Ocean Springs exploring program to combat homelessness

Ocean Springs exploring program to combat homelessness
(Photo Source: WLOX News Now)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It's a simple concept. Offer the homeless a job, and it may get them off the streets. It's a program Ocean Springs is considering, and it's designed to help people, like 19-year-old Jordan McClain.

"I just chose the wrong path, and it's led me to be homeless," McClain said.

Just like a growing number of others in the City of Discovery, McClain is struggling to find housing, looking for work, and scraping for a daily meal.

"People don't like being homeless," he said.

The solution, or at least a piece of it, that the city is looking at is an initiative called A Better Way. It has worked in Albuquerque, NM, and former Mayor Connie Moran believes it'll work here, too.

"I proposed to the board at the last meeting a six-month pilot program they could take in two phases, $5,000 each stage. That money would be granted to a local nonprofit," Moran said.
The nonprofit would coordinate the details, where the majority of work would be assisting the city's understaffed public works department.

"Just to pick up trash and weeds and blow leaves off the sidewalks and simple tasks like that," Moran said.

People, like Diane Easley, who work to get others out of homelessness and back on their feet hope the board will give it a try.

"I'm well aware that everyone who we would like to take advantage of it, but probably won't, but there will be some people that I think can use this kind of program as a bridge," Easley said.

It's a bridge McClain hopes appears.

"If the plan comes into action, I'd be willing to do that. It doesn't matter what I'll be doing. It's a job," McClain said.

McClain says there's plenty of others who will take advantage of the opportunity, too.

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