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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  • by glenn Location: detroit on Oct 15, 2007 at 08:49 PM
    homeless are spreading all over mich. and now that winter is abot to hit we hear the bad news,and for all thoes barely making it,now we hear about how food banks ALL OVER MICH,need so much food.kind of waited till the last minute to tell these sad but true things,oh yes the budget was the last minute thing too.MICH_LAST MINUTE STATE.homeless suffer in so many ways ,we just don't hear the you know how many homeless women and teenage girls get raped or beaten?now theres young kids out there.get that message.we need to know whats going on and believe me it's not good people can only report what they know or what is allowed.when things are covered up,we have no clue how bad something is.then we think programs aren't needed for the poor so we vote to do away with them,because there not used or were finding out at the last minute,what the truth is.yes pray to god,and help where you can.this will happen to more.GOD BE WITH THEM ALL.please
  • by Anonymous Location: Portland on Oct 15, 2007 at 01:56 PM
    The one thing I can recommend to people who are having a tough time- TURN TO GOD!!! We have had a very tough year and if it weren't for our church family, we would be homeless! A few months back we were without diapers for our baby and without gas to even get to work. (Food assistance is very helpful, but doesn't help with some of the necessities)I called our church to see if there was any assistance available for diapers and the pastor asked about our situation. He was able to contact our synod and get us some assistance to get our house out of foreclosure and get our car payment made to avoid repossesion. For weeks I was depressed thinking that we were going to end up homeless. GOD DID HEAR MY PRAYERS AND HELPED US!!! Moral of the story "Have faith in GOD and ask for his help"
  • by Jim Location: Lansing on Oct 15, 2007 at 01:45 PM
    It is really sad to see so many people being displaced because of our economy here in Michigan. Jennifer said "Give me 5 years and you will be blown away" I think she should have changed it to "Driven Away"
  • by dennis Location: holland on Oct 15, 2007 at 08:02 AM
    it really saddens me that anyone has to be homeless.more details need given.the gov has known about this for years,but-.the gov needs to address this problem before winter.not that it's exactly warm now.some don't even have the choice of campers or tents which are't exactly warm either.if anyone feels this is just a thing that will go away try finding a cardboard box and staying in it all nite,or try going to a over crowded shelter.wall to wall.try walking the cold wet streets with your kids.many do not allow people in shelters during the day.try living on 1 meal a day if your lucky.try going without medical treatment and being so sick.try this without proper clothing to keep you warm enough.there's eldry,people with kids,single people ect.go through getting mugged,just because you have a warmer coat someone wants.oh the list goes lets spend foolihly government.lets turn our heads some more,lets see how bad this is later on.that's the gov answer to real problems.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 15, 2007 at 05:19 AM
    to wilx-please get someone to write more stories about the homeless and food banks being do the shelters work,how long are people in them,do these people get fed,do they have food cards,thoes that work,what is there many shelters in mich,how many food banks in mich.try to get info on how many homeless per county.what do the welfare programs say about this.what do churches say about this.does this effect crime rate.about how many children are hard is it to be homeless,what do people go many become ill.the more details people hear about,just maybe more help will be given.people assume so much and think someone will take care of's not that way.winter is about to hit,cold, wet damp weather.the cost of heat and nessary things are out of reach for many.make things as graffic as they really many have no clue to the truth.what the the gov say about this.what are future plans for mich concerning this,ect thank you.
  • by art Location: jackson on Oct 14, 2007 at 07:10 PM
    lets face it EVERYTHING has went up in price.we no longer see 150$ for rent.or very low mortage payments.utilities are way out of hand.heating your home can cost as much or more than your payments.and that price will go up they perdicted a cold winter. then the INSURANCES.they cost as much as the gas bill.or the car payment.we must not forget what food costs for a family.and what about car gas.interest rates went up or down some--forclosers resulted.when everything got out of hand,wages didn't go up to meet the price raises.many are homeless and if things don't come down or wages go up,there will be alot more time goes on many states will see alot of this get worse.they all ready have thousands per state,the whole USA probably has numbers running in millions of's costing billions to run wars.trillions collected in taxes each year,9% goes to social programs for the whole's bad alright. GOD HELP THEM ALL.
  • by vince Location: jackson. on Oct 13, 2007 at 07:15 AM
    this has been on the later on list that will be delt with it has gotten out of hand and many are many forcloser all over mich didn't some help is being offered if you can get it.we are talking children here,whole families.this is a serious matter.and if things don't change people will die.churches are even turning people down,not wanting to get envolved.shelters are beyond full some have closed.we never hear how many die on the streets,but alot do.many people have there own financial trouble and no longer can's not a sin to be poor,it's is a sin if you can help and don't.many bible passages quote that.winter is about to hit us,it will be cold.homeless are all over mich.not just big cities.these people are at our merrcy.ways need to be found to help people.NOW!it is getting worse every day.who knows who could be next.this makes mich look bad.find ways to help.
  • by Linda Location: Lansing on Oct 13, 2007 at 06:37 AM
    I was born and raised in California moving here the week that GM closed the first plant. I have seen California governors come and go, learning from thier mistakes trying to find out what a governor's job is, given a large powerful state legislature. I am a staunch democrat who thoroughly dislikes CA's "Arnie". However, I have to give him credit at being a true governor. He inspires CA to be proud Californians, to purchase CA products. He has worked hard to be competitive in bringing new industry to CA, and prepared CA workers for new industry coming to CA. WHERE IS GRANHOLM? I voted for her while cringing, hoping she would hear the message of a need for change. Clearly she missed it. She missed preparing for changing industry and supporting the workers and families who would be subject to those changes. Nor can she deal with the "new homeless". Where is the plan to retrain and support those affected by the losses here? Does she see or hear the people of MI? Does she care?
  • by John Location: HIllsdale on Oct 12, 2007 at 09:28 PM
    I believe that people dont know how many people are homeless, my wife daughter and i lived in campers and tents for a long time and finaly got an apartment in the last six months, the reason, cant afford, its very hard to make it, and if you owe a utility bill it even harder to get into a place. I think thats why i say our government makes me sick, they will give forigners ( i have nothing aginst forigners) homes, cars, clothing,food and jobs, when there is people living on the streets that would be very thankful to be helped but the government turns there back on them. ITS NOT FAIR TO OUR OWN PEOPLE. I live on social security and believe me there is no money left to play with, and its very depresing but we make it day by day with the guidence of GOD. if our government would open there eyes and put the homles in homes and put the workers back to work, and feed thoes who a hungry, we would be beter off and less crime. Thanks for listening
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