With six new members on the Housing Task Force since the Issues Convention, we have become an even more impressive gathering of expertise—with leadership positions at Open Doors, CARES, The Ark, Kalamazoo County Public Housing Commission, the Center for Transformation, and the City Commission, as well as partners who come when needed from Housing Resources Inc, the City’s Community Development Department, the Kalamazoo Township Board of Trustees, and TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing and Reconciliation)!
Our Focus For Our Next Few Meetings:
- Meeting with Rev. Rachel Lonberg from People’s Church and the board of the Foundation for Excellence, who wants to hear our ideas for how the city can best use the Foundation for Excellence resources to create a thriving, equitable community.
- Speaking in support of the new Housing Equity Ordinance when the wording is finalized and the City Commission schedules the two public hearings needed for ordinances.
- Sharing the finalized Housing Equity Ordinance with colleagues on the Kalamazoo Township Board of Trustees, the Portage City Council and the Oshtemo Board of Trustees, who are interested in housing equity for their own municipalities.
- Considering advocacy at the State level for the bill that’s been introduced to make “Source of Income” discrimination illegal in Michigan (as our Housing Equity ordinance will in Kalamazoo, along with other forms of discrimination.).
- Learning about “Homesharing” success in other cities, where older homeowners rent to carefully matched unrelated people who need affordable housing. “It doesn’t seem right to live by yourself in a big house when people are needing space to live,” says Shirley, age 95, and “You’ll be helping two people live better lives,” says Cynthia, age 61, in this video:
We meet on the first Monday evening of the month, but we are considering changing our meeting day so it doesn’t overlap with Kalamazoo City Commission meetings. Email us for the schedule if you want to join our housing work: [email protected]
– Tobi Hanna-Davies, co-chair with Stephanie Hoffman, Executive Director of Open Doors