[Hpn] ALERT: Lansing MI flattens shantytown, evicts squatters FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 04 Nov 2000 14:32:15 -0800 (PST)

Who has details or can help homeless squatters in Lansing, Michigan, USA?

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Oct 31, 2000


LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Bulldozers leveled a shantytown for
homeless people after a stabbing near the makeshift homes earlier
this month.

City officials evicted about 40 homeless people from the
property between last Thursday and Monday. Dubbed ``the back 40,''
the collection of two camps of tents _ some made of blue
construction tarps and worn-out furniture _ was cleared.

On Oct. 7, Arthur Ryan was stabbed in the chest outside the
Volunteers of America homeless shelter. The shelter is adjacent to
the shantytown.

Ryan was in good condition Tuesday at Sparrow Hospital. Both men
had been staying in the shantytown.

``I think (the eviction) was provoked by the stabbing,'' said
James Gorman, director of social services for Volunteers of
America, a nonprofit organization that shelters homeless people
among other services.

Lansing is home to an estimated 400 homeless people, said David
Wiener, executive assistant to Mayor David Hollister.

Lansing police Lt. Raymond Hall said the stabbing was an
isolated incident, and that the homeless people in the back 40
caused few problems.

``The homeless issue is ongoing, and we're not going to be able
to resolve it by moving a little colony,'' Hall said. ``It's more
of a social issue, and it's not cured by displacing them.''

Wiener said the eviction was prompted by a call to the city.

``It's private property. We have a responsibility then to tell
them to move,'' Wiener told the Lansing State Journal. He said it's
the second eviction of homeless people by the city in six years.

The property is owned by Sam X. Eyde, a Lansing developer. Eyde
couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

AP-CS-10-31-00 2254EST
Received  Id AP1003058F9B15E8 on Nov 01 2000 12:28


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