever the Summer heat is at its peak, our AC will go out and every single year, it takes our landlord at least a week to fix it. The current standing record is one week, five days in 2019. And when they do finely send the one HVAC guy they have for their dozens of properties, he always does a patch job. Last year I asked if there was anything we were doing that was contributing to our AC going out every year, and the HVAC technician informed me that the HVAC systems themselves need to be replaced and have been failing for years. And yet, because my landlord does not want to spend the money to do this, every year we get to go on a nice week long stay at my in-laws, which is very inconvenient for us and our grouchy old cat. My rent is $860 and there are 100 units in my apartment complex alone. Some of my neighbors with children pay over $1,000.00 for a three bedroom. It is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that this landlord collects enough rent to reinvest a portion of rent to maintain basic life safety standards in these apartments while still remaining profitable. They simply choose not to. It is the city's lack of policy on that issue that enables them to continue this highly unethical practice. Last August, when our AC went out like clockwork, our apartment got up to 98 degrees, which is unlivable and dangerous. But luckily, me and my husband are young and healthy and have some place to go to escape the heat. Many of my neighbors in the same building do not. They're either disabled or elderly and cannot leave their homes or they cannot afford to pay for a hotel room to escape the heat. If the apartment of a medically fragile person reaches 98 degrees that can kill them. These are the people I am here for today. The people that cannot easily leave their homes to come to speak to city council and yet are the ones suffering the most and suffering in silence. These are the people that these property management companies love to take advantage of. Our grandparents, our parents, our disabled friends and family people working two or three jobs just to pay rent and put food on the table for their children. This is the harsh reality that so many people living in Springfield face every day and they need our help. And a good first step I would like to see is rental unit licensing. Housing that is being rented out for profit needs to pass basic life safety inspection standards and hefty punishments need to be doled out for not fulfilling the minimum requirements of being a housing provider. Sarah Hines, private citizen February 12, 2024 City Council Meeting 22
  • 26. My name is Michael. I am a leader with Springfield Tenants Unite. I moved to Springfield in 2006 and have been a renter in Springfield Apartments for 18 years. Now I'm here to speak about renters and, but especially those with accessibility issues. Most Springfield rentals fail to provide more than the bare minimum of what is required to stay in compliance with with the ADA []. Currently, even very affordable and necessary accessibility aids such as shower grab bars, which are easily installed, are missing from majority of rentals in Springfield. Easy fixes are these shower grab bars and smooth down entryways on the apartment entryway doors for those who have problems taking a step up. Many people with disabilities can have low-income. Finding homes that are safe, accessible and truly affordable has always been a challenge. Not only is the daily life a struggle when we are forced to live in a built world that did not account for us . . . One will eventually experience a disability and physical limitations, is one in five Missourians will be considered 65 plus. We need to start thinking about what we consider our future housing, want to invest in. Give people dignity and agency to live at home. Prioritizing safe, accessible and truly affordable houses that will also save they city more money in the long run as assisted living facilities cost way more to ultimately. Another issue I and my peers have encountered is retaliation from landlords that don't want to abide by ADA regulations. We are at risk of eviction, homelessness when we attempt to assert our rights. There is not a lot HUD can do. I've tried to reach out to them and all they can do is make sure I am in [the] exact type of apartment that I was first moved into. It can only be with, uh, everything has to be the same. That is the only contingency they have. So with eviction, we would like some legal representation, a right to counsel. Seventeen other cities have done this. We can to, right to counsel is an effective policy that ensures both landlords and renters legal rights that are protected by the court of law. I urge the city council to make safe, affordable housing truly a top priority for other constituents Michael Rodriguez, private citizen with disabilities February 12, 2024 City Council Meeting 23
