Helping the homeless: local group is providing shelters no matter what

Temperatures are cooling off, and most of us have homes to go to adjust the thermostat

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Temperatures are cooling off, and most of us have homes to go to adjust the thermostat. Others aren’t as fortunate.

Warming shelters are up and running in Tupelo but in the Golden Triangle plans for warming, shelters are temporarily on hold. That has forced members of the homeless coalition to make adjustments.

Susan Garton, president of the golden triangle regional homeless coalition, said each year around this time she and her team see close to 500 people living out of their cars.

“But as far as legitimately homeless, on the streets, park benches, public bathrooms things of that sort we have anywhere in between 250 to 400 this time of year,” said Garton.

Garton said temperatures are dropping, and her team has hit some snags opening a seasonal warming shelter this year.

“Right now we’re doing hotels and in February we will have a shelter open. It takes us months of planning to get a shelter ready so we’ve already started that planning process and we don’t have a location yet and that’s because right now the city buildings are being designated to other programs or construction,” said Garton.

To make things more complicated, the Homeless population in the Golden Triangle isn’t completely local. Garton said there are people from other parts of the state and even from across the state line.

“We have people coming in from Vernon we have people coming in from Starkville we have people coming in from Monroe County, We have them everywhere. Tuscaloosa’s salvation army shelter recently shut down and Meridian has an all-men’s shelter and it has recently shut down as well so we have them migrating to Columbus,” said Garton.

Garton encourages anyone who knows or sees someone who is or may be homeless to contact the Golden Triangle Regional Homeless Coalition; that number is 662-549-2643.

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