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New "no barrier" shelter opens in Lansing

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The largest homeless shelter in the capital area recently opened a new “no barrier” shelter in an effort to help the most vulnerable in the homeless community find warmth.

The City Rescue Mission of Lansing says it typically hosts a total 140 overnight guests at its two traditional shelters.

It also recently opened an overnight space called the Outreach.

Mark Criss is with the City Rescue mission of Lansing.

He says this shelter caters to those who don’t do well with the structure and rules of a traditional shelter.

“A lot of people that just can’t function because of mental illness are able to be successful at the Outreach,” says Criss.

Also, Wednesday night many cities in Michigan had been slated to conduct their annual count of the homeless.

The count is required by the federal government.

Gerry Leslie is with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness.

He says there are some pluses to holding the count during such a cold period.

“It really has put an acute focus on making sure communities are doing something to address those who may be homeless during this window of time where they otherwise may be outside in the elements,” he says.

Leslie adds holding the count in January gives the most accurate snap shot of the homeless situation since people are seeking shelter and are easier to find.