City of Jackson works to get people out of the cold

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – A home for the holidays. The city of Jackson and the area’s homeless agencies are working on it.

Background: City of Jackson wants to fight homelessness

Homeless people in Jackson, like Wayne Mundy, said it was a daily struggle to find a warm place to stay.

“I’ve lived in my car for 3 years,” Mundy said.

He told News 10 that he couldn’t keep the heater on in his car because he didn’t have the money to do it.

“I get SSI and they bump it up to $914 a month in January, which is still not enough to rent an apartment on my own,” Mundy said. “The economy is just thousands too high. They need affordable housing.”

After calls for help from residents and local organizations, the Jackson City Council on Tuesday voted to use $10,000 from the federal government to put the homeless in a warm hotel room. Homeless people are already using the Jackson District Library as a warm-up center. Now the library is working with the city to bring those same people out of the cold for good.

“Help them access the form, fill it out, send it and receive it too. And we’re also working with other community members to help with transportation to the hotel, and that’s something anyone in our location can help with,” said Anne de Irala, community services coordinator at the Jackson District Library.

City spokesman Aaron Dimick told News 10 that they are looking at buying the old TA Wilson Academy and converting the vacant school building into affordable housing or other housing.

“It’s currently owned by the school district, but the city government has proposed buying the property and using some of our US bailout funds to remodel it,” Dimick said.

The Jackson City Council also set aside $3,000 to purchase winter gear for people like Mundy who choose to stay out in the cold.

“It’s really rough out here. I mean, especially in the winter months because you just can’t rent an apartment – I mean, it’s impossible. You just can’t do that with a paycheck. So I’m stuck in my vehicle,” Mundy said.

Stuck until the city finds a long-term solution to the homelessness problem.

The city told News 10 that 2 people were staying at a local hotel as of Thursday morning. They will hold a special meeting on December 20 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss next steps.

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