The City Commission approved an Emergency Housing Ordinance at its December 6, 2021 meeting. The Ordinance allows for the development of temporary housing in the City of Kalamazoo and outlines the parameters required for its development. This Ordinance does not pick the locations where it may occur; but outlines how it can occur. Housing providers will be responsible for proposing locations, applying for permits, and hosting a public informational meeting prior to the development of this type of housing.
This Ordinance is set to expire in December 2023. The City is proposing an extension of five years plus one additional winter, putting the new expiration date as April 30, 2023. In addition to extending the Ordinance, City staff, in coordination with local housing partners, is proposing changes that include a phased implementation for large projects, an informational presentation to the City Commission on the proposed temporary housing facility, and additional information around how the inspections of the facility will occur.
View the proposed updates(PDF, 244KB) (updated September 27, 2023).
The Emergency Housing Ordinance includes the following provisions:
Permits are required from the City of Kalamazoo to open an emergency housing facility. The Emergency Housing Facility Permit requires the housing provider to do the following:
The Emergency Housing Facility Permit application includes an MOU between the housing provider, the City, and the property owner (if the property owner is a 3rd party). The MOU outlines how the housing will be developed, administered, managed, and enforced. The MOU is a binding agreement between the housing provider and the City. Failure to follow the provisions in the MOU could lead to termination of the permit and the emergency housing being provided. The MOU includes items such as the following:
The emergency housing will be developed using the standards in the Ordinance, which includes such items as the following:
The above must be detailed in the Emergency Housing Facility Permit application along with the Facility Plan, which includes the following:
Emergency Housing Ordinance Proposed Update, September 2023(PDF, 244KB)
Emergency Housing Ordinance, December 6, 2021(PDF, 864KB)
Application for Emergency Housing Facility Permit(PDF, 203KB)
Frequently Asked Questions
The Emergency Housing Ordinance allows for the development of temporary housing for the unhoused residents of Kalamazoo and outlines the parameters required for its development. This Ordinance does not pick the locations where it may occur; but outlines HOW it can occur. Housing providers are responsible for proposing locations, applying for permits, and hosting a public informational meeting prior to the development of this type of housing.
This ordinance was initially passed in December 2021 and is set to expire in December 2023. The City is proposing updates to the Ordinance related to number of housing units or facilities permitted and the inspection process. The updated ordinance would also extend these rules until 2029.
A small, enclosed structure, other than a tent, vehicle, recreational vehicle, or camping trailer, for the occupancy of one or more persons that meets the provisions of § 9-356 Temporary emergency housing facilities and temporary emergency structures (LINK). It provides temporary living space that is capable of being dismantled or moved and is not permanently affixed to the ground or connected to the municipal water or sewer system through a connection other than a permitted temporary connection.
A charitable organization whose primary objectives are aiding and assisting homeless persons. The housing service provider 1) applies to the City for approval to develop temporary emergency housing; 2) develops the emergency housing; and 3) manages the emergency housing facility.
A housing service provider may apply to develop an emergency housing facility.
No, this permit does not have a fee. Depending on the project, additional applications and fees may apply.
Applications must include these documents:
Completed applications can be returned to Community Planning & Economic Development, 251 N Rose Street Suite 100 or by email to email@example.com.
Complete applications will be reviewed at Project Meetings which are held on Wednesday mornings. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting.
Applications cannot be approved without a finalized Memorandum of Understanding and a public informational meeting.
The housing service provider is required to hold a public meeting during the application process. This meeting must be advertised at least seven days in advance, with direct outreach to the neighborhood association and property owners and occupants within 300’ of the proposed facility.
The current ordinance is in effect until December 1, 2023. The City is proposing to extend the ordinance through April 30, 2029.
Emergency housing could be developed on land owned by the City or privately held land. Use of City land would require the housing service provider to work with the City and ultimately agree to a lease and memorandum of understanding detailing how the facility would be run and managed. All property managers and owners will need an MOU with the City to operate an Emergency Housing Facility. If a housing provider is interested in City property please contact: email@example.com.
The existing ordinance does not give a specific maximum number of housing units permitted, noting that it will depend on the size and capacity of the property and the capacity of the housing provider to staff and manage the facility. These are both reviewed during the site review and permit process. The proposed update to this ordinance further notes that no more than 20 housing units or shelters may be initially developed. More units can be added to a site after two passed inspections of the facility and a period of 365 days.
Emergency temporary housing can be developed when in partnership with a housing service provider and when requirements of the Ordinance can be met. This includes a memorandum of understanding, facility plan to show all development standards are being met, and a public information meeting.
Emergency temporary housing can be developed when in partnership with a housing service provider and when requirements of the Ordinance can be met. This includes a memorandum of understanding, facility plan to show all development standards are being met, and a public information meeting. The development standards for emergency temporary housing include placement on an improved surface, not grass or dirt, and setback requirements from the lot’s property lines.
This Ordinance allow emergency temporary housing with the intent of providing shelter to unhoused Kalamazoo residents. There are opportunities for the development of permanent housing to meet this intent. Many lots in the City allow for more than one unit on a lot, which can be rented or for extended families for check the zoning map (LINK to GIS service) and Appendix A here for information. Additionally, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are permitted on all residentially zoned lots in Kalamazoo, for more information go to: LINK in Chapter 50-4.5. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss adding to your home or considering an accessory dwelling unit on your property.