  • 27. I am speaking to night because I am very concerned about our city's priorities for our last remaining ARPA funds. In a city where one in three households live in or near poverty, we are proposing to put nearly a million dollars into sports facilities and tourism that have received millions already instead of using those precious funds to help our own residents. And that's not right. Cooper Park is my families neighborhood park. I personally don't live nearby, but some of my relatives within walking distance, so that's the park where I played when I was a kid. It's where I go for walks with my family now. And I am so glad the city wants to invest in the park because I want it to be there for decades to come. But this ARPA proposal isn't just about putting a little bit of money into keeping our local park in good shape for local families. This bill is about putting money into the sports complex at the park to attract people from out of town because tourist bring in business and generate tax revenue and much of that tax revenue doesn't come back to help folks like me, my family or my fellow tenants. One of the biggest places tourists spend money is on hotels and motels and short- term rentals and lodging taxes by city law go right back into tourism promotion, sporting events and arts tourism. Additionally, city residents are consistent tax revenue sources too, until we aren't when we become homeless. We must prioritize the people that live in Springfield because this helps our community remain safe, helps workers keep showing up for work. It helps students keep going to school without interruption and keeps us spending and providing tax revenue in Springfield all year round. There are so many things the city of Springfield could do with $900,000. The Springfield Community Land and Trust needs money to abate blighted properties and put them back into use. Ozark Alliance to End Homelessness could use additional funds for their rapid rehousing and eviction diversion programs. OCAC could use funds for rental assistance and stabilization. Allocating our last ARPA funds to any combination of these programs or anything else that helps housing and homelessness would do so much more good for our city than the plan you're proposing tonight. So, I am asking that you table this bill for now and take the time to develop an alternate proposal. Land Trust CPO, OCAC, and STUN all agree that you should wait until after your your housing retreat on April 2nd. Set your housing, set your priorities for housing first, then let those priorities guide what to do . . . Alice Barber, Leader at Springfield Citizens Unite Opposition to City Council Bill 2024-048 March 11, 2024 City Council Meeting 24
  • 28. I'm here tonight because you already know what's going on in my community. My neighbors have come out the last two council meetings to tell you about it. I want you to think about what kind of message you're sending when you know people here in Springfield are living with broken windows, broken appliances, broke elevators, mold and bugs and you want to spend $900,000 on a sports complex. You don't have to send that message. You can table this bill and find a way to use that money that sends a better message about your priorities. I don't know if you can use that money to fix Jenny Lynn, but is there a way to use it that would prevent what's happening to me from happening over and over again? There are plenty of organizations working to end homelessness and keep people in safe, healthy homes who could use this money. It's your responsibility, as council members, to represent the people of this city. Do you really think pouring almost a million dollars into a sports complex is what the people want? Or is that just what's convenient for you? Put the breaks on this decision. Make a new plan to put the money into housing and homelessness prevention and show Springfield residents like me who [you] really care about. Lester Kennedy, citizen with disabilities Opposition to City Council Bill 2024-048 March 11, 2024 City Council meeting 25
  • 29. As we navigate the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 and the pandemic, it is imperative that we prioritize the need of our community members who are most vulnerable. While investing in a sports complex may have its merits for some, spending these funds on addressing the ongoing issue of housing instability and the crisis facing tenants would be far more impactful and compassionate use of resources. The housing crisis is only getting worse and it needs action and immediate attention. I moved to Springfield in 2019. Since then, I've lived with mold, mildew, rotting roofs, walls and abusive landlords. These are serious and life-threatening conditions that are far too common. And I feel pushed to the wayside in our city. I wouldn't be able to live with the roof over my head in Springfield if I hadn't found myself in a community that helps me survive. Wouldn't it be nice to have a city that does the same? There's not a bus stop at Cooper, so who are the renovations going to benefit, people with access to resources, cars, gas, money, able body with time to spare? I'm curious how I'm supposed to believe that the city has good intentions with so much money from COVID relief going to a sports complex that isn't accessible to everyone. Tenants do not want to be intimidating, but its concerning and confusing when city council members don't understand the unhealthy, unsafe, unaffordable living conditions that everyone around me is living with. I'm confused and worried whenever council members are confused. Like these aren't everyday problems. We, the people who live here are the reason why Springfield