Dozens of people gather at St. Therese Catholic church to discuss new housing center

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Tonight, nearly 100 people came to the St. Therese Catholic Church to listen and give input about a new housing center that could be replacing a convent.

Neighbors came with questions, concerns and a lot of emotions.

The organization the house collective, a nonprofit, according to realtor Eugenia Zacks-Carney, would be purchasing the convent to turn it into a housing center for people in need. Whether that’s someone who is homeless, a veteran in crisis or a refugee.

But neighbors aren’t a fan of the idea. Many people came to the microphone tonight to voice questions but it often turned into yelling at the buyer.

People are concerned about safety at the possible housing center, how it will work, how it will be run and who would be the people using the facility.

“This is how a democracy works, it’s supposed to be a little messy, it’s supposed to be a little emotional, the emotions I enjoyed because it shows that people are passionately interested in Lansing, in their neighborhood,” Zacks-Carney said.

Father John Fain, of St. Therese Parish, says the community being upset isn’t a surprise and that their questions weren’t answered tonight.

“I don’t think it has been communicated very well by this organization and this is why we wanted to provide them an opportunity to say what they need to say,” said Pastor John Fain.

Even after the meeting was adjourned, people stood at the mic waiting and then confronted the buyer again. But in the end, the Passionist sisters own the convent and it’s up to them to sell.

“The sisters, you know, their mission has always been to help those in need, and this fits within their parameters, but on the same side of that, they have not gone through the organization and just know their focus of helping those in need,” said Terrie Macnicol, a realtor representing the sellers.

There is a signed offer on the table so now realtors are going through inspections and making sure everything is in order, but one hurdle that still needs to be panned out is parking issues.

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