LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Just in time for winter, Lansing has announced its overnight warming center for families. The announcement comes as the City Rescue Mission is taking in more than 250 people each night.
The warming center will be at the Letts Community Center on West Kalamazoo Street. The service will cost the city more than $250,000 and will house more than 75 people. City officials say this couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We’re hearing from the shelters that they have been at capacity for months,” said Kimberly Coleman, Lansing’s director of human relations and community services. “From 7 in the evening until 7 in the morning, we’re hoping to turn the Letts Community Center into the Letts Family Warming Center; where families with children will be welcome to come.”
Coleman said that in her time of working with the homeless, she has never seen the homelessness problem as bad as it is now. The Letts Community Center location will only take in families, but Coleman said the city will work with other shelters to make sure no one is left in the cold.
“For those individuals who have severe needs and are unable to do shelter, we will maintain some hoteling,” said Coleman.
The city of Lansing will provide the funds for the center, but the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries will run it. The group was created in 1909 and has more than eight shelters in four counties across the state.
“The agency that is working with us will be working with them around case management, helping them connect to other resources in their community, and working collaboratively with the agencies who are providing those services to help make sure those things happen,” said Coleman.
City officials said they’re also working on providing transportation to and from the center. Coleman said this will not solve the homelessness issue, but it will reduce the stress for shelters that are full. “It’s our way of creating a safety net to keep those children and those families out of the cold and into an environment that can help provide them the support that is needed,” Coleman said.
Though the new warming center is just for families, the city will take in anyone at the center during a winter storm. It will be open Nov. 27-April 30.