is so special. We are why Springfield is unique and beautiful. We deserve healthy lifestyles. If you invest in the people of Springfield, you'll make our city a safer and more attractive place to be. You'll prevent more people from becoming homeless. You'll make Springfield the place people want to visit and live. Investing in affordable housing, workers, public transportation and neighborhoods ultimately adds to tourism. And I'll paint a picture for you. A tourist comes to see the historic Fox Theater downtown, but has to step over several homeless people on the way and walk behind a big shopping cart full of survival supplies, will that encourage people to come back here. We are not homeless because we want to be, don't try or can't get a job. Eviction is a leading cause of homelessness. Every homeless person has their own story, and we all have a right to a home. Remember it says in your forward Springfield plan, housing and homeless prevention programs benefit those directly impacted by the housing crisis, but it also contributes to the overall health and resilience of our city. I urge you to reconsider the allocation of funds and prioritize investments that will directly address the housing crisis to support tenants in need. If you wanna invest in the city, all you have to do is invest in the people . . . Corina Jane, Leader at Springfield Citizens Unite Opposition to City Council Bill 2024-048 March 11, 2024 City Council meeting 26
  • 30. In June or July 2018, I suffered a life-threatening medical condition, which required me to have three organs removed from my body and to be bed ridden for six months. I think it was August 2018, that I called city officials. One day my son walked into the bathroom and his foot and ankle went through the floor. I notified my landlord and she accused me and my son of deliberately damaging her property by not drying off in the shower. My landlord refused to do the repairs and instead, she sent me an email demanding that I pay her $25,000.00 to buy her house or she would evict me. Only an idiot extorts someone by email. City officials told me they might evict my son and me immediately from our home. How would you feel if you asked the city for help only to be told the city might evict you and your disabled son, after you just had three organs removed and your landlord is extorting you to avoid fixing the house instead. City officials inspected the house and cited my landlord. It turned out that my landlord's handy- man did not install the toilet right, which caused water damage that rotted the wood under the floor. We avoided being homeless by renting another house from a different landlord. A year later, that landlord abruptly sold the house but we were able to keep renting. However, my new landlord wanted to know if my son and I are gay – two men living in the same house thing – so he sent me a text with sexual innuendo's about his being naked. Only an idiot sends a text message to sexually harass their own tenant. That landlord was then and he continues to serve on the Board of Directors of City Utilities. In 2022, my medical conditions had deteriorated to the point my doctor prescribed me a wheel- chair, and he pointed out that I will need it for the rest of my life. During the time I rented from that new landlord, I made five separate written requests to install a proper and suitable wheelchair ramp at the house I rented. I offered to pay 100% of the total cost and I even offered to hire their own maintenance man who agreed to do the work. My landlord – the person City Council appointed to the Board of Directors of City Utilities – flat out refused to let me install the wheelchair ramp needed. As such, we were constructively evicted from our home and I have suffered, among other things, over $100.000 in damages. Just because people work in government does not mean they are honorable and obey the law. Studies show government officials are a major reason people with disabilities are abused & neglected. Abuse and neglect is a factual and provable form of discrimination. As my fair housing choice report points out, since at least 1996, City Council has known that we have a housing crisis in Springfield. Countless citizens have testified about the issues. The longer you delay the solutions the more you abuse and neglect people with disabilities, as government officials. Christopher Cross, citizen April 22, 2024 City Council meeting 27
  • 31. FOURTH PILLAR OF CHANGE (STRUCTURAL AND SYSTEMIC BARRIERS) Structural barriers can include, but is not limited to, policies, practices, patterns, acts or services that disadvantage one class of people or one individual but not another class or person, with or without having a disability. However, in terms of housing opportunities, structural and systemic barriers often occur because of a protected class status or where there is a close nexus, a casual connection or motivating factor that involves the protected class. As a general rule, protected classes include, but may not necessarily be limited to, race, gender, sex, disability, religion, national origin, age, ancestry, color, and ethnicity. In terms of the Fair Housing Amendments Act, on April 5, 2023, the Eighth Circuit Court of Ap- peals ruled that the Fair Housing Amendments Act does not extend