Advocates want tiny sheds to stay at Reutter Park

Three different groups permitted to help the homeless said these sheds should be used to help those in need.
Three different groups permitted to help the homeless said these sheds should be used to help those in need.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:39 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Kringle Holiday Market at Reutter Park in Lansing welcomes everyone – it even has tiny sheds that keep you warm.

Advocates for the homeless said the sheds should be used to help those in need. The city of Lansing said the sheds are not built for people to live in.

“We have opportunities for appropriate housing. We even have a team that is an outreach team that visits people whether they’re in parks or under overpasses to talk about appropriate and safe housing,” said Brett Kashchinske, director at Parks and Recreation.

Advocates said the number of homeless people has not decreased – even with all of the available resources.

City Rescue Mission reported from October to October, we’re up 70% homelessness from last year,” said Michael Karl, founder and president at Cardboard Prophets. “I think that we need to have a discussion, we need to talk about opening up more shelters, a warming center - if people can’t go out and sit around the heaters that are probably taxpayer-funded, then we need to find an alternative.”

Punks with Lunch said they would like to see the city of Lansing to repurpose the shelters after the holiday market ends. They said the tiny sheds could be a place for people to get out of the cold and snow.

“Those shacks are built are there specifically to shelter people from the elements – from the wind and the cold and the ice. And then there are people here in the park, even at this very moment, who are huddled over manhole covers coming up from the city just to stay warm,” said Augustine Ayala Jr. volunteer at Punks with Lunch.

Kashchinske said “No one is being removed – this is a park for everyone. So we really see this as bringing more engagement, more people to Reutter Park.”

Advocates said they want to sit down with the city of Lansing to discuss the potential future of tiny sheds in the park.

“What we need to do is we need to sit down as a community and we need to discuss this. If we’re allowed to have tiny buildings then let’s make tiny buildings for our homeless – there’s abandoned lots, there are old schools,” said Karl.

The Parks department has reached out to advocates for the homeless for a private meeting where concerns can be expressed.

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