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Fair Housing Ordinance Proposal Available for Review, Virtual Townhall Scheduled for August 10

In February 2020, the City Commission reviewed a proposal to update Chapter 18 of the City Code of Ordinances. This chapter addresses community relations and discrimination. The proposal would strengthen protections for Kalamazoo residents related to housing. The proposal was developed in collaboration with community partners including Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community (ISAAC), and Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo. If adopted, this would be the first significant change to address housing issues in Kalamazoo since gender identity and sexual orientation were added as local protections in 2009.

The update would expand housing protections to include educational affiliation, source of income, status as a victim of domestic violence, personal identification method, and prior arrests or conviction record.

The proposal also protects renters against predatory application fees and strengthens enforcement for gender identity and sexual orientation.

To enforce new and existing provisions in Chapter 18, the ordinance would create a Civil Rights Board. The Board would review allegations and violations of the ordinance. Another role of the Board would be to make recommendations to the City on how practices or polices that lead to discrimination can be changed.

The proposal was first introduced as an update to Chapter 18. During the review process, it has been separated into two chapters. Chapter 18 addresses Civil Rights and Discrimination, and the new Chapter 18A would address Fair Housing. You can find the most recent documents for review below. Please offer any comments or questions by email to Rebekah Kik, Community Planning & Economic Development Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City staff have planned several community conversations throughout August. Forums will be held with landlords and with housing partners and advocates. The City of Kalamazoo will host a virtual townhall on Monday, August 10 at 7 p.m. Community members will be invited to provide questions for discussion by a panel. The panel will consist of City staff, members of the City Commission, and potentially other community partners.The townhall will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. 

The proposal is expected to be presented to the City Commission for first reading in August, with a public hearing expected in September.

pdf Chapter 18 Non-Discrimination (209 KB) , Updated July 15, 2020

pdf Chapter 18 Redline (276 KB) , Updated July 15, 2020

pdf Chapter 18A Fair Housing (187 KB)

pdf Chapter 18 City Commission Presentation, July 20, 2020 (1.88 MB)

 

In March a presentation was recorded on the proposed updates to Chapter 18. You can watch the presentation below. 

A more recent update was provided to the City Commission at its meeting held on July 20, 2020: 

Kalamazoo Public Safety Policies and Documents Now Available for Public Review

The City of Kalamazoo has published Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) policies, training and recruiting documents, budget information, and union contracts and other information for public review on a new website which can be found at www.kalamazoocity.org/kdpstransparency.

These documents are provided along with other relevant information such as links to submit a FOIA request, information about the Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals board, and crime statistics.

More than 100 of KDPS’s policies and procedures are immediately available for review. These include the most commonly requested policies covering topics such as use of force, search and seizure, handcuffing and restraints, bias in policing, body-worn cameras, and reporting.

Documents also include contracts with the Kalamazoo Police Supervisors Association and the Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers Association, the two unions that represent Public Safety Officers. 

Published recruiting and training information includes topics covered in the Advanced Police Academy provided by KDPS, which provides further training on topics and information unique to the City of Kalamazoo. Fire Academy and Medical First Responder training courses are also available. Additionally, the KDPS hiring process, the Department’s recruiting plan for 2020-2022, and a summary of the KDPS Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Program are available for download.

The KDPS budget is available for public review using the interactive OpenGov platform. This allows for more detailed views than are available in the City budget document that is published annually.

This new web page will be updated frequently and will include updates related to the City Manager’s Action Plan that was introduced on June 15. The plan includes a policy review as well as a review of the actions taken by KDPS in response to protests and civil unrest that occurred between May 30 and June 2. It also calls for additional training for Public Safety Officers and City of Kalamazoo staff on history, racism, and equity, and a review and update to the traffic stop study which was completed in 2013.

Michigan Small Business Restart Program Announced

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) yesterday approved a $100 million program that will provide grants to Michigan small businesses working to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 virus, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced. Called the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, it will support Michigan’s small businesses that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Governor Gretchen Whitmer said, “We can further our economic recovery in Michigan by putting federal dollars through the CARES Act to work for the people and businesses across our state through efforts like these grants.”

The MSF authorized distribution of the funding across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state; locally, Southwest Michigan First was allocated $7,545,455 to distribute to qualifying small businesses in the seven-county region it serves. At least 30 percent of the funds awarded under the program must be provided to women-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned eligible businesses. To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria, based on statutory requirements for the program:

  • Has 50 employees or less
  • Is a business or nonprofit that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as result of the COVID-19 emergency

Has not received a grant through the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Michigan Small Business Relief Program. Businesses who have received support through other COVID-19 relief programs, including the Michigan Small Business Relief Program loans, are eligible to apply for Restart grants.

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program application will go live starting July 15 and run through August 5. Funds can be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses. Small businesses should mark their calendars now.

(Brought to you by Southwest Michigan First)

City of Kalamazoo

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