LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Here at 6 News, we’ve been telling you about the rise in homelessness in Lansing. But we’ve also found out that the city of Jackson is facing the same problem.
But Jackson and Lansing are not alone in seeing a rise in homelessness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that the U.S. has seen a 6 percent rise in homelessness since 2017–meaning that on any given night, there are more than 500,000 people on the streets.
“I would basically be on the street, you know, not having anywhere to stay or anyone to turn to,” said Autumn Sinclair, who’s been staying at Jackson Interfaith Shelter.
After escaping domestic abuse, Sinclair said she had nowhere to go until Jackson Interfaith Shelter took her in. She said she’s been to shelters before. “They immediately hook you up with LifeWays and help you get screened; that way, you can get help if you need it,” she said.
The shelter does much more than just provide a bed, Sinclair said. It hosts a job fair each week, to help people find work. But officials say there’s a problem: more people needing help than before.
“We are averaging seven or eight more people every night this year compared to last year, and meal-wise is where we have seen the biggest uptick,” said Steve Castle, CEO of Jackson Interfaith Shelter. “Typically we are averaging 4,000 meals a month and in the past few months we are up 2,000 meals, so it’s about 6,000 every month.”
Knowing the need in the community and wanting to provide better care to more people, the shelter is looking to expand. “You know, I think it’s time to create some different physical spaces for families, especially,” Castle said. “So that is stuff we are really looking at.”
Castle said with the expansion, they will be able to take in more people from the streets, but the goal remains the same: getting them on their feet.
“We want to see you come back and say, ‘I love my apartment,’ ‘my job has been great,’ or, ‘can I volunteer here at the shelter?'” said Castle.
The shelter said that to make the expansion a reality, it’s going to need your help, as 70% of its funding comes from donations. If you would like to help, you can find more information here.