In February 2020, the City Commission reviewed a proposal to update Chapter 18 of the City Code of Ordinances. This chapter addresses community relations and discrimination. The proposal would strengthen protections for Kalamazoo residents related to housing. The proposal was developed in collaboration with community partners including Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community (ISAAC), and Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo. If adopted, this would be the first significant change to address housing issues in Kalamazoo since gender identity and sexual orientation were added as local protections in 2009.
The update would expand housing protections to include educational affiliation, source of income, status as a victim of domestic violence, personal identification method, and prior arrests or conviction record.
The proposal also protects renters against predatory application fees and strengthens enforcement for gender identity and sexual orientation.
To enforce new and existing provisions in Chapter 18, the ordinance would create a Civil Rights Board. The Board would review allegations and violations of the ordinance. Another role of the Board would be to make recommendations to the City on how practices or polices that lead to discrimination can be changed.
City staff have planned several community conversations throughout August. Forums will be held with landlords and with housing partners and advocates. The City of Kalamazoo will host a virtual townhall on Monday, August 10 at 7 p.m. Community members will be invited to provide questions for discussion by a panel. The panel will consist of City staff, members of the City Commission, and potentially other community partners.The townhall will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.
The proposal is expected to be presented to the City Commission for first reading in August, with a public hearing expected in September.
pdf Chapter 18 Redline (276 KB) , Updated July 15, 2020
In March a presentation was recorded on the proposed updates to Chapter 18. You can watch the presentation below.
A more recent update was provided to the City Commission at its meeting held on July 20, 2020: