Our Neighbors in Action segment today marks National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The leader of one local organization has something in store to help spread awareness about homelessness. Mike Karl of Homeless Angels is living on the streets of Lansing all week with a camera, and livestreaming his experience to give the public a firsthand look at life on the streets.
What does homelessness look like? Homeless Angels founder Mike Karl wants to show you.
For the past several years, Karl has spent a week living on the streets of Lansing with his camera, livestreaming his experience to give the public a firsthand look at life on the streets. He’s doing it again this year in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
Mike Karl first told us his story on a Current State Neighbors in Action segment in May of 2014.
EDITED INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS
You’ve done this ‘week on the streets’ for a few years now. How does this year’s experience compare with recent years?
I’ve noticed there is a lot less people out on the street, which is a good thing. But there are still people that are living out there on the streets and we can’t forget them because too often we walk by when we’re getting our coffee and these people are invisible. What we want to do with this week and everyday really is put a face, put a name and put a story with someone. They deserve to have their story told.
What do you want the community to know about homelessness?
That it can happen to anyone. I’ve seen lawyers. I’ve seen nurses. I’ve seen grandparents that have lost everything…and they were left. But also there’s children out there that age out of the foster care system (and) runaways. Everybody deserves love and I think that if we reach out and see these stories, we can change somebody’s life.
How can members of the community help?
They can participate in our upcoming events including the Homeless Thanksgiving Meals program at the Magnuson Hotel (in Lansing). There (are) also opportunities in our upcoming Christmas program that allows people to directly adopt homeless kids. Some of these kids think that there’s no Christmas, there’s no Santa and we want to change that.