Churches Band Together To Help The Homeless On The Coast

The Interfaith Hospitality Network is the first place on the coast for homeless families to go.

"Between Long Beach and Ocean Springs there was no place for homeless families. There were shelters for men and shelters for women but no place but nothing for families with children," the groups director, Kerry Clark, said.

Eighteen coast churches of different faiths rotate weekly to house, feed and care for homeless families at night. During the day they can come to a family center on Division Street and use that address to look for work and enroll their kids in school.

"Families that are homeless are pretty much invisible in the community," Back Bay Mission Director Morgan Gordy said. "You're not going to see them necessarily on the side of the street. They will live out of their cars; they will live out of storage buildings."

The building for the day center was donated by the Back Bay Mission. Most of the renovation work was done by Christmas in April volunteers and local businesses like Rhodes Carpet and Park Place Entertainment. But it's the churches and the daily volunteers like Marvel Luton that will be crucial in helping families become independent.

"Most of these organizations will take them in for a night and feed them maybe a couple of meals and then send them on their way," Luton said. "This is trying to help people become permanent residents and make homes for their family."

The Interfaith Hospitality Network is a private organization without federal funding and relies on the generosity and kindness of the community. If you would like to volunteer your time or anything else, you can call the local chapter of The Interfaith Hospitality Network at 432-7947.