protections in fair housing opportu- nities because of the economic circumstance of a person or class of people. See Klossner v. IADU Ta- ble Mound MHP, LLC, 65 F.4th 349, 352-53 (8th Cir. 2023). The question before the Court was: whether that duty extends to "accommodating" a tenant's lack of income by accepting a government housing voucher that the landlord otherwise would not accept from a low-income tenant. The Eighth Circuit Court held that: [w]e conclude that while the statute requires a landlord to make reasonable accommodations that directly ameliorate the handicap of a tenant, the obligation does not extend to alleviating a tenant's lack of money to pay rent. Id., at 531. I. Impacts On People With Disabilities: People with disabilities are regularly deregulated in housing opportunities that force them into di- lapidated housing that often includes bedbugs, cockroaches, mice, mold, mildew, and assorted housing defects that need repairs. Despite the tone deaf ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court, income source plays a very important role and has an extremely significant impact on fair housing choices that people with disabilities have, in finding safe, sanitary and suitable housing opportunities. Landlords invariably look for and create new ways to chip away at fair housing opportunities. For example, requiring prospective tenants to have a monthly income three times the amount of rent. Some Landlords create leases that treat tenants as pseudo home buyers For example: ➢ Requiring tenants to absorb the costs of house repairs; ➢ Requiring tenants to provide plumbing repairs; ➢ Requiring tenants to absorb Landlord liabilities by renters insurance; ➢ Requiring tenants to provide “tree services”; and ➢ Requiring tenants to pay property taxes by increased rents. Landlords create leases to strongly favor corporate interests, ensure financial profits, and strip tenants and prospective tenants of bargaining rights. 28
  • 32. The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report points out that: The ACCRA (American Chamber Of Commerce Researchers Association) Cost of Living Survey (prepared by The Council for Community and Economic Research) compares the costs for goods and services in communities (known as the Cost of Living or COL) the same costs and services in other communities and the U.S. as a whole. Springfield’s overall composite score in 2005 was 89.4%. This means the COL in Springfield was 89.4% of the nation’s as a whole in 2005. In other words, the overall COL in Springfield is cheaper than the nation. Springfield's score increased to 90% in 2013 meaning the composite score for Springfield got closer to the nation’s, an average of 10% less. The cost for housing, compared to the country as a whole, decreased from 81.2% in 2005 to 78.3% indicating it’s less expensive to afford, live in and maintain housing relative to the nation’s costs for housing and that cost declined compared to the nation’s. Factors included in determining cost of living were: Springfield – 2005 (percent of USA average) Springfield – 2013 (percent of USA average) Composite Score 89.4.% 90.0.% Grocery 101.1.% 97.4.% Housing 81.2.% 78.3.% Utilities 72.0.% 92.7.% Transportation 97.9.% 96.2.% Health Care 93.3.% 96.1.% Miscellaneous 95.4.% 92.5.% Source: Council for Community and Economic Research The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) asserted that for 2023, Mis- souri was the sixth lowest state in the nation in overall cost of living. In comparison to states surround- ing Missouri, the MERIC asserts that for 2023, the cost of living was: Missouri Illinois Iowa Kansas Oklahoma Arkansas Composite Score 88.5 % 92.1 % 90.3 % 87.1 % 86.2 % 89.0 % Grocery 95.3 % 98.0 % 96.6 % 97.20% 94.4 % 95.3 % Housing 77.0 % 79.8 % 74.1 % 67.4 % 68.5 % 74.6 % Utilities 98.6 % 88.6 % 95.5 % 106.6 % 98.2 % 91.6 % Transportation 90.9 % 103.0 % 98.6 % 90.1 % 92.6 % 89.6 % Health Care 89.9 % 95.0 % 99.4 % 96.9 % 92.6 % 87.5 % Miscellaneous 91.5 % 96.8 % 95.9 % 91.8 % 91.3 % 97.7 % 29
  • 33. For municipal comparisons, the MERIC asserts the cost of living for 2023 was: Springfield Joplin Columbia St. Louis KCMO–KS Composite Score 84.8 % 84.1 % 90.9 % 88.9 % 93.7 % Grocery 94.1 % 92.7 % 96.4 % 96.9 % 96.5 % Housing 72.3 % 60.2 % 83.3 % 75.8 % 93.3 % Utilities 80.3 % 108.9 % 93.0 % 101.7 % 109.0 % Transportation 89.8 % 92.5 % 89.6 % 93.5 % 88.9 % Health Care 94.9 % 88.5 % 92.9 % 88.7 % 84.4 % Miscellaneous 89.4 % 90.7 % 94.5 % 91.5 % 91.5 % Additional impediments that affect the financial abilities of people with disabilities include, but are not limited to: ➢ Costs of repairs to medical equipment that is not covered by a health insurance plan; ➢ Costs to obtain medical equipment that is not paid for by a health insurance plan; ➢ Costs associated with medically required dietary needs; ➢ Costs of medications that is not covered by a health insurance plan; ➢ Costs associated with caregiver services that is not paid for by a health insurance plan; and ➢ Costs associated with housing modifications that the person has to pay for out-of-pocket. These financial costs weigh heavily against cost of living factors and quality of life; they impose substantial adverse impacts on fair housing choices and they impact a person's debt-to-income