Cold threatening homeless not just an urban problem

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — As the threat of the some of the coldest temperatures in a long time bear down on West Michigan, attention turns to those least able to keep warm – the homeless.

Homelessness isn’t just an urban problem, it hits even in places like Holland where the lakeshore community is bracing for the deep freeze to come.

The homeless in Holland are not on every major intersection as you see in many larger cities.

Racheal Neal, development director for the Holland Rescue Mission, says they are there.

“You’ll find them in tent encampments in the woods, sometimes staying under the overpass, sleeping in their cars, which is just really dangerous this time of year,” Neal Told 24 Hour News 8.

The Holland Rescue Mission is not unlike the shelters in the larger urban areas of Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Kalamazoo in that they want to provide homeless people with more than just a place to stay.

 “We really want to help people get a job, save their money and move out, but obviously when the cold temperatures are as bad as they are right now, we’re more open to allowing people to come who don’t plan to stay with us,” Neal said.  “One woman that came in at 3:30 in the morning because she just couldn’t bear the cold any more, she was attempting to sleep in her car.”

Full story: WOOD TV

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