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Kalamazoo in third week of conflict with homeless protesters

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Kalamazoo, MI

A conflict between Kalamazoo and a group of homeless people has entered its third week.

Some people have been camping in downtown Bronson Park to protest the lack of shelter space and a long-term plan to help people find permanent housing.

The city tried to get them to move to two other places, but both were rejected, because of concerns about lack of safety or shade, among other reasons.

Jim Ritsema is Kalamazoo's city manager.  He says the protesters are violating a city ordinance by staying overnight in a park.

But the city doesn't want to arrest anyone if there's an alternative.

"We're dealing with people that are already at risk," says Ritsema, "and we don't want to do anything hastily.  We'd rather peacefully work this out."

Ritsema says the city may have found another location that will meet the needs of the group. 

But the details of the location are still being worked out.

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