Kalamazoo city leaders said they polished up their plan to create safe, temporary homes for people trying to get back on their feet.
Kalamazoo city commissioners voted Monday to extend an emergency housing ordinance’s expiration date through April 2029, giving Housing Resources Incorporated, or HRI, and other developers more time to make their ideas happen.
HRI bought 50 “ModPods” to house those experiencing homeless in fall 2021.
The commissioners’ decision Monday’s gives HRI more time for planning and execution.
HRI has not revealed where they’re going yet. However a letter of intent to lease a property within the city of Kalamazoo has been signed.
Kalamazoo’s ordinance would allow developers to put 20 ModPods up at one site initially with another 20 allowed every six months after.
HRI is looking to help with the ongoing homeless housing crisis as the city of Kalamazoo’s population grows.
The ModPods are a temporary living space while people work to find a more permanent living situation.
“We have begun to move forward in doing additional due diligence for our proposed site,” HRI Executive Director Michelle Davis said. “I just want to take this time to thank everyone with the city for their hard work on this emergency housing ordinance.”
A spokesperson for HRI told News Channel 3 they are currently looking at a potential site for the proposed pods, but are not revealing the location at this time.
“If a site looks feasible, we will go through the application and communication process,” Davis said. “This will take many weeks, but we will move as quickly as possible.”
The pods are eight-by-eight feet and equipped with a mattress, electricity, heating and air conditioning.
Kalamazoo city leaders say 50 of the pods are sitting in storage now, while HRI nails down a location and how to decide who will be chosen to live there.
There will be bathrooms and showers connected to the city’s water and sewer system in the proposed pod community, along with trash pick up, staff on site around the clock and security.
According to HRI, no tax dollars will be used to create the pod community in Kalamazoo.
PODS - General Information and FAQs Updated 10/23
Updates October 2023
Update August 2023: We have recently signed a new Letter of Intent (LOI) to lease a property within the City of Kalamazoo. We are no longer considering the 333 Alcott site. We are in the process of doing due diligence of site feasibility with our development partners. HRI will hold an information session to share the model and site details when appropriate. We are hopeful to announce the site location soon.
Watch our POD Video Here!
Housing Resources, Inc. (HRI) is launching “A Kzoo POD Community: A Place of Dignity” to include fifty (50) ModPod (TM) Each pod is designed to maximize comfort while providing a secure personal living space that is waterproof, lighted, heated, air conditioned and equipped with beds, mattresses, storage, windows, and electricity. These units will meet basic human needs while keeping people safe, warm, and secure as they move from unsheltered homelessness to sustainable housing.
The free-standing, Pod units will allow single adults and couples/partners to get off the streets, meet their basic needs, keep them safe, warm, and secure. Our Pods are not tiny homes, tents or huts and they are not an encampment. They are temporary living spaces designed to meet basic needs and provide dignity to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
The national and local affordable housing crisis has reached historic proportions. This has led to a sharp increase in people living in encampments and unsheltered environments not designed for habitation in Kalamazoo county. At HRI, we know that housing is the solution to homelessness. However, given the lag time needed for permanent housing solutions to be developed, HRI is creating a new emergency housing model that can be implemented rapidly as a pilot project to address the gap in permanent affordable housing.
This list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and general updates are provided on this site to help share information on the project as HRI continues to finalize a site and operations plan.
Take a look at our POD video! We are working hard to finalize a feasible site for our POD Community!
The dignity-based Pod community will provide a safe temporary living space for unsheltered adults while they seek permanent housing.
HRI has purchased the pods using HRI funds. However, HRI is actively fundraising for the project including the costs of the pods, site development and operations.
HRI has a 30 year history of developing properties and creating and maintaining beautiful affordable housing. Each development has met all required regulations, licenses and legal requirements. Our Pod community will do the same.
Thanks to the generosity of Clark Logic, our pods are now in a climate-controlled storage facility until a suitable site is secured.
There are a total of 50 Pods. There are thirty-four (34) pods for single individuals and sixteen (16) pods with two (2) single beds for couples/partners or someone that needs a caregiver. These are transitional living spaces designed for single adults until they move to permanent housing.
The pods take approximately one (1) hour each to be assembled by two (2) people.
The pods do not have bathrooms, showers, or running water. When fully operational, resources will be available on-site to meet the need for toileting, personal hygiene, laundry, and food.
Yes, the pods are equipped with heat, air conditioning and electricity.
No. When the site is fully operational, accommodations will be provided for food to be available on-site.
Yes, the pods have windows.
Yes, each pod comes with an ADA compliant metal clad entry door with unique 10 key 4-digit lock. The door is insulated and weather-tight metal.
Regular contracted trash removal (dumpsters) and maintenance/janitorial staff would be provided at any site where the project is located and is part of the ongoing operations.
We have recently signed an Letter of Intent (LOI) to lease a property within the City of Kalamazoo. We are in the process of doing due diligence of site feasibility with our development partners. HRI will hold an information session to share the model and site details when appropriate. We are hopeful to announce the site soon.
HRI will have staff on site at the project twenty-four (24) hours a day.
