Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero announced on Tuesday, August 30, 2016, that he has declared a housing emergency at the Magnuson Hotel on Lansing's south side.
The declaration comes after the hotel's management informed residents that the hotel will be shutting down for repairs on September. The closure of the hotel will force the eviction of almost 90 residents.
The emergency declaration will help dislocated residents by making them eligible for priority placement in federally-funded public housing that is managed by the Lansing Housing Commission. Bernero says he has also asked the City Attorney Jim Smirtka to look into legal options that could help delay the hotel closing down.
The city's housing emergency response team is led by Human Relations and Community Services Director Joan Jackson Johnson. The team has identified 89 individuals, including 33 children, who will be affected by the eviction if the closing cannot be delayed. An emergency meeting was held yesterday with county, state, and local NGO officials to look at the situation and develop a plan to help the residents.
"We are working as quickly as possible to identify city, state, federal and community resources that could facilitate the relocation of these residents,” Dr. Jackson Johnson said. “This unexpected mass dislocation represents an enormous challenge because there are simply not enough beds in our existing shelters and public housing units to accommodate nearly 100 people.”
Bernero says that this housing crisis, and other recent closures including the evacuation of the Hampton Park Apartments in 2015, and the Life O'Riley mobile home park closure in 2014 show the importance of developing quality, affordable housing in Lansing.