Organizations in Lansing fighting homelessness one initiative at a time

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:13 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Homelessness is a growing problem for adults and youth alike. Organizations in the city of Lansing are looking to combat the issue.

The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness says 51% of people who were homeless in 2021 were without a home for the first time in their lives.

“We have a power here to end homeless as a community, we truly do!” said Rawley Van Fosse of The Continuum of Care.

The Lansing Housing Commission was awarded, Wednesday, roughly $2 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to help end youth homelessness.

The Continuum of Care (The COC) is a collaborative body including government officials, non-profits, and anyone looking to end homelessness in the county. They became aware of the grant and worked to see the grant process through and will help implement the use of the funds.

“We very much expect that we will continue to see youth struggling in our community with finding it difficult to find an adequate safe place to call home.”

The COC along with Child and Family Charities and the Lansing Housing Commission plans to talk with those who have experienced homelessness to determine how to use those funds and improve existing programs.

“Whether it’s their gateway youth shelter, it could be financial assistance, access to other necessary life skills resources like finding a permanent job, childcare, schooling, and education.”

Eric Hufnagel of the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness says over 30,000 Michiganders are homeless. He has worked with the city rescue mission to address the need in Lansing.

“However, we are seeing an uptick,” said Hufnagel. '

The City Rescue Mission of Lansing is looking for additional shelter space to meet the demand of over 200 beds a night. The non-profit is seeking approval of a zoning permit for the new downtown sites they want to purchase.

“This isn’t just creating additional shelter space for the sake of creating additional shelter space, it’s because there is a need that has presented itself.”

Collectively, these organizations are addressing that need by providing temporary relief to our neighbors. Hoping one day they will have a place to call home.

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