By Trevor Darnell
Listen Up, Lansing staff reporter
In a study done by Housing Resource Inc. in 2010, the State of Michigan is host to over 100,000 homeless people state-wide. An estimated 19,874 of these people are located in the south-central part of the state, Of those, Lansing has a projected 900 homeless people.
This is a 4.8 percent increase since 2009 and the number only continues to rise nation-wide, state-wide, and locally. What can these homeless people do instead of walking up and down the streets asking for money from the average citizen, or sleeping under bridges in town?
Mark Bliss, a current Lansing Community College student has noticed the uprising in homelessness in the Lansing area over his three-year college career, but doesn’t know what to do.
“I get asked every week by a few homeless people if I can spare them a few dollars to get them food or to feed their family. Unfortunately, I’m a college student, I don’t have that money to throw around on a weekly basis, it makes me upset seeing it all the time,” said Bliss. “There needs to be a place for these people to go so they stop bothering the public so they can be in a safe place themselves.”
Fortunately, there are homeless shelters located all around the Lansing area in which these people can go to get shelter and possibly even a few solid meals to feed themselves and their families.
Homelessshelterdirectory.org lists all 7 homeless shelters that are located in the Lansing area and gives a review and an address/phone number for each place so homeless people can look and get off of the streets and stop sleeping outside or under bridges.
Looking into a particular shelter in the Lansing area, the City Rescue Mission is “the largest shelter in the area and had met physical and spiritual needs since our founding in 1911,” said Laura Grimwood, communications manager at the shelter.
“We are a Christian ministry and operate on faith, which means we are supported by private donations and don’t receive federal or state funding,” said Grimwood.
She then explained the limitations in the shelter: “We have two shelters: one for women and women with children and one for men … If I needed shelter, I would come to Mission. We are safe and clean, and staff are helpful and caring.”
There are things that the average citizen can do to help these people that are homeless. Instead of giving them money for whatever they need it for, point them in the direction of the closest homeless shelter, there’s a chance that these people don’t even know that such places exist in the Lansing area; it can never hurt to try. If not that, give the homeless people addresses to the homeless shelters in the area so another time they will try to check a few of them out and see how the system works.