The homeless population has long been an "issue" discussed in, not just Kalamazoo, but cities all across the country. Unfortunately, in my personal experience, when people talk about the homeless issue they often times seem to forget that these are people who need help, not just a problem to be tossed aside to be dealt with at a later time. But, Kalamazoo is taking steps to help he homeless population with potential affordable housing.

According to WWMT News Channel 3, the Knights Inn Motel on Westnedge Avenue has been purchased by the LIFT foundation to be transformed into affordable housing with a focus on helping the homeless population. Two loans were approved this past Tuesday by the Kalamazoo City Commissioners which total $250,000 and will go towards renovating the motel.

The LIFT foundation was founded  in May of 1966 in a direct response to affordable housing needs in Kalamazoo specifically. They focus on community stability and meeting the housing needs of low-income families. Since they're a non-profit, the properties they acquire will not be sold to new owners or repurposed to another type of housing. You can read more about the LIFT foundation here.

The transformation of the Knights Inn Motel won't be immediate. The motel will stay open until late April with remodeling beginning in May. The hope is that by December of this year at least 60 studio apartments will be ready for move in.

Now, locals have expressed concerns due to the history of the police presence that has sometimes been needed at the homeless camps. But, I think Lisa Willcutt, who is Consulting Vice President for LIFT, said is best when she said,

There will be services available, that's our plan, so that we can help people be successful in their housing. So, I just think you just have to give people a chance.

Give people a chance. A rationale that has long been missing from our general attitude in society, in my opinion.

Until then, there are local organizations taking donations for the local homeless population, especially for these cold winter months. You can find more details below.

As well, a couple of months ago a new homeless shelter opened in Battle Creek. You can find those details here:

As the project moves forward, the LIFT foundation will be updating their plan details. Again, you can find them here.

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A Nearly Empty Kalamazoo