Biloxi shelter serves as a warm refuge from the freezing cold

Biloxi shelter serves as a warm refuge from the freezing cold

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When the cold weather shelter in D'Iberville closes for the day, the people who spent the night there load onto CTA buses that take them to Seashore Mission in Biloxi.

There, they get the chance to spend a few hours escaping the frigid elements.

"We really don't have any place to go after these places close, and it's just you know, we try to stay out of trouble but some people don't want us sitting on the benches," said Tracy Daniel, a woman who regularly spends the days at Seashore Mission.

Judy Cottrell, the Director of the mission, has piping hot food cooking when the buses arrive.

She makes it her personal mission to see to it everyone gets a warm meal. Laundry rooms and showers are also available to anybody who requests one.

Last winter, Harrison County's cold weather shelters were open for 14 days. This winter they've been open for 23 days, and counting, since the chilly temperatures are expected to continue to roll in.

Despite the challenges that come with operating a shelter for a prolonged time, the workers at Seashore say they're finding ways to manage.

"We're maxing out around 70 at the shelter, but I assume there will be some others that come in," said Cottrell.

The high influx of people passing through each day coupled with the severe threat of winter illnesses that are going around, makes keeping everything clean a high priority.

"We do keep the sanitizer out and we do clean the tables with Clorox and different things to try to keep the tables sanitized. Everybody's got a cough. We haven't witnessed so much the flu, a lot of head cold, pneumonia, walking pneumonia. That type of thing," replied Cottrell.

She believes that having a warm heart is just as important as having a warm shelter.

Before the buses come back to bring the people back to D'Iberville for the night, Cottrell passes out knitted caps, sock, and gloves to provide an added defense against the bitter cold.

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