The City of Kalamazoo Attorney’s Office has partnered with the Kalamazoo Defender Office, Kalamazoo County Bar Association, and County Courts to create a unique Expungement Clinic in Kalamazoo, which is hosting its first event of 2020 at the Northside Association for Community Development (NACD). The purpose of the expungement clinic partnership, aided by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, is to eliminate a barrier to employment for individuals who have criminal records.
The February 7, 2020, event will run from 2pm to 5pm at the NACD, 612 North Park Street. Food and refreshments will be served.
Under the partnership, the Defenders Office will organize a second criminal record expungement event in the second quarter of this year and establish a “drop-in” expungement clinic each Friday at their offices in Suite 300 at 151 S. Rose St. in downtown Kalamazoo.
"Criminal convictions can operate like an anchor around the necks of our friends, neighbors and family members,” said Josh Hilgart, Executive Director of Kalamazoo Defender. “This initiative will improve their chances in making a fresh start."
Foundation for Excellence (FFE) will fund the expungement costs of all City of Kalamazoo residents seeking and qualifying for expungement services under this partnership, while Kalamazoo Defender will cover such expenses for all other qualifying Kalamazoo County residents.
“The City of Kalamazoo and Foundation for Excellence are grateful to all partners in this initiative that will help ease the path to employment for over 100 city residents in 2020,” said Steve Brown, Foundation for Excellence Coordinator.
About Kalamazoo Defender
Kalamazoo Defender is this County's first public defender office. On July 1, 2019, it began to accept as clients all adult criminal defendants within Kalamazoo County determined by the judiciary to be unable to afford legal representation. Kalamazoo Defender was chosen for this role after Kalamazoo County government boldly decided to award a contract to a non-profit that would have independence from the County and the courts.
About the Foundation for Excellence
The Foundation for Excellence (FFE) was created to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city in order to help make Kalamazoo the most dynamic, fulfilling and equitable place that it can be for all neighbors to live, work, and enjoy life. To address its challenges the FFE provides funds to stabilize the City’s budget, lower the property tax rate, and invest in the City’s aspirational community projects and programs. A fundraising campaign will work to fully endow the FFE with the goal of sustaining its work in perpetuity