Volunteers of America provide shelter to homeless in Lansing

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Winter time: Ice skating, hot chocolate and for some folks a struggle.

“I became homeless for a year and a half now. [I was] Shelter to shelter, struggling and not having a place and feeling lost,” said Diana Ramey of Lansing.

Ramey lives now lives at the Volunteers of America shelter, her fourth move since she became homeless over a year ago. She says that she has met a lot of families in need at the shelter.

The Volunteers of America shelter can fit 48 people and when the windshield reaches single digit numbers or there are four or more inches of snow on the ground, they open up an area for the overflow of people called the warming center.

“Winter time is hard on the homeless, very hard,” said Darin Estep the VP of communications for VOA in Lansing. “Nobody needs to be outside when it’s dangerously cold out. You know this kind of weather can kill you.”

The homeless, being exposed to the elements more often, are at an increased risk of hypothermia, frostbite and freezing to death.

“There are no places open,” said Ramey.

“The alternative unfortunately would be to risk freezing to death.”

Ramey says that she feels the homeless are often forgotten in the winter and she wishes more people would show compassion and judge the homeless less.

“It’s like we’re being bypass and people say we did this to ourselves and that’s not true. This could happen to anybody,” said Ramey. “So thank God for the VOA supplying this place for us. It’s a blessing all around.”

For shelters hours, click here.