Guest this week on the show: Mr. George White, Executive Director of S.E.E. Change in Kalamazoo, MI.
Street Politics chops it up with Mike Hussar, local realtor in Kalamazoo. Today’s topics: reoccurring issue, lack of affordable housing. Discussing the Ukraine Conflict and the impact on Black & Brown students and citizens trying to leave the country. What does the war mean to US locally? What is up with Gen-Z and their career options.
For more information on our cool guest and real estate, visit www.mikehussar.com
Kalamazoo, MI- As small, yet visible protest could be seen as library patrons, community members and visitors In front of Kalamazoo’s downtown library. Kalamazoo Public Library’s regularly scheduledBoard meeting open to the public. The protest is over KPL Aides negotiating a living wage. Library Aides are the most visible employees of the organization. The Aides provided anything from customer service, circulation tasks, helping with program preparation among services provided.
Recent negotiations with KPL administration presented a proposal of $12/hr to KPL Aides and to go up to $12.74 for the 2024/2025 fiscal year. A echo of support shared with the Board and the audience, that the proposed wage is not a living wage or a competitive one. Additionally, the proposed wage is less than some employees are already making and would not see a raise until 2025. The newly formed union of aides and custodians are asking for a sustainable, living wage of $15.
If you would like to support KPL Aides, send an email to the library board or administration. https://www.kpl.gov/about/board-and-administration/
MJ& Q, entrepreneurs kick it on Street Politics. We’re talking Vice President, Kamala Harris, Fair(affordable housing) and the anniversary of January 6, 2021 at the White House.
Kalamazoo, MI- January 13, 2022, was the first Kalamazoo Public School Board Meeting of the year. The first order of business for the Board was to elect the President and Vice President. Once President Sholler-Barber and Trustee Harrison were unanimously voted to stay in their current roles, the meeting went on. A father of a KPS student was present to voice is dismay at the lack of training that KPS employees have breaking up student fights at school. His daughter suffering a concussion and no longer wanting to attend her school.
Others in attendance used their public speaking time to voice continued concern of rising COVID cases and lack of transparency with rate of exposure numbers. Public comments to KPS BOARD
Communities all over the nation are divided on continuing to stay in person or go virtual. In 2020 PACCT BOARD worked in solidarity with Demand Safe Schools, National Day of Resistance.
Getting to the Root Causes: Finding Affordable Housing with a Section 8 Voucher with a limited timeline and housing choices in Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo, MI- The year 2021 continues to bring uncertainty to many households in Kalamazoo, specifically the home of Issa Smith. Ms. Smith and her family are facing an eviction that was supposed to happen on December 31, 2021, but because of the holiday the courts in Kalamazoo were closed on December 30, 2021.
The modest house located on the eastside of Kalamazoo, sits on the corner quiet and still, many not knowing or understanding that everyone is not celebrating the holidays, but in survival mode for basic human needs. Decent, affordable housing like in many communities is hard to come by.
Unfortunately, many folks in Kalamazoo County, specifically Kalamazoo that have a disability (invisible or physical) and houseless suffer in silence and have no immediate family support or advocates that will speak up for them or at least that kind of support that brings about the relief that is being requested. A few days ago, there was an article that was circulated in Kalamazoo on local media that covered a local mother and her families current situation regarding their housing.
Majyck Radio went to the home of Ms. Smith, after hosting a press conference on New Year’s Eve.
MJR: Ms. Smith, in your words, how would you summarize what is going on with you and your family?
Ms. Smith: “Illegally being evicted after discovering nonprofit landlord presidents fraud and refusing to let him and using my disabled family to commit further fraud against taxpayers and Hud Federally Funded programs. “I refused to pay David Artley $231 in his name illegally for a tree that I did not cause to lean towards the neighbors house”. “This is unjust and to be evicted in the dead of winter with disabled children and service dogs with no where else to go makes me feel like the most worthless mother ever.
MJR: For folks that are not familiar with you, how would you describe yourself to someone that doesn’t know you?
Ms. Smith: “I would describe myself as a woman who has been disadvantaged in every way possible but refused to give up and let the people that have torn me down win”. “I am kind hearted resilient and determined to stand up for the injustices of those who are voiceless and can not speak for themselves”.
