• Dear Landlords and Property Managers in Kalamazoo,

    Thank you for reading this letter.

    Thank you very much if you are one of the many landlords and property managers who accept sources of income such as housing vouchers, and who partner with Housing Resources Inc. or another agency to make safe, respectable housing possible for people in our community. We are deeply grateful to you for understanding that the cost of housing has increased much faster than the minimum wage. And for understanding that full-time jobs with a livable wage are much less available than they used to be. And for understanding that, with the kinds of support that Housing Resources Inc. and other agencies offer, many people with low incomes are very successful tenants for you.

    Thank you very, very much if you are one of the landlords and property managers who give people with past evictions a chance to explain the circumstances of their evictions before you decide whether you will give them a chance to have safe, respectable housing. Thank you, if you already understand that a frequent cause of eviction is domestic violence, which puts victims in very difficult circumstances financially if they dare to leave their abuser. Thank you, if you already understand that people do grow and mature and can show you the ways they have been responsible since the eviction in their past.

    Thank you most of all if you are one of the landlords and property managers who give people with criminal records a chance to explain the circumstances of their histories. Thank you for not assuming that all criminal records are alike. Thank you for listening to find out how long ago that record was, and how that individual has proven they can be a responsible, trustworthy person if given a chance. Thank you for understanding that young people who are black and brown are much more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted than young people who are white who commit the same offense. We are deeply grateful to you for giving people a fair chance, and for treating them with dignity and respect.

    If you have concerns about giving people a fair chance, please listen to your peers who already accept sources of income such as housing vouchers, and to your peers who already give people with past evictions or convictions a chance to show they are responsible.

    We believe that you care about being fair. We are grateful for your partnership.

    Signed by White Allies in our Community,