VIDEO: Kalamazoo city commissioner joins protest over homelessness

posted by 24 Hour News 8 - 

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD TV) — After a five-hour meeting, a Kalamazoo city commissioner has joined protesters who set up camp in downtown’s Bronson Park.

Homelessness was discussed at the Kalamazoo City Commission’s business meeting Tuesday night. During the meeting, protesters tried to add an item to the city commission agenda. It was a list of demands they want from the city.

Commissioner Shannon Sykes-Nehring moved to accept the list of demands for discussion. No other commissioner seconded the motion, which killed the proposal.

The list of demands included the following:

  • “A moratorium of enforcement on an ordinance preventing people from sleeping in parks until Kalamazoo provides adequate resources. Sleeping from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and sleeping on paved surfaces, including the Rotary Stage in Bronson Park is punishable by a misdemeanor charge, $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
  • “The removal of David Anderson from Kalamazoo County’s public housing commission. Anderson serves as chair. The group wants to replace him with someone who has had experience being homeless.
  • “An investigation into negligence and abuse at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.
  • “The construction of a secular shelter that provides access to housing vouchers and social services.
  • “More affordable housing options for low-income residents.”

After the meeting, Sykes-Nehring joined the protesters in Bronson Park all night and into Wednesday morning.

“The city has a decision to make. Our city manager has a decision to make. My fellow commissioners have a decision to make. And legally, if they feel like they need to move forward with arrests or anything like that, we are here for that,” Sykes-Nehring told 24 Hour News 8.

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