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Kalamazoo closing Ampersee Street encampment this month

Kalamazoo County Homeless Encampments
Posted at 2:47 PM, Sep 15, 2021

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo city officials announced Wednesday that they will close the Ampersee Street encampment later this month.

It will be done at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29.

“While we recognize the complex systemic and personal factors that result in encampments, the current situation at the Ampersee encampment presents significant risk to the health, safety and well-being of those living at the encampment, those providing onsite services and supports and those living and working nearby,” said Sara Jacobs, director of the Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care. “Based on the concerns shared by encampment residents, nearby residents and business owners, increased rates of violence and crime and guidance from the CoC board on the criteria for safe encampments, the city is proceeding with a plan to close the Ampersee encampment at the end of the month.”

Continuum of Care’s Outreach Services Group is coordinating supportive services for the encampment’s residents, while the Shelter Providers Group is coordinating shelter services.

Outreach workers have been visiting the encampment every day to try to link residents to emergency shelter, housing and supportive services and say they’ve already identified housing or shelter for “several” people.

They’re also working with other partners to provide onsite help with mental and physical health and substance abuse issues.

Outreach services will continue countywide even after the encampment’s closure.

More than 150 people currently live at the encampment, according to a recent survey by the Integrated Services Kalamazoo Outreach Team.

Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries has shelter capacity and plans to complete its expansion project in late October.

Once the encampment site is closed and cleared, the city will conduct a site clean-up, including an extensive river clean-up being coordinated with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.