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Some mid-Michigan homeless services providers at or near capacity

Brick building showcasing the outside of City Mission of Lansing. A Cross hangs from the building with the words: "Jesus Saves".
Courtesy, City Rescue Mission of Lansing
City Rescue Mission of Lansing.

Several mid-Michigan homeless services providers say they’re taking in more clients as high inflation and economic uncertainties continue.

Social service agencies heavily rely on financial donations to serve people experiencing homelessness.

Businesses such as City Rescue Mission of Lansing and Haven House in East Lansing say that funding is generally keeping pace with their needs.

But the needs are growing.

Executive director Gabriel Biber says Haven House used to see about 150 families each year.

That number dropped off significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when more public assistance was available to keep people in their homes.

Now, Biber says, that’s changing.

“We’re seeing that average come back up to about 100 families each year; folks that actually need to come into the shelter,” Biber said. “On top of that, we’re helping dozens more families with homelessness prevention and housing.”

City Rescue Mission executive director Mark Criss says demand for shelter is especially high this year.

“In the nearly 20 years I’ve been here, I’ve never had full capacity before November at our men’s shelter and our women and children’s shelter,” Criss said. “This is the first time in two decades. We don’t have enough beds.”

Criss says only a small number of his clients are chronically homeless. He says about half constitute the working poor who’ve suddenly fallen on hard times.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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