Kalamazoo County Commission takes up 'homeless' tax

Feb 20, 2012

The Kalamazoo County Commission Tuesday will discuss taxing home owners to help others avoid homelessness.

A coalition of groups wants the commission to agree to let voters decide later this year on a proposal to add a one-tenth mil increase on their property tax bills.    The  added property tax would raise about $800 thousand  over four years.

The money would fund programs to prevent evictions, as well as provide vouchers for short-term and long-term housing.

“Is that going to solve the problem? No, it will not. But is there a way to use those resources directly to help people which could make a significant difference? I think that is definitely the case," says David Anderson, the chairman of the Kalamazoo County Public Housing Commission, "“It…really makes better sense, and costs everybody less money, to help keep our fellow citizens in housing…rather than all the support systems that end up coming into place for folks who lose their housing.”  

Some commissioners say it would be unfair to ask home owners to pay more property taxes.

Kalamazoo County voters will get the final say on the tax increase later this year, if the county commission agrees to put the question on the ballot.