ratio. Polices, practices, services or programs that do not factor in the totality of associated costs, cre- ate further structural and systemic impediments in fair housing choice opportunities. II. Home Ownership: During the Tuesday's with Council meeting, six City Council members voiced support in renters becoming home owners. Only one council member, Monica Horton, discussed the reality of the majority of renters being unable to purchase homes because of financial disadvantages by income resources. While the City of Springfield has a first time home buyer program from federal funding received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are limits imposed. For ex- ample, but not limited to: ➢ The program only pays for “some of” the down payment and closing costs; ➢ The program caps the total purchase price of the house at no more than $150,000; ➢ The program can forcibly reduce the total purchase cap price allowed to buy a house; ➢ The program restricts buyers to living in a specific geographic location; ➢ The program imposes some of the same restrictions used in Section 8 housing vouchers; and ➢ The program has less advantages than receiving an FHA loan from HUD. 30
  • 34. While members of City Council advocate for home ownership because of the financial gains the City receives from property taxes and other related costs such as required permits for repairs, what City Council members do not think about is the sustainability of low-income home buyers to keep the house because of the relevant costs, inflation and shrinkflation and the ever increasing property tax amounts. Thus, without low-income individuals seeing a meaningful and sustainable increase in their own financial resources, whether from public benefits or hourly wages, in reality, City Council members need to focus on solutions to the fair housing choice crisis that actually address the rudimentary issues first. III. Discrimination Complaints: According to the Springfield Mayors Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations, the number of discrimination complaints filed from 2004 to 2012 totaled 43, as broken down below: Categories 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Disability alone X X X X 2 6 8 Familial Status alone 1 X X X X 1 2 Familial Status & Disability X X X X 1 Gender/Sex X X X X 2 1 3 Color/National Origin 1 X X X X 1 Race by itself 3 X X X X 3 5 Race by association with another 1 3 X X X X 1 Religion X X X X 1 Source: Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations & Springfield Department of Planning & Development X = No data available On January 6, 1997, the City Council of Springfield enacted City Council Bill No. 96-411 to cre- ate Special Ordinance No. 23087, which holds in relevant part: WHEREAS, in order to remain eligible for federal CDBG and HOME Program funding under the Community Development Act, the City must affirmatively further fair housing by conducting an analysis to identify impediments to fair housing choice within the City, and take appropriate actions to overcome impediments[]. The Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 amended the United States Housing Act of 1937, to, among other things, include low-income housing opportunities through government funding, for people to qualify for and receive and thus, to have equal housing opportunities. The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice report that Council Bill No. 96-411 (1996) refers to, is a federally mandated report required for the City of Springfield to receive federal funding for public housing programs, services or activities in Springfield. The September 2013 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice', report points out that: The Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations (MCHRCR) has served the Springfield community since 1964 as the agency charged with tracking and facilitating reports of alleged discrimination including housing discrimination. 31
  • 35. However, as reported by the Springfield Department of Planning and Development, in the above chart of complaints filed from 2004 to 2012, the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights & Community Relations (MCHRCR), did not provide data from 2004 to 2009 even though § 2-223(3) of the Springfield City Codes mandates data be filed with the City Council. Moreover, on March 25, 2024, the author of this housing report filed a public records request to receive a copy of the required 2023 MCHRCR report pursuant to city ordinance § 2-223(3), in order for the author to include the information in this housing report. However, on March 29, 2024, the Custodian of Records for the City of Springfield informed this author that the requested report is not available – does not exist – to provide to this author. On November 27, 2023 the Commissioner's of the MCHRCR publicly admitted knowing their an- nual report is required to be filed with City Council and was approaching its due date. Despite this, the November 27, 2023 MCHRCR public meeting minutes do not show any vote was taken to approve any final report to file with City Council, as § 2-223(3) of the Springfield City Code mandates. On December 20, 2023, the MCHRCR conducted its public meeting. There is no mention in the public meeting minutes of the Commissioners even