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UPDATE: Homeless told to leave Lansing hotel

Posted: 12:05 PM, Aug 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-29 19:22:48-04

Nearly a hundred homeless people and families staying at a Lansing hotel could be forced back onto the streets.

Management at the Magnuson Hotel sent out a letter on Monday saying residents and guests have to leave because the hotel is starting renovations. The letter says renovations start September 12 and everyone has to be out before then.

The nonprofit Homeless Angels runs a shelter out of the hotel, and tells us they didn't know this was coming.

Both residents and city officials say they were also caught off guard.

"To be in situations like this is not humane," said Lansing's Director, of Human Relations & Community Services Joan Jackson Johnson.

The city held an emergency meeting with both state and federal agencies Monday afternoon to talk short term housing options, which won't be easy with nearly 100 people getting kicked out of the hotel.

"The challenges that some of these individuals face, it's a huge challenge," Jackson Johnson said. "Trying to come up with the financial resources and support to enable us to move within this very short time period is just overwhelming."

Lansing's Mayor Virg Bernero is considering declaring a housing emergency which would put all the people forced to leave the Magnuson at the top of the public housing list. That would let the city get them into new homes more quickly.

Even if that happens, most of the city's public housing is full so officials are looking at other shelters and hotels that have space.

Mayor Bernero says the whole situation points at a bigger need.

"We need more quality affordable housing in Lansing," Bernero said. "People do not choose to live in squalor, people do not choose to live in a precarious situation, to be thrown out at any time and it's a darn shame that people have to live that way in Lansing or anywhere."

It's a situation Jeff Davis knows all too well. He's been living at the Magnuson for a little over a month and says he couldn't believe when he woke up this morning and found out he only has two weeks to move out.

"Might have no where to go," he said.

Davis has been living at the hotel rent free, thanks to the Homeless Angels.

"I have to do something before winter," Davis said. "This kind of sucks that, you know, that it all of a sudden happened kind of quickly, but we're hoping with God something will happen and we'll all be taken care of some way."

The hotel's on-site manager hung up on News 10 after saying the Homeless Angels would help people move out. Guests won't be allowed inside during renovations and it's unclear if the homeless will be allowed back when the work is finished.

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The Mangnuson Hotel in Lansing, which also serves as a homeless shelter, is shutting down for renovations according to a letter sent by management on Monday.

The letter say the closing process at the Magnuson will start on Monday August 29. Guests and residents will have two weeks to leave the building for the start of renovations on September 12.

The City of Lansing is trying to help those residents find housing. Lansing's Human Relations and Community Services Director Joan Jackson Johnson says about 20 families live in the hotel.

City officials are holding a meeting at 3 p.m. Monday on this issue.

Stay with us for updates on this developing story.