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Woman Made Her Home Inside a Grocery Store’s Rooftop Sign, Police Say

A woman found living in the rooftop sign of a Michigan grocery store had furnished her small space with a floor, a Keurig coffee maker and a computer, authorities said.

The unidentified 34-year-old woman, who was not officially charged with anything, had lived there for about a year, Brennon Warren, a spokesman for the Midland, Michigan, Police Department, said in an email.

Police were called by store staff on April 23 around 2 p.m. after contractors working on the roof found her, Officer Warren said.

It’s unclear how she got up and walked into the triangular sign on the roof of a Family Fare store, he said, estimating the building was between 15 and 20 feet tall and the space where she lived between 10 and 15 feet. feet in length, five feet in width, and about six to eight feet “at its highest peak.”

She was told she was not allowed to live there and left without incident, Officer Warren said. He noted that “the store was going to work with her to get all of her belongings back later.”

In addition to the flooring, Keurig and computer, the woman also had a mini-desk, printer, pantry and other miscellaneous items inside the store, she said. he declares. He didn’t remember exactly what bedding she had.

“Personally, I have never encountered a situation like this, and neither have my colleagues,” Officer Warren said.

The woman was given information about homeless services in the area, but “she didn’t want any of those services,” he said.

SpartanNash, the company that operates Family Fare, said in a statement that it was “proud of our associates for responding to this situation with the utmost compassion and professionalism.”

The statement continued: “Ensuring there is sufficient safe and affordable housing continues to be a prevalent issue across the country and one that our community must come together to solve. Out of respect for the privacy of the person involved, we will not share further comments. »

Saralyn Temple, executive director of Midland’s Open Door, a crisis shelter and soup kitchen, said her organization has seen an increase in people seeking help “in a variety of ways.”

Ms Temple said that last year the organization regularly saw around 40 people come for lunch. “Now we see people from the 50s every day for lunch,” she said.

“The reality is that people live in very unique places,” Ms Temple said. “While living in the Family Fare sign is a sensational thing, it is not something new to those of us who work with the homeless community.”

The organization sees “every week people who are living in tents in the woods, or living in their cars, or living in storage units,” she said. “So people are resorting to all kinds of things that are not safe in any way. »

Midland is about 130 miles northwest of Detroit. The city had about 42,500 residents in 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, and about 9% of its residents lived in poverty.

Living below the poverty line often makes people “invisible”, Ms Temple said, and can mask the extent of people’s housing and food needs.

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