GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Introduction
When you think of a homeless person, you probably think of an older man, dirty on the street. Maybe he's got a problem with alcohol, drugs, mental illness, or all three.
But in West Michigan, 80% of families in shelters are working men and women who still can't afford housing. And their children. Kids whose only meals are at school.
The familes stay with friends and family as long as they can. Maybe jump from church to church with programs to give them a place to stay for a short period of time. Others live out of their vehicles. Whatever they have to do to keep a roof over their heads.
These families aren't out there begging for help with cup in hand. They're working hard to make it. They don't need your coins, they need change. And we at WZZM 13 hope by bringing this issue to the forefront, examining the causes, and showing some of the solutions, we as a community can come together and make that change happen.
And help these people with no place to call home.
We're exploring many pieces of this emotional issue over the course of the week.
5 p.m. There are many families in West Michigan that have no place to call home. And most of those families have parents who are working but still cannot afford a place to stay. WZZM 13's David Bailey explains why we're focusing so much on this issue.
6 p.m. The numbers are surprising. There are forty-thousand homeless children in Michigan. We follow a mother and her four children while they search for try to find a place to call home.
5 p.m. Take a tour of a high school in Muskegon that has a college-style dorm for high school students who need stable housing. See how it allows students to stay in school and focus on graduating. The school believes at times 15-20% of their students are either homeless, moving between living locations, or couch-surfing.
6 .p.m. Did you know each school district is required to have someone whose job is to assist students who are homeless? But many districts are failing.
6 a.m. Out of 25,000 homes in Grand Rapids, only 175 are for sale. This is one of the tightest rental market in the nation. We look at why we are facing is a housing crisis of epic proportions. This hurts those at the bottom of the economic ladder the worst leading to more working homeless.
5 p.m. You've seen why housing is so costly in West Michigan. Now follow a mother who has finally got a place to call home. We highlight the resources and the work being done to help people like her affordable housing.
6 p.m. One of the barriers to getting a place to call home are high application fees. When you don't have much, these high fees just to apply for housing can cripple you. What can be done to make it easier to find a place to call home?
5 p.m. We're going live from the United Way to show many of the ways you can help people with no place to call home.
6 p.m. When you think homeless, you think welfare. There's a government program to help but it's getting almost no use because it takes so much work to get, and the money isn't enough to cover the high cost of even basic housing.
11 p.m. The struggle to giving teen boys a place to call home. One woman is pushing the city of Holland to let her create a safe haven to provide help but is facing many roadblocks.
6 p.m. A fun and easy way you and your coworkers can help make a difference in a child's life.