"Homeless Hotel" renovations under way, the next steps

Posted at 7:08 AM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 10:06:26-05

Belinda Cipko has a job. She's a housekeeper for the Burkewood Inn, a motel on Lansing road that provides shelter for the homeless.

"It's just absolutely wonderful to know that a place like this does exist," Cipko said.

She and her husband David were once homeless themselves.

They were living out of their car. Making things harder, David is partly disabled and requires a breathing machine.

Hope seemed lost.

Until Homeless Angels founder Michael Karl discovered them and offered them help.

"From the very first minute Mike put his arm around us we knew we were home,” Cipko said. “And we knew we were safe and we were going to be warm. I especially knew that I didn't have to worry about my David."

Belinda's is only one success story the inn has chalked up in the last two months. The building has been around since the 1950s and was in need of some fixing up when the homeless angels bought it.

"We're working with the township and local contractors to get this place up to where it needs to be so we can help more people," Michael Karl said.

In addition to the smoke detectors they also reconnected the fire suppression system. Their next step? The basement.

"It needs to be fixed, it leaks,” Michael Karl said. “It's been probably since the 1950's there's probably been a repair.”

They're hoping to have it ready in a month. Once it's back in shape, it'll house the 'free' store, a diaper bank, a food and a clothing pantry.

"The community can come here and get what they need but also other agencies that need help,” Michael Karl said. “We can help them as well."

They say once they're finished with the renovations for the Burkewood, down the line they'd like to start other homeless hotels in other cities.