Efforts to Raise Public Awareness of Homelessness Underway in JacksonBy Paul Boger | Published 18 Sep 2013 09:47am |
There were more than 2,300 homeless people living in Mississippi in 2011. That's according to a study released by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Now, efforts are underway to raise awareness of the state's homeless problem.
Roger Morrison from South Jackson, knows first hand what it's like to be homeless.
"Well, I've been on the streets now, homeless, for a about a year." said Morrison. "Us on the streets, we're always looking for places that provide food, clothes, shelter and what not."
This week in Jackson, Project Homeless Connect is assisting the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless. They are receiving basic provisions and services like meals, health screenings and help with housing assistance.
Yet, one of the larger goals is to raise public awareness of the homelessness problem in Jackson and around the state. Shelley Johnson is the Executive Director of Partners to End Homelessness.
"We've had people come in the door with Master's Degrees, and things such as illness has ended up actually being the cause of their homelessness." Johnson said. "I think a lot of people have a misconception that everybody is on drugs or alcohol, and that's their deal. In reality, it's 'I've lost my job, and I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, and now I've lost my house and I have no place to go."
Johnson says the homeless problem goes beyond Jackson.
"I can be you." said Johnson. "It can be you and we can not keep turning away and avoiding that we have homeless in our community." said Johnson. " We need to rally around these folks and prevent the causes of homelessness through education, through opportunity and to eliminate some of the barriers that result in folks ending up homeless."
Recent studies show that the number of homeless people living in Mississippi is on the decline.
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