Going Homeless

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The City Rescue Mission Center in Lansing houses hundreds of guests every night.  The homeless shelter prides itself on preaching the gospel and not allowing any guests who are under the influence to seek shelter under its roof.  The director of the center, Mark Criss recently underwent an experiment in an effort to learn more about the guests at the shelter. He went homeless himself for one week’s time.  Criss lived on the streets of East Lansing along with a reformed cocaine addict who helped show him how to get by.

Criss was touched by the stories of the people he encountered on his journey and did his best to aid people in getting the help they need.  Contrary to popular belief there are more homeless women and children than men today and everyone of their stories is different.  According to Carl, many homeless men and woman are not addicted to drugs, they have just struggled to maintain a job in today’s economy. However, he also said those people who ask for money right off the highway are often financing their own substance addiction.  Carl believes that one of the reason the homeless population is larger around the Lansing area is because of it’s close proximity to Michigan State’s campus. Many college students are unfamiliar with the homeless and are more likely to donate.

While undergoing his homeless experiment, Criss learned the ins and outs of street life. Where to sleep, where to use the bathroom and where and how to get food were some of the things on top of his priority list.  Realistically, a homeless person has the opportunity to eat seven meals a day, from the vast number of shelters who provide food in the Lansing and East Lansing area.  As for sleeping, parking structures provided shelter from the cold winter weather.  Criss says, this experience is one he will remember for a lifetime and he will use the lessons he learned in ways to improve the services offered at The City Rescue Mission.

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