Voters weigh in on Wichita affordable housing mayoral forum

by: Zena Taher

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – With the general election less than a month away, Wichita’s mayoral candidates participated in a forum covering the topic of affordable housing on Wednesday night.

Incumbent Brandon Whipple and challenger Lily Wu talked about how they would tackle the issue of affordable housing if elected.

Many people attending the event came in with an idea of who they wanted to vote for and walked away feeling reaffirmed about their choice.

Personal experiences with housing and homelessness were a big draw for the crowd at the mayoral forum.

“I come from looking for affordable housing,” said Holly Danley. “I have lived experience with that.”

Danley’s been turned down while looking for housing, according to her.

“Not having enough income or cash upfront for what I need, and plus, then you have to pay application fees,” Danley said.

She supports Brandon Whipple and said she would like to see the city take on more of a role in providing shelter and affordable housing.

On the other side, Lily Wu supporter John Sauer said his experience with the affordable housing shortage comes from his work as a parole officer.

“We definitely need more options for our clients that are dealing with homelessness,” Sauer said.

Sauer’s concerns were centered on getting people off the streets and keeping them from disturbing businesses.

“Our homeless population choosing to just be outside on streets by businesses is not good for the community,” said Sauer. “But they also need somewhere where they can be safe and comfortable.”

One thing both sides agree on: Affordable housing is an issue in Wichita and one that should be a priority for the city’s mayor.

You can watch the full forum here.

Zena joined KSN in June of 2023 as a multimedia journalist. She grew up in Los Angeles. In college, Zena worked as a reporter then after-hours news director for KHTS Radio, covering breaking news like wildfires and car crashes on scene. She also wrote about local issues. Zena was also a producer at KCRW, an NPR affiliate station in L.A. She took the lead in putting together the Morning Edition and All Things Considered newscasts. Although her interests were initially more radio-focused, Zena discovered a love for visual storytelling while working on campus newscasts in college. In her spare time, she likes reading, long-boarding and hiking. You can find Zena on Twitter and Instagram. Got story ideas? You can send them over to