EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Haven House in East Lansing typically provides on-site shelter services and offers other places for families to stay like hotels.

But a lack of workers is forcing the organization to only place families off-site.

While Haven House is required to have certain staff members while families are onsite, the current lack of workers means empty beds. And one community advocate said he wants to use those beds to get people out of the cold.

“I was contacted by a couple of families that are staying with Haven House, and they said they are staying in hotels,” President and Founder of the Cardboard Prophets Mike Karl said.

While Karl works to battle homelessness in the area, he said he wants to help.

“Can we come up with some kind of compromise to get these families that are on the street into these empty beds, and I’m more than willing to help myself,” Karl said.

Officials with Haven House said people still receive a full range of services both on and off-site.

“Because of a critical staffing shortage among our frontline workers, and we are required by our funders and other regulations to have staff here when families are onsite,” Executive Director at Haven House Gabriel Biber said. “We are unable to offer the onsite shelter at this point so we are ensuring that we continue to maintain our capacity to serve seven families through that off-site hotel partner model.”

Regardless, Karl said something needs to be done to get people out of the cold and into the beds not being used.

“We’re all in one struggle or another, and I understand that it’s hard, life is hard out there. But we have families that are out in the cold, and we need to get them into those beds,” Karl said.

Biber said while they search for staff, they’re looking to use the time to make improvements.

“At times when families are off-site, we’re going through regularly scheduled maintenance, preventative maintenance. The last time we had an extended time of families off-site, we did a major renovation to all of our bathrooms and living spaces, something that could not be done with families on-site,” Biber said.

Haven House is looking for both a full-time and a part-time shelter coordinator, they hope to have them hired and trained in just a few weeks.