City Closes Homeless Shelter On Coldest Day Of Season - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

City Closes Homeless Shelter On Coldest Day Of Season

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Dozens of homeless people who rely on the Lansing City Outreach have been forced out of the shelter and into the streets because city officials said the building is not up to code.

The Larch street shelter is run by Mark Bozzo, who said he and his staff take in homeless people that other shelters have turned away because overcrowding or because of drug and alcohol problems.

"It's not the Taj Majal, but we put a cot in a corner and we say, ‘Lay down. Instead of going to jail, stay here. And in the morning we'll have bible study, feed you breakfast, do your laundry, send you out," said Bozzo."

The shelter was cited on Tuesday for electrical issues, and officials told Bozzo he could no longer have people in the building. "It's ten degrees out," said Bozzo. "It's pretty tough. And now we've got about 30-40 people here today. Hopefully they'll find a place to stay."

But those who found a safe haven at the Lansing City Outreach said they're worried about having to suddenly find shelter, especially when temperatures are below freezing. "This is our only refuge," said Keisha Robertson. "We're a little upset because we don't have a place to go. Everything is full and it's cold outside and I really hate the snow."

Joan Jackson Johnson, Lansing's director of community services and human relations said she's working to make sure everyone has a place to stay, and while she's secured housing for the women, she's still trying to meet the needs of the men. "My commitment before I go home tonight…is to make sure everyone has some place to go," said Jackson Johnson. She said she plans to work throughout the evening, even searching the woods with police to make sure no one is out in the cold. 

Bozzo said he has contacted an electrician to help get the shelter up to code. He said this is the fifth time in 12 years he's been closed down.

If you would like to help, please contact Mark Bozzo at 517-505-0045. Or reach out to Lansing's Department of Community Services at 517-483-4477.

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