by Zachery Fanko
Lansing Township News Staff Writer
Although Mike Karl and Jessep Magoon started Homeless Angels a mere five months ago, they have already made a difference and helped the homeless in the Lansing area.
Both Karl and Magoon point to the Internet and social media as the tools that have helped them the most in reaching out not only to people who need help but also citizens who have a desire to help but are not sure where to start.
“People want to see that they’re actually making a difference,” said Karl. “With social media, we can show everyone how their donations are helping.”
The non-profit organization helps those in need with a variety of services including assistance with enrolling for benefits, resource assistance and temporary shelter. The organization partners with other volunteer groups to assist in providing food benefits and clothing and contacting people to job opportunities.
Being based in Lansing hasn’t restricted the Homeless Angels from helping the homeless in other states.
“We have had people reach out to us from as far as Florida, Texas and even L.A.,” said Karl. “And with social media we were able to seek out agencies that could help them.”
The biggest challenge according to Karl and Magoon is changing the stereotype of the homeless.
“People look at homeless and think they’re a drunk, addict or lazy,” said Magoon. “Our mission is to change that perception and not only help these people find homes but help them change their lives.”
Karl and Magoon point at their past experiences as motivation. Karl still remembers being in the same position as a lot of those he helps on daily basis.
“I was homeless eight years ago,” said Karl. “That experience has helped me relate to those in need.”
Karl was able to get back on his feet since and has made it his mission to spend one week a year out on the streets with the homeless.
“We try to understand people on a personal level,” said Karl. “Everyone has a different story and just being there to listen helps.”
Magoon believes that this is just the start for the Homeless Angels, and they plan to expand into Detroit.
“We plan on eventually having offices in all 50 states,” said Magoon. “We have came along way in these first five months, and we’re just going to keep rolling.”