Despite efforts, over 5,000 people still homeless in Lansing area

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By Jasmine Seales
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

According to a report done by the Greater Lansing Homeless Resolution Network, over 5,000 people in Ingham County were homeless as of 2014.

Though Bob Johnson from the Lansing City Development Office says that there are a variety of options including federal funds and many government programs to ensure that Lansing residents have an affordable place to live, many people are still on the streets.

“The Greater Lansing Housing Coalition helps people purchase their own home, and we have the Lansing Housing Commission that provides rental facilities to families, so I really think that as a city we are doing our job to keep housing affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Johnson.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Lansing residents on average pay less in monthly rent than people do nationwide, with the Lansing median gross rent being $743, and the national average being $920. Lansing residents also pay less on average than the rest of the state, with the Michigan median gross rent being $780.

Lansing residents also make less than the average American, with a median household income of $35,675 in Lansing, $49,087 statewide, and $53,482 nationwide.

The Greater Lansing Housing Coalition is a nonprofit organization who provides “quality, affordable” housing to needy families, as well as help to revitalize neighborhoods. The Lansing Housing Commission is a Public Housing Agency that provides rental units and rental assistance to needy families.

“I think that our city does what it can in order to provide housing. Wherever you go, you’re going to find homeless people, there is no such thing as a perfect community, but as long as they’re doing what they can to make sure us residents are safe, I’m happy,” said local resident Rebecca Orton.

Former urban planning assistant professor John T. Metzger wrote a report stating that though affordable housing is available in areas such as Lansing, many of the affordable housing units such as Section 8 housing would eventually expire, leaving residents with an issue on finding affordable housing, which could explain why there are still so many people on the streets.

More than 29 percent of Lansing residents are living in poverty, which is more than twice as much as the national average.

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