Agency That Helps Homeless Needs Help Too - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/06/05

Agency That Helps Homeless Needs Help Too

Homeless people aren't the only ones looking for a roof over their heads at the Salvation Army in Gulfport. Apparently squirrels like it too.

"We've had some problems with squirrels who've eaten through some insulation and wiring," says Heather Fobar.

The Salvation Army says it will take almost three million dollars to replace the old, crowded, dingy buildings that shelter the homeless, not just in Gulfport but from Biloxi and Hancock and Pearl River Counties.

"Certainly, it's not a warm, welcoming place for people."

Some of the buildings date back to the 1940s and weren't designed as housing.

The agency envisions a sprawling 17,000 square foot center to lay its welcome mat. But representatives say they can't do it alone.

Major Darrell Kingsbury says, "We're beyond capacity in the sense that these buildings only handle so many and the homeless population exceeds that."

Colonel Jim Waters adds, "If you've been to these shelters it's one of the most inappropriate places I've seen to deal with this problem."

The Salvation Army is asking for a one time donation.

The Harrison County Supervisors commended the agency for helping the less fortunate. But District 3 Supervisor Marlin Ladner pointed out the board just committed a million dollars to a shared services center in Hancock County, and there are other commitments.

"There's gonna be a tremendous strain on this county's budget comin' up this year and some other obligations that we have," he says.

The supervisors say they can't make any promises, but did say they would consider the Salvation Army's request.

The agency will ask for money from Pearl River, Stone and Hancock Counties and from their cities.

by Marcia Hill

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