Owosso homeless shelters face bed bug problem
Originally sourced from ABC 12
"Owosso (WJRT) - (10/23/17) - Bed bugs! Just the thought of them makes your skin crawl.
And once you get them getting rid of the them isn't easy. A small bug is causing big problems in Owosso. And that will affect the homeless who depend on wintertime shelters.
"One part of the homeless population is infested with bedbugs. It just presented a huge problem," said Pastor George Zornow of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
For the past two winters an organization known as Walls of Warmth has set up a series of shelters in Owosso area churches. There those down on their luck could get a warm meal and a place to sleep. But they could bring some unwanted creatures with them.
"We don't know how to deal with that kind of a situation. Bed bugs are very difficult to deal with. They're very hard to kill. You just can't fumigate," said Zornow.
The fear is bed bugs could infest church buildings and sneak a ride home with the volunteer staff. So the organizers of Walls of Warmth have decided they won't be able to operate the shelters in the Owosso area this winter.
'It's heartbreaking because this was a group of people here in Owosso that really cares," said Zornow.
And they're concerned about the health and safety of the homeless. Last year as many as 25 men, women and children each night would be in the shelters.
"It's not like it's their fault. They're out there. They're stuck outside. They're in the elements," said Zornow.
Walls of Warmth will be looking at ways of bringing to the homeless the help they need.
"Perhaps provide better sleeping bags for better warmth. Maybe if we can get the financing provide more insulated tents, distribute food more directly instead of them coming into the church," said Zornow.
Organizers haven't given up hope and they'll be looking for answers to be able to reopen the shelters."