Coronavirus halts home construction for displaced family in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo family asking state if home construction is considered essential under governor's executive order
Posted at 5:54 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 17:54:36-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich — The Jansheskis are ready to move back home, the couple said.

It’s been under construction for months and they’ve been living in a rental, they said.

However, it’s not home.

“It was my dream home,” said homeowner Karen Jansheski. “I’m from out East and it’s based on plans from a house out East. And, it’s my dream home and I want to get back.”

Karen said she and her family have been displaced for at least four months after their home caught fire last year.

“Back in November 25 [2019], we had a fire in our garage,” said Chad Jansheski. “Lot of smoke. Damage in the house. So there’s nothing in the house. Garage had to be rebuilt.”

The construction team at Booko Brothers General Contractors had been working on the house, said owner John Booko.

However Wednesday night he emailed the Jansheskis that he was going to be halting construction on the house immediately due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ‘stay-at-home’ order.

“We were trying to get clarification on what is essential, what’s going to keep my guys safe, the customers safe, and follow the governor’s orders,” John Booko said. “And, with talking with different building inspectors and people in the industry, I decided to pull my guys off of all projects.”

The Jansheskis said they understood why Booko made the decision and that they had the same question.

So, Karen made a few phone calls Thursday morning.

“I first called the Home Builders right here in Kalamazoo and they could not answer my questions, and felt that I had a good point about essential vs. non-essential due to being displaced,” Karen said. “Then I called Lansing’s office and left a message.”

Fox 17 also reached out to the Attorney General’s Office, who said they’ve been inundated with phone calls and messages about what’s essential business and what’s not.

They recommended people refer to their coronavirus website for answers to their questions.

The Jansheski's hope someone gets back to them soon with an answer, they said.

They were scheduled to move back into their home in July, Chad said. However, that may get pushed back.

“I just think that being displaced in a rental home with rental furniture puts great stress on a family, financially and emotionally,” Karen said. “I’m just a mess because of it.”