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Shawnee, Kansas City Council Prefers Homelessness over Being Roommates: Co-Living Restrictions

The City Council for Shawnee, Johnson County, Kansas just banned co-living to prevent roommate practice which has gained popularity in recent years because home prices have increased significantly in that area.

Home prices all around America have been increasing. In 2021, the prices of homes increased nearly 19% according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Schiller home price index. Goldman Sachs forecasted that home prices would rise 16% through October 2022. Fannie Mac also thinks home prices will increase over 11.2% through 2022 with a more modest increase in 2023.

The median listing price for homes in February of 2022 was $392, 000. Home prices in the state of Kansa have increased over 13.4% in the past year. In 2020 a median home value in Kansas was $150,657. The median home value for Kansas is now around $201,311.

According to one study, the top earners in Kansas have salaries around $57,820, the 75th percentile of earners make around $44,869 in salaries, the average earner makes around $36,311 and the bottom 25th percentile earns around $26,828 in salary each year.

Inflation is slashing worker’s pay checks by almost 5% and counting. Currently, inflation sits at around 8.5% and rising, but wages only increased around 4.7%, which means people’s wages are actually cut by 4%. Although you might be making more money, your money can’t buy you more goods and services because your wages are not increasing faster than inflation is rising.

To offset this decrease in buying power, humans begin doing what humans do—survive. Humans survive by joining resources with others to make wages go further. One survival technique is to become roommates to make the cost of shelter affordable. This makes sense to me. I am trying to figure out how 8 council people don’t see that as beneficial to their community.

If people can’t afford shelter, but also can’t live with others because they are unrelated, then you are forcing those people into homelessness.

The Johnson county city council in April voted “unanimously” to ban living arrangements aimed at allowing tenants to decrease rent by having roommates.

This city council voted 8-0 to ban co-living. Shawnee has become one of the first Kansas City area municipalities that are preventing the co-living practice.

Under the new ordinance, co-living as a group is defined as at least four adults who are not related living together in a dwelling unit. Additionally, the ordinance provided that if any one adult living in the dwelling is unrelated to another adult living in that same dwelling, the entire group is classified as unrelated and is in violation of the ordinance.

For young professionals, co-living has become increasingly popular as a way to offset high rental costs.

The eight council people voted to ban co-living despite presentations from various organization showing that the average housing prices in Johnson County rose 37% from 2017 to 2021, climbing from $324,393 to $443,700. The eight council people were presented with studies that showed that wages in Johnson County had not risen at the same rate.

Despite this mounting evidence of the necessity of co-living for basic necessity for affordable shelter, the council people voted to ban co-living anyway.

Isn’t this a violation of these people rights under the federal Constitution? Don’t humans have a right to property? And with this right, shouldn’t they be able to share this property with others. If the landlord renting the space is ok with the tenancy, why should the city council get involved? This is a private contract matter not a government matter. This ordinance is unnecessary and is a violation of the right to contract.

Is there some evil plot brewing that the people of Shawnee are unaware? Have these 8 council people made a deal with some real estate developer to create more affordable homes that hasn’t been disclosed? Why would these 8 council people vote into law an ordinance that increases the possibility of homelessness?

What is the gain to the community by making criminal, activity you know a great number of people in your community is already engaging in for survival? Do you not want them to survive? Do you want to create more criminals? What is the gain for the 8 council people by doing this? Is this a vote for the benefit of the community?

I thought politicians are supposed to be for the people. This ordinance is not for the people.

All it takes is for you to lose your job, get a pay cut or get sick and need to live with friends to survive. Sometimes friends are closer than blood relatives. Sometimes people you meet online become closer than any family member. This ordinance would make it illegal for you to share rent with more than 3 adult people you are not related to.

How dark does your heart have to be to vote for a law like this? How self-centered are these council members to have voted for this ordinance that will increase homelessness or criminality or both?

Do these council members really have a heart for the people?

Shawnee council members serve four-year terms. This ordinance need to be on the minds of the people of Shawnee at the next election cycle when they cast their vote.


La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, futurist, certified brain health specialist, speaker, and lead creator of I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. If you want to check out more of my writings that may not be released on this site, go over to my website at



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