KALAMAZOO, MI – A two-story motel in Kalamazoo is being converted into apartments for residents who are currently homeless and living outside.
City officials approved loans totaling $ 250,000 to help renovate the Knights Inn Motel in Kalamazoo and convert it into affordable housing for residents currently living outside.
A nonprofit LLC created by the LIFT Foundation bought the motel at 1211 S. Westnedge Avenue and its contents last week for $ 1.5 million. It continued its motel business, sheltering in-demand people in Kalamazoo County homeless settlements to live there for free, Kalamazoo Mayor and LIFT board member David Anderson said this week.
After the cold season ends, LIFT plans to create long-term accommodation in the old motel, which will allow people to stay for 30% of their income, or for a set minimum amount if they do not have of income, Anderson said.
From January to April 2021, those currently living outside will be offered a warm and safe place to live while the project development team finalizes renovation plans, obtains city approval and makes offers. for building work, according to a report on the city’s agenda on Tuesday. .
Then, from May 2021, the conversion of the motel into studios will begin, according to the information presented to the city commissioners in the meeting file.
The Kalamazoo Town Commission voted at the Tuesday January 19 meeting to approve funding for the project. Anderson abstained from voting on the Knights Inn item and another item approved Tuesday involving the LIFT Foundation because he is a board member.
The city’s community planning and economic development department received an application for the project in November 2020, and staff recommended offering a loan in the amount of $ 200,000 from the Foundation for Excellence in city and another $ 50,000 funding from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), a federal grant, according to a city document.
The Foundation for Excellence’s larger loan of $ 200,000 will be forgivable, with the repayment amount decreasing each year apartments are booked for supportive housing with a median income of 0-30%, the city said. . To meet the eligibility requirements for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), the $ 50,000 funded by HOME will be a fully paid mortgage, according to the agenda.
When the “Lodge House” project reaches the renovation phase, a resolution request for payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) will be presented to the Kalamazoo Town Commission. A PILOT is when the city and a landlord agree that the landlord will pay a reduced amount for taxes, and the agreement may include requirements related to the provision of affordable housing, Anderson said.
Michelle Davis of Housing Resources Inc. (HRI) expressed support for LIFT Foundation projects.
Anderson told the meeting that he has been a builder his entire life and that ensuring a safe and decent place for people is a passion for him. The non-profit LIFT Foundation was started in 1966, he said, and the mayor said he was confident the organization would continue to operate for many decades into the future.
Anderson said he is not paid for his position on the board as a volunteer, but the benefit is the personal satisfaction of being a part of creating something for someone else, who is taller than him.
“To see that a person who didn’t have a safe and decent place to live, now has that place, and can tick that box and go on and aspire to other dreams that they have for their life,” said Anderson.
Anderson is also the Director of Housing and Facilities at Integrated Services of Kalamazoo.
An outreach team at Integrated Services of Kalamazoo works to engage with people living outside the settlements, and these are the people they engage with to reside in the facility.
Other properties under separate not-for-profit corporations created by LIFT include Interfaith Homes, 1037 Interfaith Boulevard; Heather Gardens, 2400 St. Albans Way; and Douglass Apartments, 1211 Douglas Avenue.