As officials brought together resources for the homeless at Lansing’s City Hall today, they reflected on the latest annual report from Greater Lansing’s Homeless Resolution Network.
In 2017 more than 5000 people were homeless in Lansing, a one percent drop from the previous year. More than half were African-American, and nearly a third were children. A large proportion of Lansing’s homeless population reported some kind of disability or mental illness, according to the report.
Mayor Andy Schor says he wants the numbers to decrease for all demographics.
“We want to help the millennial, we want to help the seniors, the families, we want to help those that don’t have homes,” Schor said. “We want everybody to thrive in Lansing.”
Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson says homelessness in the city has to be solved with more than free bus passes, meals and flu shots.
“With mental health…there have been continuous cuts across the state, across the U.S.,” Johnson said, “and it has hurt, in many ways, people with longstanding chronic problems with mental illness.”
But city officials say that in addition to getting more financial support, they need to re-evaluate how they get those resources to Lansing’s homeless population.
“That’s what we need to do, is to truly dissect the problems and begin to address those differently,” Johnson. “Because the way that we’ve been doing business has not provided the outcomes that we need.”