KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A collaborative effort among Kalamazoo nonprofits and government will provide safe shelter for up to 125 unhoused individuals currently staying at outdoor encampments in the area.
The Hoteling Intervention Program will offer up to 90 hotel rooms, plus meals, personal care items, case management support and links to support services, according to a news release Tuesday.
The new program got a financial boost Monday when the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a grant of $250,000 through the Foundation for Excellence to United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region’s Disaster Relief Fund.
“The Continuum of Care partnership has been working diligently to help people who experience homelessness find safe shelter,” said Sara Jacobs, director of the Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care. “Warmth, sanitation, health and personal safety remain risk factors at the encampments. Some of the encampments are in flood plains, and as we near the rainy season, the need to offer a safer place to reside remains urgent.”
Case workers will meet with the unhoused individuals to discuss their needs and connect them to support services, including mental health, substance use, physical health and other supports.
HIP will run through May 31.
Open Doors Kalamazoo is leading HIP in partnership with Urban Alliance and HOPE Thru Navigation.
Also involved are Housing Resources Inc., Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, Ministry With Community, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, Food Not Bombs and the Kalamazoo Coalition for the Homeless.
Several local restaurants are helping with the meals.
“We could not do this without the entire community’s support,” said Stephanie Hoffman, executive director for Open Doors Kalamazoo. “The housing crisis that we are dealing with here in Kalamazoo County didn’t just start with the pandemic. We were already experiencing homelessness and housing insecurities for working families and people with no income years ago.”