City Official: “The biggest barrier for poor people is some of the policies that exist”

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Volunteers combed the Lansing area on Wednesday night to track down homeless people who need help this winter.

They found 33 people who didn’t have a place to go, but they are just a small percentage of the people facing homelessness.

Six news, spoke to a family who’s is experiencing it first hand and the people who are working to help them.

“When you see someone homeless and you see they got a kid, that should be the first thing you try to do, you try to help them, not just the family but the kid.” Sampson Hall said.

Twenty six year old, Sampson Hall shared his story of struggle, as he fights to find a home for him and his one year old son.

“Our credit right now it’s, it’s not good. And what they’re requiring us to have to move into an apartment, it seems like we can’t meet the requirements” Hall said, as he explains the loops he’s gone through to try to find a stable home.

Hall is just one of the more than four thousand people in Lansing who are homeless

“It’s really hard to get housing because you have to jump through so many loops and hoops” Hall said.

He tells six news there’s more to applying for housing than people know, “Let’s see you gotta do your credit check. You need four W2’s. You need W2’s from four years ago. Landlord references…” Hall said.

Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson is the Director for the City of Lansing Human Relations and Services.

According to her one of the biggest problems with homeless are ineffective policies.

“The biggest barrier for poor people is some of the policies that exist” Dr. Johnson said.

According to Johnson policies such as Public Act 615 are shown to contribute to homelessness.

In Public Act 615, financial assistance for utilities during the months of October to April are not provided.

In Lansing if you cannot pay for heat, water and electricity, your house can be tagged for being unsafe to live in.

“And the end result is if you’re poor, if you’re not paying your rent because your house is tagged, because of lack of utilities, you’ll end up homeless” Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson said.

Johnson believes the change starts with education and letters to policy makers.

“To write letters, to do what we have to do, to testify to say someone needs to take a look at this.” Johnson said.

If you need help, or would like to help please contact Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson at  http://www.lansingmi.gov/hrcs/.

 

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