ISAAC, the Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community, is sending people to several neighborhoods in Kalamazoo and Portage to find out what issues are on the minds of residents. This is the organization’s second “Porch Patrol”. The first was in 2011.
ISAAC Director Brendan Flanagan says the “Porch Patrol” helps set the organization’s agenda. Two years ago the group heard that gang and gun violence as well as drug-related crime topped the list of concerns in the less well-to-do areas of Kalamazoo.
Elder Doug King, the pastor of Grace Covenant Church who also serves as ISAAC’s president, says the results of the first door-to-door survey had an impact. Because of the responses it got, the group invited youth violence expert David M. Kennedy to talk about his “Ceasefire” project at the annual ISAAC banquet in 2012. King says that led to a commitment by Kalamazoo’s Department of Public Safety to start a similar initiative. King says “Ceasefire” identifies the “most dangerous folks” in the community and tries to dissuade others from following them. It also offers help finding jobs and other ways to prevent young people from getting involved with gangs and gun violence.
Affordable housing and a need for public transportation on Sunday were also high priorities for people surveyed during the 2011 “Porch Patrol”. King and Flanagan say the 2013 patrol will ask people for input on ways to address the issues identified last time.
The ISAAC “Porch Patrol” will work its way through the Edison and Eastside neighborhoods in Kalamazoo on Saturday, July 27th. On August 3rd it moves on to the Northside and some areas in the City of Portage.