discussing let alone voting on the mandated report to file with the City Council. The Springfield Department of Planning and Development cites, incorporates and relies on the mandated MCHRCR report, for the Department of Planning and Development to draft and file the feder- ally mandated 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice', report. Failure or refusal of the MCHRCR Commissioner's to file their report can impede or prevent federal funding for housing. When MCHRCR Commissioners either fail or refuse to abide by, carry out and fulfill their man- dated duties, it creates structural and systematic barriers that impede or prevent City Council members having the most recent and accurate data to make policy and legislative decisions. As such, this fair housing choice report is limited by the failure or refusal of the MCHRCR to file its annual report with City Council so it is made available to the general public as Missouri's open record laws require. According to the January 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice', report from the City of Springfield, the State of Missouri reports the following, in discrimination complaints filed: Categories 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Race 4 4 4 2 2 Disability 3 2 12 6 4 National Origin 1 0 1 0 0 Familial Status 0 0 3 0 0 Sex 1 0 2 2 2 Rent/Housing 2 3 17 7 7 Accommodations 3 1 0 3 2 Facility 6 3 2 1 0 Zoning 1 0 0 0 0 Source: Missouri Commission on Human Rights 32
  • 36. Individuals are permitted to file a housing and discrimination complaint with the state, the federal government or both, who receive, hear, investigate and resolve complaints. According to the City of Springfield 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' 2020 report the MCHRCR typically refers housing complaints to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the national number of complaints of discrimination that were filed for FY 2022 were: Categories FY 2022 Disability 5, 069 Race 2, 457 Sex 1, 107 Retaliation* 1, 065 National Origin 765 Familial Status 741 Color 354 Religion 183 * Retaliation is not itself a protected class but does constitute grounds to file a complaint. Source: HUD Enforcement Management System (HEMS) with data being current, as of November 29, 2022 Additionally, the City's 2020 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report, points out: The number of inquiries to the MCHRCR averaged 6 per year and the number of claims made to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MO COHR) averaged 11 per year. Forty-seven percent were canceled, withdrawn or determined to have No Cause. The remaining 53% were successfully resolved. Race (31%) and disability (53%) were the largest type of claims filed. Seventy-one percent of all cases were related to housing or rental situations; the disability cases were divided between Accommodations and Facilities; a large percentage of each type were resolved successfully. Using this data as an input to identify impediments as well as citizen comments from the CONPLAN helps understand the Springfield issues. The overall available data shows that, on average, people with disabilities file more complaints than other marginalized classes, on discrimination issues. Whether the data represents a factual target- ing of this class, or an erroneous perception about individual situations or circumstances, or the need to create special educational opportunities about disabilities, those with disabilities and those involved with this class, need specific recognition and opportunities, to ensure discrimination does not occur. Unlike other marginalized classes, disabilities is a more complex subject by the very fact there is a broad spectrum of types and degrees of disabilities and different kinds and types of accommodations that may be or are needed to ensure fair housing choices exist on an even and equal playing field. However, while the status quo methodology is to pull from the “professional” community to have training and educational classes conducted, and however much that is beneficial, the real lessons come from the people who live with disabilities and experience life in ways that a non-disabled professional will not and cannot possibly understand even if he or she has a family member with disabilities. 33
  • 37. FIFTH PILLAR OF CHANGE (PERSONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY) Commonly, when media outlets, and state and municipal government entities tackle discrimina- tion, conversations tend to focus predominately on politically popular classes that have the perception of being more newsworthy; have more favorable political focus; garner a higher attention among public and private sectors; present a greater degree of volatility for media ratings and political agendas; bring in higher monetary gains and/or increase membership in a political base. Thus, the common focus cen- ters on race, sex, gender, religion, and national origin. As a result, the disability class is invariably and frequently excluded from conversations address- ing discrimination issues. And yet, disability-based discrimination is a real severe and pervasive issue. The City of Springfield's 2020 report on the 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice, points out that: Discrimination