LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – For the past year and a half, Robin Nolan has been camping in the woods in Lansing. But two weeks ago, a flood caused by melting snow came quickly and destroyed most of her belongings.
“All the water, right where the ends of these two trees meet, indicates how high the water was,” Nolan said. And it’s not just a recent experience for her: Nolan has been homeless on and off for the past 7 years.
It’s been a difficult life for Nolan: he grew up in the foster care system, battled addiction, and then found himself on the streets of Lansing.
“I was one of the ones that went out during the day, did what I had to do, get things like food and things to share with everyone at camp,” Nolan said. “I went back, collected firewood, cleaned the camp and started making a fire.”
In more than a year at the homeless camp, Nolan built lifelong bonds with the people he stayed with. But living on the streets is a difficult task, as demonstrated by the recent flooding.
“Everything I tried to save for when I got somewhere, my thread, my boots, everything,” Nolan said.
And then there is the constant threat of being assaulted. “We have to look over our shoulders and worry about whether someone will come to our store and rape us, beat us, or drag us out of our store and into human trafficking,” Nolan said.
Their luck changed recently, when a team that was helping the homeless found their camp and began helping the occupants find accommodation.
Then, the day after the flood destroyed Nolan’s camp, he discovered that the team had gotten him an apartment, his first in seven years.
“I’m so grateful for them,” Nolan said, “because, like I said, if it wasn’t for them and one of my friends, I wouldn’t be here right now, and it’s a real blessing to have them.” Angels like that, really.”
Moving forward, Nolan looks to continue his sobriety, hoping to reconnect with his daughter who just turned 18.