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Lansing mayor declares housing emergency after hotel moves to evict homeless

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero

Lansing’s mayor has taken the unusual step of declaring a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

Mayor VirgBernero declared the emergency after a hotel on the city's south side informed dozens of residents they will be evicted in the next few weeks.

The hotel is often used by agencies to place Lansing’s homeless. There are currently nearly 90 homeless people staying at the hotel, including 33 children. 

“We will use every legal tool at our disposal to prevent the owners of this facility from chaining the doors,” says Bernero.

Bernero’s declaration will make displaced residents eligible for priority placement at federally­ funded public housing units managed by the Lansing Housing Commission.

“This unexpected mass dislocation represents an enormous challenge because there are simply not enough beds in our existing shelters,” says Joan Jackson Johnson, Lansing Human Relations and Community Services Director.

Meanwhile, the city attorney will see if the hotel’s closure can be legally delayed.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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