related to disabilities may occur in less obvious forms than other types of discrimination. In the case of physical disabilities, lack of access such as ramps and accommodations such as doorways of sufficient width or countertops of functional height are often a problem in affordable housing. Current federal law requires that landlords make reasonable accommodation for the disabled; however, the tenant may hesitate to complain, be unaware of their rights, or simply not have the time to wait for the accommodations to be made. New Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) multi-family developments must have units either partially or totally accessible depending on the number of units within the development due to recent policy change by the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC). New buildings and facilities are required to be designed and constructed to be accessible in accordance with the City’s codes. The reality, however, is that most affordable housing units that are in older developments may not be feasible to renovate. People without disabilities who are in other marginalized classes do not encounter the type and degree of discrimination people with disabilities face, which affects essential life needs such as cooking food, getting in and out of a doorway, being able to bathe or shower, maneuver around housing designs and so on. This is not to say people in other marginalized classes do not face serious issues because of their protected class status. But it is to say that people with disabilities face very unique barriers and at- titudes in housing that literally affects their ability to have and maintain health, safety, welfare and life. In the political arena, nonprofit and corporate worlds, and advocacy efforts, the focus is and has to be about increasing base numbers and drawing in money. These two components will determine the type, degree, and strength of power that exist, to successfully push a specific goal, platform or ideology into reality. The downfall in this scheme, is that it pits otherwise would be allies against each other in spite of there being a common interest to successfully achieve the same goal, platform or ideology, as each has another common interest – survival of the individual corporation, nonprofit, politician, and advocate. While the author of this report dissents against the second prong of this pillar, which requires us to “honor[] individuals and organizations that demonstrate accountability for fostering an inclusive com- munity”, if the goal of this pillar is to “[i]nspir[e], model[], and promot[e] diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence,” then it means holding ourselves and each other to account for conduct that fails or refuses to achieve the desired results. 34
  • 38. Timothy Shriver National School Board Association Conference (NSBA) New Orleans. April 4, 2024 to April 7, 2024 35
  • 39. I. Americans with Disabilities Act: Springfield is no stranger to the legal ramifications and irreparable harms that are imposed when City officials fail or refuse to comply with disability laws. such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2001, the City of Springfield entered into a binding consent decree in United States vs City of Springfield, Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-43-125 (https://archive.ada.gov/sprfldmo.htm) for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. On December 8, 2023 – twenty two years later – the Springfield Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Taj Sulyeman, stated Springfield does not meet even minimal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He then reaffirmed his statement on December 20, 2023. City Utilities operates under Chapter 110 of the City Charter. The city council appoints all board members of City Utilities. Despite the jurisdictional authority the City has, email evidence shows that it took City officials and City Utilities executive staff from July 5, 2022 to February 14, 2024, to even begin working on making just one bus stop compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For over one and a half years, City officials and City Utility executive staff knowingly, intention- ally and willfully acted with gross negligence or reckless disregard for the physical safety and the civil rights of people in wheelchairs, by failing or refusing to bring just one bus stop into compliance with mandates of the American with Disabilities Act, and to ensure the area has sidewalks. On December 27, 2023, Taj Sulyeman explained that the rationalization for taking over one and a half years to make the bus stop compliant with federal law, is that city officials negotiate with violator's of the law for their voluntary compliance with the law, in lieu of City officials enforcing the law, and peo- ple with disabilities are required to wait for violator's to decided to obey the law instead. The rationalization given presupposes people with disabilities are required to politely and diplo- matically beg for their rights by submissively asking perpetrators, “please sir, don't abuse me.” The negotiations with City Utilities officials suddenly and abruptly ended on February 14, 2024, when and because the author of this report sent City officials and City Utility