City Defends Decision To Close Homeless Shelter On Coldest Day O - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

City Defends Decision To Close Homeless Shelter On Coldest Day Of Season

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Courtesy: Robyn Kemp Courtesy: Robyn Kemp

UPDATE: 6 News continued to follow this story and the homeless shelter did re-open. An updated story can be found at the link below.

UPDATED story: Homeless Shelter To Reopen After City Shuts It Down

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – City officials said on Wednesday their decision to close the building that housed the Lansing City Outreach was the right one, because it violated multiple safety standards.

Mark Bozzo runs the outreach program, and said his building was cited for plumbing issues, for not having wall plates to cover light switches, as well as for not having fire escapes that met city code. "All we want to be able to do is stay open because some of these people absolutely will be in the snow today because this is the only place they can get in," said Bozzo. "Like today, it's about ten degrees out, 15 degrees out. We came up today and somebody was sleeping [outside]."

However, city officials said the building is not zoned as residential space, but as office space, and is not safe to be used as a shelter at this time. "The intent, as good as it is…it doesn't mean that the building is sufficient," said Bob Johnson, director of Lansing's Planning and Development department. "We could have just put a sticker on that door and walked away, but we did not do that."

Johnson said he worked with the department of community services and human relations for the City of Lansing to make sure the people who were displaced had somewhere else to go.

Bozzo said he's working with contractors to help get the building up to code so at the very minimum people can come in and stay warm during the day, even if they are not allowed to sleep there at night.

For more information on the Lansing City Outreach, call Mark Bozzo at 517-505-0045

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or email her at emorrow@wlns.com.

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