30 Life O'Riley Families Remain in Hotels, Temporary Housing
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Nearly two weeks after 85 families were forced out of their homes at Life O'Riley Mobile Home Park in Lansing, 30 remain in hotels, or temporary housing.
The city of Lansing is still struggling to make life better for them. Ingham County Health Department condemned the park, saying it's too dirty and unsafe for people to live there. The city's Director of Human Relations and Community Services says she's still working to find dozens of people a safe and affordable place to live.
"The placements have not come as quickly as we've wanted," said Joan Jackson Johnson. "We've had a lot of families with animals that they weren't willing to separate from, and pit bulls are not really wanted many places."
Jackson Johnson says the families have been through a lot. They suddenly became homeless, losing their dignity, their bug-infested belongings, and a sense of security.
"The overall challenge for families there, and the solution to some of the challenges that they face, is not simply just a house. We really need to look at long term, empowering people and exposing them to resources within the community that hopefully would never allow them to fall victims as they have to the Life O'Riley individuals."
The city says it's spent thousands of dollars helping those who lost their homes. Other local, county, and state agencies are kicking in money too, but the price tag is still growing. Jackson Johnson says some families may need help for up to a year.
"The Mayor has said we need to do what we need to do because every citizen in the city of Lansing should be entitled to a safe, healthy lifestyle, and that didn't exist there."
Jackson Johnson says a meeting is planned for Tuesday, March 25th, for community leaders and agencies to share information on Life O'Riley placements. Many of the families are working with a free legal aid service, to seek action against the owner of the mobile home park.