A Lansing resident’s experience helping the homeless and how you can help

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – There are people who may turn their heads when they see a homeless person. Others give money to those who panhandle on the street but the money you give may not always help the person, you’re giving it to.

The national alliance to end homelessness said about 419 people in Lansing have nowhere to go.

Related: Homeless shelters see an increase in homelessness

News 10 spoke with Lansing resident Jennifer Feldpausch about her experience helping a local homeless man. From the kindness of her heart, Feldpausch allowed the homeless man to stay because he was supposed to be getting housing assistance.

“I gave him a tote to put all of his stuff in, we gave him blankets and the community gave him clothes, coats, a couple of coats,” Feldpausch.

Her son works with the man, and he brought him home to the backyard shed for food and shelter. Feldpausch thought it would be a short stay and it turned out to be 5 days. She then called the police and board up her shed.

Lansing resident Feldpausch found drugs on her property and that led to the decision to kick the homeless man out.

Access to affordable housing, mental health, and addiction have all led to an increase in homelessness. Addiction is something that hits close to home for Feldpausch. She knows the need to help those struggling because of her own son.

“People use because they, I mean, it numbs them. They’re not going to feel the cold as much as you and I can. 5:00 other times they’re just trying to drown out everything they’re going through, whether that be abuse that they’ve had, any kind of trauma and that’s what they’re using for,” said Feldpausch.

While there may be a stigma around homelessness, homeless shelters said it’s not always visible, especially for a lot of families.

“Most families don’t have an emergency fund saved up and so if there’s a sudden loss of income or is that an emergency expense, that can be the difference between being able to pay rent and needing to face an eviction,” said Gabriel Biber , Haven House executive director.

Biber continues to say that most families do not have an emergency fund saved up and so if there is a sudden loss of income or an emergency expense, that can be the difference between being able to pay rent and needing to face eviction.

Shelters want to provide a safe space. However, their goal is to get individuals and families into homes permanently.

When it comes to providing direct assistance, homeless shelters say the best way is to go through a shelter or organization.

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