Ocean Springs leaders take action toward relieving homelessness

Almost a year ago, Ocean Springs city leaders finally acted toward fighting homelessness in the city.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs Homeless Council presented the Board of Aldermen with recommendations to help the city’s homeless problem.

Almost a year ago, Ocean Springs city leaders finally acted toward fighting homelessness in the city. They assigned community volunteers to come up with solutions based on research.

It took around six months for the council to present possible solutions. Chairperson of the Homeless Task Force Melanie Allen said they spoke to homeless people during the process.

“One of the first things we did was members of our team went to go talk to some of the folks. We know downtown. Many of us not only recognize these folks, but we also know their names, we know where they stay. Some of them are veterans, some of them have mental health issues,” Allen said.

The long list of recommendations includes hiring a homeless outreach coordinator to be in charge of providing help and having a community resource center.

“It can be a great start for us. I also think a resource center is excellent because we don’t only want to help those who are homeless but those who are on the verge of being homeless,” Allen said.

During the meeting, Dr. Mike Barnett mentioned it’s easier to find shelters for abandoned dogs than it is to find shelters for people.

The council also suggested looking into problem areas, like Marshall Park, train tracks and under the bridge on Highway 90.

If approved Marshall Park will have a fence, improved lighting, and additional signage with rules for visitors.

Barnett said the goal is to help as many people as possible.

“If they live here in these city limits, whether it’s sleeping under a bridge or in the woods, they are citizens and they’re our neighbors and we have a responsibility to give them a hand up and help them and administer to them, just like we do anybody else,” Barnett said.

The Board of Alderman is now going to review to see what changes they want for the city.

Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Copyright 2022 WLOX. All rights reserved.