executive staff an email that a media outlet would follow this author around Springfield to discuss the structural and systemic barriers that people in wheelchairs face in accessing City and private sector services. When contemplating what structural and systemic barriers need to be examined, addressed and resolved in order to fully achieve the Five Pillars of Change, Councilman Abe McGull pointed out during the June 5, 2023 City Council meeting that while the role of government should be limited, it is the duty of government to ensure the health, safety and welfare of citizens (timestamp 1:23:23 to 1:23:36). Neither the aforesaid duty of government nor the Five Pillars of Change can be or ever truly will be carried out and fulfilled when those in government believe that a violator of the law has more rights than the victims they create. Moreover, by the structural and systemic barriers that those in government impose on protected classes, to require people with disabilities to beg, “please sir, don't abuse me.” II. Fair Housing Amendments Act: The Fair Housing Act of 1974 was amended on September 13, 1988 and was signed into federal law on March 13, 1989, making it the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. The purpose of amending the Act of 1974, was to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. “to include within the definition of discriminatory housing practice new prohibitions against coercion, in- timidation, threats, or interference because of a handicap.” H.R.1158 — 100th Congress (1987-1988). 36
  • 40. Although the Fair Housing Amendments Act uses the term, “handicap,” the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 631 (1998), the definition of “disability” in the Ameri- cans with Disabilities Act is drawn almost verbatim “from the definition of 'handicap' in the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988”, that “handicap” and “disabilities” are the same in meaning and application. While the Americans with Disabilities Act is said to be the gold star of protections for people with disabilities, and the Americans with Disabilities does provide limited protections in certain situations and circumstances in housing, the Fair Housing Amendments Act is what guarantees fair housing choices. Unfortunately, the City Council of Springfield is only just now starting to talk about whether hous- ing priorities should be a standalone priority. The Fair Housing Amendments Act is a major and key federal law that should be incorporated in the Five Pillars of Change and extended to every Springfield citizen for fair housing choices. In 2018, the City of Springfield developed its Citizen Participation Plan, which provides required processes used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in order for the City to ap- ply for and receive federal funding. On August 7, 2023, City Council heard Council bill 2023-187, to enact Special Ordinance 27891, which, among other things, discusses the requirement of the City to provide its annual 'Analysis of Im- pediments to Fair Housing Choice' report. See https://cityview.springfieldmo.gov/city-council-meeting-august-7-2023/ at timestamp 29:38 to 39:50. During the August 7, 2023 public hearing, it was stated that the federal requirement for the City to file the 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report did not start until 2015. However, City Council Bill 96-411 identified this exact report, in 1996, as being a federally required report. The 'Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice' report is required to incorporate the report filed by the MCHRCR with the City Council pursuant to § 2-223(3) of the City Codes. The MCHRCR did not file its 2023 report with City Council. During the August 7, 2023 public hearing, it was pointed out the Community Advisory Commit- tee on Community Development had a history of canceling public meetings sufficient enough to cause the Springfield Department of Planning and Development to seek City Council approval, to conduct the meetings instead when the advisory committee is unable to do so. In spite of the numerous reports generated, the statistical data complied and all the work that is done each year by citizen participants and City staff, it is disconcerting that City Council members are only just now starting to talk about whether housing priorities should be a standalone priority, when the issues have been known to exist since at least 1996. As plainly evident by the numerous citizen testimony given to the City Council, it is clear that the fair housing crisis continues to get worse in Springfield. And while City Council members want to focus on home ownership, citizens are focusing on having a safe, sanitary and affordable place to live, that is free from discrimination and harassment by Landlords. The disconnect here, does very real damage. III. Use of the P.A.I.L.S Methodology: As Crenshaw (1991) points out, “a person's interactions with the world are not just solely based on one aspect of their identity, but are rather layered and multifaceted; interactions”. Therefore, when contemplating the application of the Five Pillars of Change and eliminating the structual and systematic barriers, it is important to develop collaboration among stakeholders based on a holistic approach. 37