Battle Over Oliver Towers

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Homelessness is an epidemic --- one to which Lansing's not immune, with an estimated 17-hundred homeless of its own, according to Lansing Human Services. That's why Justin Sleight, of the Capital Area Faith Based Coalition, says the organization is on a mission to get them off the streets permanently.

"We want to take Oliver Towers which was built in the 70's by HUD."

The apartment complex used to house up to 100 people, but after a fire in 2000 it was shut down.

"Here's a building that's built ideally for housing. It's much too stable a building, much to well built a building to tear down."

"Mayor Bernero made it very clear that he views this as a, we the administration views this as a historical opportunity for the city of Lansing as a world class children's museum, coupled with a state of the art library."

Bob Johnson, Director of Lansing's Department of Planning and Neighborhood Development says the city is not against the idea of permanently housing area homeless --- it's against using sight which the organization has chosen.

"We're there to work with the faith-based organizations. They are doing good work as it relates to this issue in terms of trying to find a facility or facilities to house the homeless. And we want to work with them in terms of finding an alternative location."

Sleight says, "I don't think there's an alternative sight in the area that's specifically built for housing. They say go to Deluxe Inn, but no way would that work."

So the conflict continues with both sides in disagreement over a building. But in agreement over the fact that the area's homeless are in desperate need of help.

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