The pods offer a private living and sleeping space. Bathrooms, showers, food, laundry, and, as well as, supportive and partnering services will be available to residents. The intent is to address residents’ immediate needs while working with them to develop long-term housing solutions.
Once the project launches, HRI will establish a phased approach to open the project and allow the first residents to move into the pods.
HRI is currently working to establish selection criteria for participants of the project.
The pod project is not designed for children. Only adults will be permitted into the pod project.
There is no cost to live in a pod.
There will be an agreement for both HRI and the resident outlining rules of the pod community including the pod unit. HRI is interacting with people who are unhoused to hear directly from them what an agreement should reflect. They have identified the importance of having a “code of conduct” to enhance the ability of people to co-exist in the Pod community.
HRI is in the process of determining if additional storage will be needed or available based on the potential site. There will be limits to personal belongings allowed inside and directly outside of the pods. This is something that people who are unsheltered told us was important to them. HRI will also comply with all requirements of the Emergency Housing Ordinance which has stated requirements related to this area.
HRI will comply with all laws regarding service and support animals. If a resident already has a dog or cat upon entry to the pod project, the pet will be permitted into the project. No new pets will be permitted once someone moves into their pod. Pet owners will be required to maintain control of their animals, clean-up after them, and not interfere with other residents. HRI will work with animal services and the animal owner to ensure licensing, testing and vaccination of animals who will be on site.
Given the purpose of the project, individuals can remain in their pod until housing is secured either on their own or with the assistance of community providers or others, or as long as the project exists. We anticipate that people may need substance abuse support, mental health support and many other types of support. We do not anticipate asking people to leave the project based on the known barriers and struggles that may have resulted in them becoming unhoused. Possible reasons people may be asked to leave the Pods could include refusal to accept suitable permanent housing. However, we also will not permit violence or threats of violence against anyone or destruction of property in the project. In those cases, individuals will be asked to leave the project.
Kalamazoo is experiencing a shortage of affordable housing at a level never before seen. It is our hope that this project will bridge a gap between this crisis and the development of units for people to access. However, while HRI will work with each person to obtain housing, we cannot guarantee and do not have access to rental units on demand.
An agreement will be made between HRI and the residents that enter the pod project to establish a “code of conduct” to enhance the success of the community. We are currently speaking with people who are unhoused to determine what that will include. It is our hope that once the pod community is established, that the participants will form a resident council or a name of their choosing and establish additional guidelines and culture for the community.
Are residents expected to participate in wrap-around services? (mental health, physical health, life skills, job skills, etc.).
There will be no requirement for participants to engage in services. Services and supports will be available and offered regularly for when people choose to engage and accept them. However, when permanent housing becomes available, residents will be expected to engage in this opportunity.
There will be security on site that reflects the needs of the participants to keep them protected and secure. Safety has been the number one concern we’ve heard from people who are unsheltered. The training and understanding of any security firm around the issues of homelessness and the specific needs of people who have been living outdoors cannot be understated. If they are identifying safety as their number one concern, it is ours also.
We look forward to some help! We plan on announcing a volunteer project to help with the pods once a site and pre-development details are confirmed. In the meantime, if you’d like to get your name on a call back list as a volunteer, please call our main number 269-382-0287 and let us know that you’d like to be added to the list to help.
We are currently raising funds for the project for cost of the pods, make site improvements, and support ongoing operations.
If you or your company would like to sponsor a POD, a POD neighborhood or the POD community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can easily make a donation online https://www.housingresourcesinc.org/donate/ or by mail.
Housing Resources, Inc.
420 E. Alcott Street, Suite 200
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
HRI IN THE NEWS
Housing Resources, Inc announces “A Kzoo Pod Community – A Place of Dignity” pilot project
Development will provide housing to people experiencing homelessness in Kalamazoo
Building on thirty-nine years of experience providing solutions to homelessness in Kalamazoo County, this development will provide another housing option for people experiencing homelessness in Kalamazoo.
“A Kzoo POD Community – A Place Of Dignity” will include 50 ModPod™ units expected to be delivered hoping to beat Michigan’s hard winter temperatures and snow. Each pod can be assembled by two individuals in less than an hour. The pods — which will meet people’s most basic needs — are designed to maximize comfort while providing secure personal space. The pods are waterproof, lighted, heated, air conditioned and equipped with beds, mattresses, storage, windows, fire extinguishers and exterior bike racks.
“People deserve a place to feel safe and secure. The encampments were not safe for women, as many were victims of human trafficking, and drug use and prostitution were rampant. With this project, HRI intends to provide a secure space for women and our most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness,” said Michelle Davis, Executive Director of HRI, “We’ve listened, and we’ve heard their voices that emergency shelters are not for everyone, and we are offering another solution.”
With a national and local affordable housing crisis of historic proportions, these pods are an option for people who — for a variety of reasons — are unable to benefit from the housing options currently available.
HRI has consulted industry experts – both in- and out-of-state – to help identify proven housing solutions for people who are unsheltered. We believe that these units will meet basic needs while keeping people safe, warm, and secure as they move from unsheltered homelessness to housing.