Renovated motel gives ‘safety’ to formerly homeless people.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – A former motel in Kalamazoo has been converted into apartments to accommodate those previously homeless.
The former Knights Inn at 1211 South Westnedge Ave. north of Forest Street in the Vine area is now LodgeHouse. It has 60 studio apartments, each fully equipped with a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, heating and air conditioning, and high-speed internet. There is also a common room, on-site assistance services, laundry facilities and parking. LodgeHouse accepts service animals but not pets.
LIFT Foundation bought the property in January 2021 and made it available to “extremely low-income” tenants.
“We use the[US Department of Housing and Urban Development]income limits,” explained Lisa Willcutt of property manager Lockhart Management Consulting. “We use the very low limit – that is a limit of 50% of the median income of the area – or extremely low – that is 30% of the median income of the area – or the poverty line.”
LodgeHouse is expected to be at full capacity in November.
Norwida Sweder moved in on Wednesday.
“I cried tears of joy because I went through a lot,” she said. “It was just amazing to open that door and realize I can go to the store and come back. … That I can go and not have to take everything I need for the day with me. I can sleep when I want. I can shower at 2am. It’s good. I don’t have to worry about many things. It’s just the security of knowing that I now have a place of my own.”
A year ago she was sleeping on the streets of Kalamazoo. Then she managed to get a part-time job with a contractor doing housekeeping and catering services. But Sweder, who is bipolar and deals with anxiety, wanted to make sure she could break the cycle.
“I was honest with them, ‘Hey, I’ve been through all these jobs and this happened. I’m trying to slowly get back into the workforce and do what I think I can handle right now. I continued therapy, medication and things like that. Maybe, six months, a year later… maybe I can go back to full-time work. I can’t handle it right now,” she said.
Her sister told her about LodgeHouse and Sweder filled out the applications.
“I got approved for the Section 8 coupon, then I got approved for this place, so we’re just waiting for this place to get done,” she said. “It gives you something to keep working towards. I know that if I stay on the right path, I will eventually make it.”
LIFT set a fundraising goal of $2.5 million for the project and also received $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act’s COVID-19 relief fund sent to Kalamazoo County.
“Of course we are very excited. This will not (alone) solve the community’s housing problems, but every little bit helps,” said Carole McNees, LIFT’s CEO. “All we want to do is just continue to contribute what we can to meet the affordable housing needs in the community.”
https://www.woodtv.com/news/kalamazoo-county/renovated-motel-gives-security-to-those-previously-homeless/ Renovated motel gives 'safety' to formerly homeless people.