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Shelter says viral bed bug post is not accurate

Posted at 7:32 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 19:18:04-05

LANSING, Mich. — Photos of bed bugs at a mid-Michigan homeless shelter are sparking outrage on social media, but those who work at the shelter say the pictures aren't entirely accurate.

The Facebook post has more than 1,300 shares.

"There were pictures that were posted, some of them not even of the shelter, some of them from many months ago, and so there's a lot of updates that have been happening," said Steve Castle, executive director of the Jackson Interfaith Shelter.

Castle says the shelter does still have a bed bug problem, but things have improved since some of those photos were taken.

"The residents have been helping the staff out every day, getting the bed areas straightened out, doing all the laundry and stuff, making sure stuff is getting changed," said one resident.

Signs throughout the shelter show residents what their bed should look like, and the steps they should take to prevent bed bugs.

Staff has tried several different tactics to get rid of the problem including bug-sniffing dogs.

"There had been cubbies that had been there that were about 20 years old, and they were older, wooden cubbies, and so they had lots of cracks in them. So one of the things we did is we got rid of all those because it just makes space for less clutter, but also less space for bed bugs to hide," said Castle.

Instead of the cubbies, the shelter now has residents keep their things in sealed tubs.

Some local pest control businesses have given them a discount.

Plus, the non-profit recently received a grant to buy a "bed bug baker."

"It's basically a large shed where lots of clothing and basically anything that fits in there goes in there, and it's super heated to kill off everything that's in there," said Castle.

Fox 47 reached out to the person who posted the photos, but has not heard back.

However, on Tuesday, following the story that aired on WILX, the community has come together to help the shelter out.

Jackson residents have reached out to tell us that their hope is to help the shelter that helps so many in need by donating clear plastic totes and bed bug spray.

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