Kalamazoo homeless encampment will stay for now

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Kalamazoo did not shut down a large homeless encampment as expected Wednesday, instead saying it will hold off as it figures out how to move forward.

Some 150 people are living at the encampment at Ampersee Avenue near Hotop Avenue in the city’s Eastside area. Earlier this month, the city said it would clear the camp because of concerns about health, safety and an uptick in crime.

On Wednesday, however, the encampment remained occupied. A city spokesperson said in a statement that after speaking with the Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care and other homeless outreach programs, “the city decided to take more time to consider options.”

That means for now, no trespassing citations will be issued and those living at the camp can stay.

“It is an extremely fluid situation,” the spokesperson added.

The camp sits on soil contaminated with heavy metals. Owned by the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, it’s the site of a former fly ash dump site for a coal-fired power plant. Signs put up by the authority warn those living at the encampment not to touch the soil or grow edible plants in it.

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