Providing shelter for those in need on a snowy day

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-  Snow can be fun and exciting. It can bring happy, lifelong memories to many families throughout the area.

But for some people, the snow is not fun. It’s cold and sometimes dangerous for those without proper shelter.

Volunteers who work with the area homeless population have had their work cut out for them this year.

The snow has ceased to fall, but there are more cold days to come and without a homeless shelter, outreach officials have had to adjust their placement for those in need.

“This year because of covid we can’t open the shelter so we have to put everybody you know, needy families unsheltered citizens and then even people that have had electrical or even water cut off in their homes we have to put them in the hotel” said Vice Pres. of GTRHCI Susan Garton.

Garton says closing the shelter and moving people into hotels has been challenging to say the least.

” It’s outrageous we have seen a drastic difference we were spending about $1000 dollars a month on hotels and now we’re reaching close to $5000 dollars a month” said Garton

Garton says they’ve partnered with restaurants and eateries such as Jacks, Hardees,and Loaves and fishes to supply food with Red Roof Inn being the primary hotel they use because of their flexibility.

” Some people are there for 2 weeks some people are there for 2 days so it really puts a pinch on our pennies and how far we can stretch that” said Garton

With covid causing the shelter to close, the outreach community has seen an increase in people staying with them.

“Last year I want to say less than 50 people were coming to us in the shelter and now I think just within 2 or 3 months we’ve helped over 100” said Garton.

Glenda Richardson is the director of community out reach in Columbus and she is eager to open the shelter

“When life returns to some type of normalcy we will have the shelter open again” said Richardson

Richardson encourages that if you or someone you know is in need of shelter to not hesitate to contact them especially on a cold snowy day like today.

“Just make sure you’re checking on your neighbors the elderly, the ones that you know are without right now. On a snowy day like this we are hoping that everybody’s staying in and not just walking around unnecessarily and if there are some people unsheltered to contact us and let us see how they can get shelter during this time.

Contacting Richardson or other community outreach official please call 662-634-1850.

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