Nonprofit pilot program to bring 50 housing pods for homeless in Kzoo

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — After the clearance of the homeless camp on Ampersee Avenue in Kalamazoo earlier this month, finding a home for those without one has become a more urgent issue.

Through a new project, advocates with a Kalamazoo nonprofit believe they have found a solution that will provide people with a comfortable, secure and personal living space that takes up no more space than a parking spot: the ModPod.

The ModPod is a portable housing unit equipped with amenities addressing basic needs.

Late next month, nonprofit Housing Resources, Inc. is bringing 50 of these ModPods to Kalamazoo, aiming to provide more than just a shelter for the homeless.

“It’s waterproofed, lighted, heated, air conditioned… [It] assembles and disassembles very quickly,” HRI Executive Director Michelle Davis said.

Davis says 16 of the 50 pods will be for couples of all types, including those needing a caretaker with them or people with pets. The pods last 15 years and feature a self-leveling system, allowing them to be built on any surface. 

They want to create a sustainable community beyond its launch in the coming weeks and months.

“What we envision is a village — a village of dignity for people who will create the space that they want to create,” Davis explained.

According to HRI, funds from the nonprofit helped purchase the pods and money from the American Recovery Act will deal with site improvements. 

Once the pods are built, a third bucket of funding is needed for ongoing site operations, which they say needs more than a possible grant from the Foundation for Excellence.

“We expect that we’ll have additional partners in the future to help sustain and grow that effort,” said Director of Community Outreach Galyn Barnum. “We know that Kalamazoo wants a place of dignity for all people, and HRI is going to lead the way for that.”

The location of a possible site and answers to other frequently asked questions are yet to be announced. Those wanting to donate their time or generosity are encouraged to contact Housing Resources Inc.

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