NewsLocal NewsKzoo/BCKalamazoo


Kalamazoo homeless encampment residents get ready to move following closure announcement

Ampersee Homeless Encampment in Kalamazoo
Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 17:57:49-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Another Kalamazoo homeless encampment is closing just months after the last, and right across the street.

This time, Kalamazoo city officials said it's due to an uptick in violence.

There's just a little under two weeks left for folks living at the Ampersee encampment, but local organizations said they're confident it can be a positive move for them.

"This is just not a sustainable situation, having people camp, you know, on Brownfield sites. It's not sustainable. At some point, we just have to get in and do this difficult work," said Integrated Services of Kalamazoo Director of Housing & Facilities David Anderson.

It has been just five months since the Mills Street homeless encampment in Kalamazoo was closed down. Now across the river, the Ampersee location is also set to close.

With that, it will put around 150 residents out of a place to stay. Nikki Farrow is one of those residents.

"They got another spot for us, but it’s like I just think they should help us more. They should have more social workers come out here and talk to us and be more willing to help other than just leave us out here and drop off food every now and then," said encampment resident Nikki Farrow.

Farrow said she'll move to the encampment off of Stadium Drive, but said she doesn't know how long she'll have till they kick her out of there too.

But, community organizations like Integrated Services of Kalamazoo (ISK) are hoping to help.

"Let's face it, the weather's changing; it has already been determined for a whole variety of levels that that is not a safe place for people to be. It has been particularly unsafe for females, I will say. There's been serious challenges around that. There's been a whole variety of other things," said Anderson.

ISK along with the Kalamazoo Continuum of Care and Kalamazoo Gospel Mission are working to connect residents to resources like shelter and housing, jobs and other services.

"We can't force anybody to participate in a program or take services. An individual has to have desire to do that themselves, but if you are expressing that desire, we are going to help you every way we can and walk alongside you during that process," said Anderson.

The Ampersee encampment is scheduled to close on Sept. 29.

Fox 17 did reach out to the Kalamazoo Continuum of Care for comment but did not hear back.

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube