A Man's Mission To End Homelessness - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

A Man's Mission To End Homelessness

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) - In just five days an Eaton Rapids man has managed to help at least a dozen people get off the streets. With the help of food pantries, donations and his own money, Mike Karl is on a mission to help the homeless.

Our Nick Perreault spent part of the night with Karl and has more this man's journey to clean up the streets of Lansing.

"I'm already showing the affects, my lips hurt, my hands hurt, my feet hurt, But we need to do this and people need to see this," said Mike Karl.

During the day, Mike Karl works at General Motor's Delta Plant, but for the past week, he's been on a mission walking the streets of Lansing, looking for the needy and homeless.

"I hope everybody understands it's important that we need to take care of each other," Karl said.

Because Mike says most don't understand what homelessness is really like.

"Most people don't get to see what real homelessness is," Karl said.

But more importantly, Karl says most don't know who is homeless.

Over the course of a week Karl met marines, college students and a man suffering from prostate cancer, all without a place to call home.

"I was sleeping in the park, I think Tuesday and was approached by three teenagers, they were here out of bad luck, they just wanted to get home, that's all they wanted."

Which Karl admits can be a daily struggle for some.

"Go buy them a meal, you don't have to give them money, make sure that their bellies are full and they're warm."

It's a struggle he knows all too well.

"Eight years ago I was homeless, I kept it from everybody I was ashamed, I was depressed I was hurt, I lived with these people for six months of my life and I've been changed ever since," Karl said.

So for the past three years Mike's been spending one week a year, handing out food, clothes and gift cards, while recording the whole thing for the world to see.

When he started, he was alone, but now others have followed in his footsteps literally.

"It's made it really hard to go home and sleep in my own bed," said Lansing resident Jessep Magoon.

Magoon has been walking with Karl all week. Just five days ago Magoon was a total stranger.

Magoon says it's "because he was doing something that I've always wanted to do and try to do on a daily basis, to give back."

It provides a chance for Karl and Magoon to provide hope to those who call the streets their home.

"I've been out here seven, going on eight years, you've lifted our lives up," one man said.

Lifted their lives and spirit.

"You guys don't know what you've done for us, because out here you've got to survive, you're helping us survive and we love it, we love all you people for doing it."

Some have referred to Karl as "The Homeless Angel", but he says he's just a man trying to help a community.

"I'm nothing but a regular guy."

And Mike Karl isn't afraid of tackling or having such a lofty goal, which some might say is unattainable.

"I'm Mike Karl, this is what we do, just plain and simple, I'm very passionate about what I do, I will walk until my feet fall off. If that's what it takes to get this noticed, then I'll do it."

Karl also had some help handing out items from Shelley Gilpin from Homeless Outreach and Ministry Equipping, a non-profit that has been doing similar work for the past 4 years around the state of Michigan in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

Mike Karl will wrap up his week by walking from Lansing to Eaton Rapids.

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