MJR: “Why should you speak up for those that are voiceless? Isn’t it about self preservation? We are in a pandemic.
Ms. Smith: “Speaking up is the right thing to do”. “If I don’t speak up the next single mom that rents from Mr. Artley might not have the ability to fight back the way I have”. “My experience with predator individuals, they don’t care about anything but what they want, so if I don’t force myself to stand up for myself, even though it’s terrifying, I lose everything”. “Self preservation is the most dier part of this whole ordeal. “If I don’t protect my family no one else will, especially when we have a man who has made it his mission to destroy my disabled family and throw us out in the streets to freeze to death and he smiles about doing this to us because I exposed his fraud and defied him. “My family could lose everything”.
MJR: “Is this the first time you have been presented with a eviction from your current landlord”?
Ms. Smith: ” Yes”.
MJR: Do you think your current landlords perspective is representative of all landlords?
Ms. Smith: “No. I do not believe David Artley is a representative of all landlords. The landlord you met after the press conference is the complete opposite of Artley. I believe wholeheartedly that who you are as a landlord is who you are as a person. Money has a way of bringing out people’s true colors and intentions. I do not judge all landlords based on a bad one. I can honestly say I have met very few good people that are good landlords. I dream of the day I will live in a place, if I have to rent, that I will be blessed with a landlord that is caring and responsible and appreciates a tenant who respects their property. Maintains it and treats the home like their own with care like I have 503 Gilbert Avenue.
MJR: “You have children, two boys. “How are they holding up with the current situation and dealing with the pandemic as well”?
Ms.Smith: “One of my sons even came to me and said mom, “you know I love you ,but I can’t take it anymore. “If we end up homeless again and we did everything right I’m….(MJR edited for audience) “So not only am I facing freezing to death with my family outside I have to watch my sons so he’s ok also that’s a lot for one person.
MJR: Sorry to hear this is challenging for your children. Do we need to stop the interview?
Ms. Smith: No, it will be fine”.
MJR: I know you are aware of many youth supports in Kalamazoo, but will put a link to a variety of youth services as the end of our interview.
Ms. Smith: “Thank you”.
MJR: “Kalamazoo County has literally thousands of nonprofit that cover a large number of social needs. From your experience, can you give our readers a short summary of the nonprofit industrial complex from your perspective?
Ms. Smith: “The nonprofit industrial complex sucks. I have only dealt with five legit nonprofits in Kalamazoo in the last 18 years. The majority of nonprofits are so corrupt they don’t help the people they receive funding for. The other sickening part of nonprofits is that many nonprofit presidents make more sitting on their butts than a hard working individual and all they have to do is “twiddle” their thumbs. They get to line their pockets with taxpayers money . I learned one very important thing dealing with nonprofit landlords and there presidents not all are the same. Some are better. Some are worse”.
MJR: What organizations have you reached out to?
Ms: Smith: “I reached out to the Housing Commission, the city and county employees, Housing Resources, Integrative Services of Kalamazoo,Coalition for the Homeless, The Salvation Army, The YWCA, MSHDA , HUD and DHS. So far no one can help. Commissioner Rey did come to the press conference on New Years Eve. David Artley and the Mayor have convinced everyone I destroyed the house and that I will never find another place to rent in Kalamazoo ever again”.
MJR: Have you reached out to others in Kalamazoo’s city leadership or housing/housing resource providers?
Ms. Smith: ” I don’t feel that a single official cares about what David Artley is doing and that(this sends a message that to those that may be feeling devalued and “thrown away”) the officials can harm, defraud and destroy lives and it’s ok because their abusing their positions of power”. I would like to highlight that I reached out to all of the officials and no one responded or cared. They are elected into office to stop their constituents from being harmed, but they are not. Vulnerable populations experience abuse of power everyday are just supposed to roll over and be abused and stay silenced and not fight back and if we do we are blacklisted and ran out of Kalamazoo to keep us hidden voiceless and out of sight”.
MJR: Do you have a place to go if the eviction process moves forward?
