The Changing Face of Mid-Michigan Homeless

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

It used to be that the traditional client asking for housing services from the Mid-Michigan chapter of the American Red Cross was a single mom with kids.

The Red Cross often puts people and families in motel rooms for short periods of time.

Today, though, Kathy Faber, programs and services director, says that family is more often two parents with kids, and she sees it as a sign the economy may be worse than some people realize.

Rebecca Turness and her husband are among those dual parent households. They moved from Ionia to Lansing to look for work. She ended up at the City Rescue Mission's Family Center. He is at the men's shelter. They've used the Red Cross services too.

It's been so bad, they are moving to Tennessee.

"We are talking about a family that could be your neighbor," Faber says. She says it is sometimes a foreclosure that brings people in. Sometimes it's an illness. She says there are even homeless who have jobs, but can't make rent or a mortgage because they don't get paid enough.

From last September to this one the organization nearly doubled the number of rooms they provided, from 174 to 311. They went thousands over budget--a total cost of $17,500 dollars.


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