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Greater Lansing area provides help for the unhoused, Lansing mayor says there is more to do

Posted at 4:24 PM, Dec 16, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — Here in Lansing, hundreds of people are unhoused each and every night.

“We're at capacity every night," said Laura Grimwood, senior director of community engagement for City Rescue Mission. "In fact, we're actually beyond capacity, but we're doing what we can to meet the need, even if that means sometimes we're stretched a little bit.”

Every night, shelters like the City Rescue Mission are doing what they can to give people a place to stay.

“We are definitely kind of a nexus for the tri-county area because Lansing spreads out over it. So you're going to have people from Eaton County, people from Clinton County, people from Ingham County that might be from these smaller areas that are looking for help that can't get it where they are," she said.

Lansing city officials say nearly 500 people a night are headed into shelters, but that doesn't account for everyone who needs help.

“We have, I think, roughly about 240 that they find on a given night on average," said Kim Coleman, director of human relations and community service for the city of Lansing.

Coleman says that number includes children.

“A number of them that were under 5. A number of them that were under 18," she said.

Mayor Andy Schor says the city is putting a significant effort into this issue, but he says there’s always more to do.

“There's a lot. Is there enough? Probably not," said Schor. "And again, this is something where I wish this was a regional effort.”

There are about 13 shelters and agencies that cater to different facets of being unhoused in the mid-Michigan area, all located in Lansing, East Lansing and Mason. The further away from Lansing you get, the fewer resources there are. According to an online shelter directory, there are none in Potterville, just one in Charlotte and none in Fowlerville city limits.

“It really is a regional issue that we provide services. We take 1.3-5% of our entire budget, and we put it into human services," Schor said.

An effort that takes on even greater urgency, with a cold winter ahead.

Click herefor a list of shelters and resources in the Lansing area.

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