KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Signs of homelessness can sometimes be seen when driving through certain parts of Kalamazoo.
But lately, homeless people are taking center stage in one of Kalamazoo’s most well-known parks. Bronson Park has been transformed into a camp for people experiencing homelessness.
“But if you don’t have a home, you is (sic) homeless,” said Patrick White, a protestor experiencing homelessness.
White says he’s been without a home for several years. Now, you can find him taking up quarters in Bronson Park. He, along with dozens of other people, has been staying there for the last 10 days or so.
A few feet away, Donna Decker calls a tent home. She says the camp in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park is in silent protest to bring awareness to the problems she and others like her experience.
There are rumors the city may break up the camp. Messages to city leaders went unanswered Friday.
“And it’s just sad that it takes this to get their attention,” Decker said outside of her tent.
As you walk through the park, there’s a clear division among people who are camped out and those visiting the park on their lunch breaks.
This video shows a big contrast between two sides of Bronson Park. On one side, people experiencing homelessness are camped out; the other side of the park visitors enjoy food trucks and lunch. @WOODTV pic.twitter.com/ZGcKwh8HSS— Brady Gillum (@Brady_Gillum) August 31, 2018
“I was surprised,” Jessica Johnson told 24 Hour News 8. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just saw the tents and you don’t usually see people camping in Bronson Park.”
Decker says the largest issue she would like to see the city address is the lack of affordable housing. “And I’m not talking about $800.”
“We don’t want to be here. We don’t want to be homeless. We want a home, just like everybody else.”
The Kalamazoo City Commission will take up an issue about affordable housing Tuesday night at its usual business meeting.