Back Bay Mission Of Biloxi Hosts An Event To Help Give The Homeless A Hand

For James Quintano, being homeless is something he now knows quite well.  A former renter, now Quintano finds himself in a place he can't seem to get out of.

"After Katrina everything stopped lost everything stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'm basically living in a tent on my friends back porch and that only happened three days ago. Other than that I was sleeping on park benches. Thank God the weather got cool, and I found a friend," says Quintano.

He met a friend through another mutal friend who has given him temporary refuge on his back pork.  Like Quintano, many renters find themselves in a similar situation across South Mississippi.  But, there were those who were in Quintano's situation before the storm.

Scott Williams of Back Bay Mission in Biloxi says the problem didn't go away with the storm and the homeless need help wherever the community can provide it.

"The homeless in our county have no place to eat on the weekends so we thought 'let's provide a meal for them cause it's really all about their needs and what we do for them.'"

The organization held an event Saturday to help people like James get a few of the basic resources they so desperately need.

With the help of the IP hotel and casino, Back Bay mission handed out meals of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. Free clothes along with information on mental health and family clinic services were being handed out.  Williams says these resources are needed even more after the storm because the homeless simply have no place to go.

"Like with so many people's homes and businesses the homeless shelters were pretty much wiped out," says Williams.

But the Back Bay Mission is doing what it can to get some of the homeless off the street through an apartment program it runs with help from HUD.

"We call it Home At Last or H.O.W which HUD lets us fund through a grant with them 12 apartments nine of those are filled and one will probably be filled Monday," says Williams.

Before the storm, Williams says the his organization was working with the city of Biloxi to plot out a ten year plan to end homelessness.  The storm put a halt to those plans, but Williams says his group will be ready to jump back on board whenever those plans get moving again.

While all of this might be good news to those like Quintano looking for a little help, he says there's only one thing he can do for now.

"Take one day at time. One day at a time that the way you got to do it. that's the only to do it. That's the only way I've been doing it for about a year now, just take one day at a time," says Quintano.