Street-based outreach works to help the homeless community

Michigan

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)—Research from the US Council on homelessness shows that there are nearly 9,000 people currently living on the streets here in Michigan. This week one Lansing man joined that number voluntarily to help raise awareness on the conditions many are facing as temperatures drop.

“I wanted to be cold for a week, and I wanted to say hey there is still a great need and it’s greater than ever,” said Founder of Cardboard Prophets, Mike Karl.

Karl’s dedicated his life to helping people who are homeless, and for seven days, he put himself into the shoes of the people he’s working to serve while sleeping outside feeling unsafe, hungry, and out of luck with many shelters currently closed or at capacity because of the pandemic. He says what he saw was eye-opening.

“I’m seeing more kids, and I’m seeing more elderly that are out here on the streets of Lansing. Probably seen more people out here than I have since 2014,” said Karl.

Today Karl and volunteers from organizations across Lansing filled up Reutter park giving out free clothing and personal needs items doing anything they can do to help.

“Oh, the need has about quadrupled. There are a lot more people on the street this year and I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic or why,” said Karen, one of the volunteers.

Karl says he’s working to create a map of all the homeless camps in the area to allow him and other groups to be able to reach more people this winter.

“We’re going to try and find out where everyone’s at. Try to document so that we can start going to these camps again and trying to get help to these people that are out here in the City of Lansing,” said Karl.

Adding the nights spent outside alone are inspiring him to keep working to help the people that need it most.

“I’m telling you one thing. Being outside is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but to bring awareness to our community, it’s important,” said Karl.

With a growing need, groups are looking for donations, specifically warm clothes or blankets. For ways to help there is a link below.

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