Priced Out: Increasing access to affordable housing in JoCo is a health issue. But the politics of doing so are tough

Veronica Stogsdill and her husband, David, have a “master bedroom” in the unfinished basement of her parents’ modest-ranch style home in Roeland Park. The couple and their children were forced to move when David lost his job. Photo by Jeff Tuttle/The Journal

A growing number of workers can’t find affordable housing in the state’s wealthiest county. With cheaper housing disappearing, pricier options proliferating and rents rising, Johnson County residents working modest-paying jobs in offices, public safety and even public schools, among others, face the prospect of increasingly missing out on the suburban good life there. But while nonprofit activism is increasing awareness of the problem, there’s little clarity about how city government — and local candidates vying for your vote this fall — might contribute to addressing it. This week, we’re running Priced Out, a series on housing affordability issues in Johnson County and beyond reported by The Journal, a publication of the Kansas Leadership Center.

Residents in Johnson County often protest even luxury apartments encroaching on their single-family homes. How would they feel about homes or apartments dubbed “affordable or workforce housing,” which the Urban Land Institute defines as housing that is affordable to households earning 60% to 120% of an area’s median income.