Justice Unhoused

County considering legal maneuvers to set up homeless shelter

Kalamazoo County bid on the former Lakeside Academy, but lost. Now the county is considering eminent domain to turn it into a shelter.

Kalamazoo County wants to buy the old Lakeside Academy on Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo in order to provide shelter and other services for unhoused people. Unfortunately, those plans fell through and now the county is considering other options to make the plan happen.

County commissioners revealed during their Tuesday night meeting that the county bid on the property, but were turned down in favor of a private developer who bid the same amount.

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“More or less we were told there was a lot of concerns about the neighbors – what would the neighbors think?” said Board Chair Tracy Hall.

Now the county is weighing whether to flex its governmental muscle to make the project happen one way or another.

The process is called eminent domain and it allows governments to force property owners to sell when the project is for a public good.

Some commissioners said that would be the quickest way to address a homelessness crisis that has seen nearly 200 people living on the streets during a cold winter in the middle of a pandemic.

“This is an urgent and valid public purpose to resolve some very serious public health, trauma issues,” said Commissioner Mike Quinn.

You can read more on WMUK.

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