Kalamazoo eyes changes to encourage fair housing

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo is considering new measures to encourage equity in housing.

The Kalamazoo City Commission discussed civil rights and fair housing ordinance proposals at its Monday evening meeting.

Some of the suggested changes include creating a civil rights board to review complaints, protecting against predatory application fees and clearly establishing protected groups. The plan would also clarify some language in blanket policy statements, like references to arrests and convictions.

During the meeting, Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin said she wants to make sure the city is devoting the appropriate resources to addressing the issue.

“I just want to make sure that I lift up that we are making sure that (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Director (Dorla) Bonner upfront is supported with the staff that’s needed to effectively do the work that has to be done with the board,” Griffin said.

Griffin is also the board vice chair of the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan.

The city plans to hold several virtual question and answer forums and have a first reading of the proposed ordinances at the Aug. 17 commission meeting.