By Jaylyn Galloway
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Lansing contributes to the high number of homeless people in the state. There are currently 4,000 homeless residents in the city, according to Angie Mayeaux, Executive Director of the Haven House.
Those people are among a total of 97,642 homeless residents in the state of Michigan in 2014, according to the Michigan Coalition Against Homeless 2014 Annual Report.
“We have about 150 go into our shelter here in Lansing,” Mayeaux said.
People become homeless for many different reasons, number one being the economy, James Wright, a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Central Florida, said. All the money they earn would not be enough to afford an actual house and this is why we need affordable apartments they can rent.
“Homeless people were not born homeless,” Wright said.
Shelters are not a long-term solution. People can become dependent on it , Wright said. People tend to think that homeless people need to be fixed because they might have problems such as drinking. In order to help them, society need to focus on getting them into housing and once stabilized, people can get them help.
“Maybe shelters aren’t the solution,” Wright said.
The goal of Haven House is to get the families that come in to live in houses. They have a case manager that they can see and that person helps to keep them on track, Mayeaux said. About 60 percent move into housing, yet they don’t have to leave.
Meanwhile, advocates for the homeless are working to educate policy makers so they can make informed decisions when regarding people who are homeless or at risk, said Eric Hufnagel, the executive director opt Michigan’s Coalition Against Homelessness.
“We focus on trying to enhance shelters through educating policy makers,” Hufnagel said.