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As Bitter Cold Sinks In, Downtown Lansing Shelter Prepares For Overflow

homeless shelter
WKAR File Photo
The Volunteers of America Michigan shelter in Lansing.

Subzero temperatures are expected in Mid-Michigan over the next 24 hours, so the region’s largest homeless shelter is preparing to house more people than usual. 


Last week, the Volunteers of America Michigan in Lansing opened two overflow rooms; one for men and one for women and young children.   


With arctic air on the way this week, the shelter has notified its on-call staff and sent out a plea for volunteers.


“There’s no reason for anybody to stay out in this cold, and it can be life-threatening,” says VOA director of community engagement Darin Estep.  “You know, it’s not just the cold temperature; you’re at great risk of dehydration, malnutrition...it’s just that people aren’t meant to be outside in this weather.”


Estep says the shelter has seen an uptick in the number of families and seniors in the last 18 months.  He says there’s been good progress in finding permanent residence for veterans and the chronically homeless.





Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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