Ms. Smith: No I do not. I’m losing my voucher the 29th of this month because of Artley also and this illegal retaliatory eviction because I can’t find a decent landlord that will except it. That’s why I have to raise money for a hotel. There is only one local hotel that can accommodate my service dogs and family . A hotel room is $110 to $190 a night for an average rated hotel.That’s $3,300 a month that’s $2,610 more for a small studio apartment style hotel room than the whole house I live in.
MJR: Ms. Smith, what can folks reading this or hearing about this do to support?
Ms. Smith: My ask is to raise money for an attorney and possible angel investors people that see our story and believe we are worth investing in.
Get a safe, habitable, suitable home of our own .
Help raising money to keep us in a hotel.
We need a reliable vehicle. If there’s someone that has a van or tahoe that they would love to gift or at a price that could be raised. I don’t want people to give us their junk. We have respect.
We haven’t done anything wrong so we don’t want to be considered a charity case that deserves less than any housed person.
People that will help provide for my family, it takes a village.
Find other people David Artley has intimidated to give him money for things that are the landlords responsibility.
Others that may have experienced random visits to their homes that are unannounced and demanded to do an inspection of the property at early hours in the morning or late at night.
If any other tenants have been mistreated and held responsible for side payments added into their tenant rent share. Are there things that are not being fixed in their rentals.
MJR: Thank you Ms. Smith for your courage and time. You and your family are dealing with a great deal and appreciate you sharing.
Ms. Smith: Thank you and you’re welcome.
Please click the links to below for additional information and how to support.
Click Smith Facebook fundraiser
December 15, 2021 Public Media Network coverage
December 29, 2021 Mlive
October 2018 Mlive
December 31st, 2021 Press Conference: Support Low Income Families and Individuals with Disabilities in Kalamazoo
Majyck Radio Evolution
December 30th, 2021
Contact: Majyck Dee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Support Low Income Families and Individuals with Disabilities
Kalamazoo, MI – Majyck Radio Evolution is hosting a press conference at the home of Issa Smith on December 31st 2021. Social justice organizations, human services agency representatives, state and local elected officials, and anyone who works with vulnerable families and community members are encouraged to attend, either in person or virtually, to hear from a mother in need of community support.
What: Open invitation to attend a community press conference in person or online.
When: December 31st, 2021 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Who: Majyck Radio Evolution is a Black, female led enterprise created in the interest of promoting social justice and connecting a diverse community around issues of shared importance through music and culture. We operate through an anti-racist, anti-biased equity lens that is inclusive and affirming of all identities while maintaining focus on those that are underrepresented in mainstream media, particularly BIPIC, LGBTQ+ and youth.
Why: The purpose of the press conference is to highlight one of many examples of the marginalization and mistreatment that people with disabilities and low income families experience in Kalamazoo. Despite Mayor David Anderson’s professed dedication to ending homelessness he, along with other city leadership and their partner housing authorities have done little to increase access to stable and affordable housing for Kalamazoo’s poorest community members. David Artley, who recently resigned from his position as chair of the Kalamazoo Public Housing Commission, is Ms. Smith’s landlord. Artley also actively serves as President of Kalamazoo Family Nonprofit Housing Corporation, Elm Street Nonprofit and Kalamazoo County Housing Choices.
As a community of collective voices, we need to make sure that those that we have entrusted to be good stewards of Fair Housing are acting in the best interests of all, regardless of identity, disability, or income, with fidelity to HUD guidelines and respect for tenant rights.
For more information visit: www.majyckradio.com
Kalamazoo, MI- Charlie’s P.L.A.C.E invites all youth ages 5-14 to participate in an county-wide track meet to take place at Kalamazoo Christian High school. With support of a parent or legal guardian, youth can register using the
following link: https://forms.jotform.com/211954825422052
For more information call, 269-501-9971
KALAMAZOO, MI – The following is an update from the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (KCHCSD) for COVID19-related information:
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Hours
KCHCSD continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines at the health department, located at 311 E. Alcott Street. Hours have been extended to Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There is no cost to individuals for vaccination, no ID is required, and no appointment is needed. You will be able to select which vaccine brand you would like to receive: Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for anyone 12 years or older. Anyone under 18 years old needs to be accompanied by a parent or guardian when being vaccinated.
To date, 61% of Kalamazoo County residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the COVID- 19 vaccine and 57% have completed the vaccination series.
