Mayoral candidates set to discuss housing issues at Oct. 11 forum

By Sarah Beauchamp | Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Issues related to affordable housing will take center stage in a mayoral forum co-organized by the Wichita Journalism Collaborative and Wichita Habitat for Humanity.

The Wichita Public Library will host the forum at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Advanced Learning Library, 711 West Second St N. 

Community members are invited to join in person for the forum. KSN-TV will livestream the event for those unable to attend in person. Both Mayor Brandon Whipple, and challenger Lily Wu will participate.

Why conduct a forum specifically about housing?

Habitat for Humanity’s advocacy committee thought it would be a way to connect with the mayoral candidates, while involving those affected by the policies the mayor will enact. It partnered with the collaborative as a way to involve more community members.

Danielle Johnson of Habitat for Humanity says she hopes this forum will help the community get more engaged in affordable housing. 

“We definitely want our homeowners … and potential homeowners or incoming homeowners to understand the importance of being civically engaged, and listening to what is happening in the housing landscape.” Johnson said. “It won’t just be our homeowners, that’s why we wanted to partner with the collaborative, but get other community members engaged in the larger conversation on what is affordable housing.”

Johnson hopes the forum’s specific topic will allow for meaningful conversation between the community and the candidates.

“We’re hoping to hear our mayoral candidates have strong stances on what they would like to do, what they would like to see done,” Johnson said.

If you have a question that you would like to see the candidates answer, you submit it here:

The Wichita Journalism Collaborative is a coalition of newsrooms and community partners joining forces to help meet news and information needs in and around Wichita. The collaborative is funded by a grant from the News and Information Fund at the Wichita Foundation.

The shared interest in affordable housing inspired the collaborative to partner with Habitat for Humanity in hosting this event. The collaborative is focused on housing issues in Wichita, because of the many barriers to home ownership Wichitans are currently facing. 

Housing prices have drastically increased in recent years, and the homeless population in Wichita is higher than it’s been in over a decade. The collaborative wants to keep the community informed on these issues, and encourages the community to engage with the problems they’re seeing.

In addition to the mayoral race, the general election also features three races for seats on the Wichita City Council in districts two, four and five. The Wichita USD 259 Board of Education has positions for one at-large seat, and districts three and four each have a seat.

You can find information about your registration status and polling location at:

Neal Allen, the head of the political science department at Wichita State University, explained a potential reason for the large number of events. He said normally the incumbent candidate will avoid debates to prevent name recognition of their opponents. With this race due to her career in journalism, and significant funding, Wu has that name recognition already.

The housing forum is just one of several that outlets, and community organizations are conducting in the lead up to the general election on Nov. 7. 

Other chances to see candidates side-by-side include:

  • The 6 p.m. Sept. 25 debate organized by KMUW, The Wichita Eagle, The Community Voice and the Wichita Journalism Collaborative. Both KMUW and the Eagle will livestream the event. Roxy’s is hosting the event. It is located at 412, 2 E Douglas Ave.
  • A noon Oct. 16 event at Botanica, 701 Amidon St., being offered by the Rotary Club of Wichita.On Oct. 16 the Rotary Club of Wichita is hosting an event at Botanica located  at 701 Amidon St. The event starts at noon.
  • A noon Oct. 18 mayoral debate co-sponsored by The Wichita Beacon, the Wichita State University Student Engagement office, the League of Women Voters and Loud Light. The forum is at Wichita State University at the CAC Theater located at 1845 Fairmount St.
  • A 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 event hosted by KWCH at its studios, 2815 E. 37th Street North starting.
  • A 6 p.m. Oct. 25 school board forum co-sponsored by The Wichita Beacon with the WSU Student Engagement office, the League of Women Voters and Loud Light. The forum is at Hubbard Hall room 211 on the Wichita State University campus, 1845 Fairmount St.

This page will be updated if additional events are scheduled. Additional debates and forums can be submitted to this page by contacting the collaborative at:

Sarah Beauchamp is a reporting intern for the Wichita Journalism Collaborative during the Fall 2023 semester.