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Lansing convent to become temporary housing facility

Posted at 11:41 AM, Nov 12, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — A Lansing convent building belonging to the Passionist Sisters order of nuns is being sold to a man who plans to turn it into a temporary housing facility.

Lior Ron and his nonprofit the House Collective's mission is to mitigate, if not eradicate, homelessness.

"It's open to those who are coming from different walks of life that have a need for affordable housing," Eugenia Zacks-Carney, the real estate agent representing Lior Ron and a member of House Collective's board said.

The Passionist Sisters who are selling the convent believe in what Ron wants to do.

“The sisters are very much to support helping anybody," Terrie MacNicol, the real estate agent representing the Passionist Sisters said. "They made that very clear to me.”

So, Ron made an offer to purchase the convent, which is on Randolph Street next to St. Therese Catholic Church on the city's north side. And the sisters accepted.

“We are now under officially under contract, which means we start the due diligence period," Ron said. "In other words, we are now testing, zoning, building requirements, etc…Once all those are cleared, we'll basically close on the property and it will become ours.”

At a meeting held by the church Wednesday night, some community members expressed concern over the change in ownership. One said that given the number of single women and children who live near the development, a lack of 24/7 staffing would make the housing facility "not acceptable."

However, Ron said he is only handling the real estate end of the partnership. He will work with Advent House Ministries, Holy Cross, and St. Vincent DePaul, relying on their expertise in the logistics of the facility to best serve its target population.

“If the program if we work with, our partners, say that the type of people we're going to house here will require 24/7 staff, then that's what we do," Ron said. "If that's going to be a more independent population, that we'll be using this really like their housing like you and I go home every day, then it won't need the 24/7 supervision.”

But even after the meeting, St. Therese parishioner and moderator of the meeting Paul Teszlewicz said he believes questions and concerns remain in the community.

“I think there's a lot more discussion that needs to take place between the residents, the city of Lansing and the buyer before this thing moves forward.”

A meeting was held last night at St. Therese Catholic Church
A meeting was held last night at St. Therese Catholic Church.

A parking variance agreement is the next step in the process before a final sale is reached. That would allow the church to lease out a number of its parking spaces to the nonprofit.

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