Homebound COVID-19 Vaccinations
The Kalamazoo County Area Agency on Aging was awarded a grant to provide COVID-19 Vaccines to the homebound population living in Kalamazoo County. To Schedule a homebound vaccine appointment, please call 269-373-5239 or check the health department’s website, www.kalcounty.com/covid19vaccine for availability. Limited RSVPs available. Homebound Criteria: Individual who is normally unable to leave the home unassisted, and for whom leaving takes considerable and taxing effort.
COVID-19 Website Information
- Community Vaccine Clinics
KCHCSD has started to include available community vaccine clinic options on the website www.kalcounty.com/covid19vaccine under the Calendar & Events section on the right-hand side. People may also find where to locate a COVID-19 vaccine by visiting www.vaccines.gov. The COVID-19 Call Center is also available at 269-373-5200 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to assist with questions.
- Report Out of State or Veterans Affairs (VA) Office Vaccinations
If you were vaccinated in another state or at the VA Office and want to make sure “your vaccination counts here in Kalamazoo County,” you may now complete an online form with the health department. This will allow your vaccination information to be entered into the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). After completing the form, the health department staff will contact you within two weeks to collect additional information. If you are unable to complete the online form, call 269-373- 5200 and select the option for the COVID-19 Call Center for assistance. Veterans who receive care at a non-VA primary care office can also contact their personal physician to update their records. If you have registered for the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes, you will not be eligible to win unless your vaccination is registered within MCIR. Contact the local health department or your non-VA primary care provider so your vaccination can be entered into the MCIR database, where verification of vaccination status will be pulled. Register for the Shot to Win sweepstakes at www.mishottowin.com. The first round of winners will be announced this week
- COVID-19 Vaccination Card Replacement
If you have lost or misplaced your COVID-19 Vaccine Card, then you can request a copy of your immunization records from your primary care provider (doctor’s office) or the health department by completing an online form. The health department cannot replace your COVID-10 Vaccine Card, but your official immunization records will document information about the vaccines received.
- County Data Dashboards
The health department will be making changes to the COVID-19 data dashboards by linking directly to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 Data Dashboard. The MDHHS COVID-19 Data Dashboard includes county-specific data for cases and deaths, including county-level demographics. This website change is occurring to make data more accessible for Kalamazoo County residents by having one resource to locate information, reduce duplication of the same data information publicly displayed, and better utilize county resources. The county health department already links directly to the MDHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard for vaccine administered information. The health department encourages residents to visit both MDHHS COVID-19 dashboards for state and county specific information.
Kalamazoo, MI- Safe and fun well wishes for all residents in Kalamazoo and beyond for 2021 Memorial Day weekend!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Contact: Dina Sutton, email@example.com
Kalamazoo County seeks residents to serve on Reparations Task Force
Task force will examine historical discriminatory practices throughout the community, recommend next steps
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair and head of the Kalamazoo County Reparations Task Force Tami Rey announced the county is accepting applications from residents to serve on the Reparations Task Force. The task force was created earlier this year following the adoption of a resolution brought forward by the Kalamazoo County Board.
“It is vital for the Reparations Task Force to have input from residents from all walks of life and professions that run the gamut, from the community organizers to doctors and attorneys, which is why I am encouraging residents to apply to be a member of the task force,” Rey said. “This task force will take a critical look at the historical practices of racial discrimination throughout the community and have frank and open conversations to determine how to remedy the discriminatory practices that have led to disparities in wealth, housing, employment, education and health.”
The task force is seeking residents from professional fields including, but not limited to:
- Health care
- Community organizers or activists
- Workforce development
- BIPOC community organizations
Elected officials and county leaders have also been invited to join the task force, including Administrator Tracie Moored, Treasurer Thomas Whitener and county commissioners.
“I applaud Vice Chair Rey for taking the initiative to create this task force and reach out to community members so we can start having the important conversation about reparations in Kalamazoo County,” Board Chair Tracy Hall said. “The goal of this task force aligns with our vision of ensuring Kalamazoo County is actively working toward racial equity and to become a welcoming place for everyone to live, work and raise a family.”
Once the task force completes its examination, it will be charged with recommending appropriate remedies to the county board