LANSING, Mich. — A group of local nonprofits are taking former Teen Challenge Center of Willow Street in Lansing and turning it into safe place for people in the community to get life skills, a roof over their heads and the support they need.
The gray and white structure has been closed since 2017 but now two nonprofits have taken it over and plan to turn it into a multi-use building for teens and adults.
Those groups are the Advancement Corporation and Mi Just Cause.
“It will be a multi-use facility where we will house up to 50 individuals but also provide different supportive services like employment services, training services and food services out of this one location,” said Derrick Knox, of the Advancement Corporation.
Knox thinks offering support to people in the community will go a long way to helping curb violence in the city.
“One of the youth that was involved in the recent gun violence about a month or so ago he was in a living situation that he’s been trying to get out of. There was no place for him to go and he was really being pushed by his environment to commit violence,” Knox said.
Organizers involved with this project say they will offer shelter services to men first. There will also be an emergency shelter, and longer term options for people who need it.
On the second level of the building, clients will have the chance to live in an apartment of their own for up to a year while receiving financial literacy counseling. The goal is to have people transition from the long-term shelter into a house of their own.
But first, the work on the building has to be completed.
“So this project is going to take a lot of effort and collaboration from a lot of heping hands. We estimate that this project is going to take about $2 million for the first phase of it and upwards of $5 million before the smoke clears and we’re ready to serve all the community that we’re trying to serve,” said Darren Bollinger of MI Just Cause.
There is no firm date on when the shelter will open but organizers say they’d like to see that happen as soon as possible.