News

Community Focus Groups on Fair Housing

We are Building the Beloved Community

Kalamazoo is one of only three locations nationwide to receive the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Implementation and Innovation Fund grant to strengthen partnerships and develop a racial equity lens for fair housing.

ISAAC’s Housing Task Force, led by Co-Chairs Tobi Hanna-Davies and Stephanie Hoffman, is doing awesome work while determining what their “ask” will be for a housing policy change from elected officials at our October 25th Public Meeting.

In August and September, ISAAC’s new Engagement Team, under the direction of our Executive Director and the City of Kalamazoo, will facilitate community housing equity listening sessions in the form of focus groups.

ISAAC is currently looking, within our Congregations, for People of Color and Jewish individuals who would like to participate in these focus groups to lift their voices as Kalamazoo community members. In a safe space we will talk about lived experiences around housing discrimination and obstacles while using a racial equity lens.  If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please email: isaackalamazoo@gmail.com or call our office at: 269-341-4213

Dorla Bonner, Community Investment Manager for the City, and Dr. Charlae Davis, ISAAC Executive Director, encourage people to participate when they learn there is an opportunity to speak out on housing concerns. “Your voice matters and there’s power behind it,” Davis says.

There are those who might have gotten discouraged by conversations with the City in the past that led nowhere because of the city’s budget woes. But Bonner says the generosity of those who have donated to the Foundation For Excellence has made it possible for the city to undertake initiatives it could not afford in the past. “The goal is to actually support and possibly fund initiatives, not to just have conversations,” Bonner says.

We at ISAAC are striving to Build The Beloved Community. The Beloved Community is an integrated, democratic reality that, while not devoid of conflict, is free of violence. It is a place in which our deepest values of abundance, equity, community, hope, and most of all love are infused into our policies and practices so that every person is held as beloved.

GARE Partners include Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the City of Kalamazoo, KZCF (Kalamazoo Community Foundation), Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, ISAAC (Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community), and ERACCE (Eliminating Racism And Claiming/Celebrating Equity). The results of this work will also be incorporated into the City of Kalamazoo’s required Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Consolidated Plan for 2019-2024.

You can learn more at:

http://www.secondwavemedia.com/southwest-michigan/features/Fair-housing-work-becomes-catalyst-for-greater-cooperation-0405.aspx

https://www.kalfound.org/About/WhatsNew/ViewArticle/tabid/190/ArticleId/226/Kalamazoo-Receives-National-Innovation-Grant-for-Equity-in-Housing.aspx

– Elder Doug King, President, and Dr. Charlae Davis, Executive Director