Homeless tent city residents near Ann Arbor will rally Thursday on Wagner Road
The commute along Wagner Road on Ann Arbor's west side should be a little more eventful than usual on Thursday afternoon.
AnnArbor.com file photo
“The rally is a demonstration of support for the camp,” said Peggy Lynch, who is on the board of directors for Michigan Itinerant Shelter System-Interdependent Out of Necessity (MISSION) a non-profit organization that helps support the tent city.
“We want the campers to know, the community to know, but especially government officials that we support this strongly and that it is needed,” Lynch said.
Camp Take Notice is located on Michigan Department of Transportation property and has been at that location for more than two years. MDOT director of communications Jeff Cranson said there is no immediate plan to force the camp out, but that it can’t stay forever.
“MDOT is not in the process of evicting, but we are working with (the Michigan State Housing Authority Development) to try and help provide alternatives,” Cranson said.
“It’s dangerous. It’s unsafe,” Cranson said of the camp’s current location. “We know (homelessness) is an issue in the country, state and Washtenaw County and feel we’ve been patient and compassionate We have been working very hard to find an amicable solution to a complex problem.”
Brian Durrance, who is also on MISSION’s board of directors, said there are 65 people residing in Camp Take Notice, its highest population since MISSION became involved in 2008. He said the average stay is 8-10 months.
“We want people to understand it is a unique form of group therapy. That’s why we’re so anxious to get the word out,” Durrance said.
Durrance hopes the rally can help keep Camp Take Notice in its current location, but recognizes that might not be realistic. His larger goal is rally support behind what is accomplished at Camp Take Notice
“We feel that we’re serving the community and we’d like to do that in a legitimate capacity, but we know that (MDOT) is very restricted in what they can offer,” he said.