JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – While Hinds county authorities determine if cold weather led to the death of a Jackson woman, area agencies are offering help to another vulnerable group, the homeless.
Jackson shelters opened their doors Monday night to those without a warm place to stay.
The first full week of the New Year began with light snow, signaling an even colder night ahead.
Monday evening, as temperatures fell into the mid 20's Jackson's homeless looked for shelter for the night.
Fifty year old Patrick Payton was among the men turning to the Billy Brumfield House.
He said he has lived on the streets since 2008.
"It's warm. It's safe, and I know a lot of guys coming in not only to Brumfield but Gateway and all the others that are being open. So it's a good thing the city's doing for us," said Payton.
Up to 60 men will find not only have a warm place to sleep but a hot meal as well.
As the night wears on they are nearly reaching capacity.
"We've heard that emergency overflow shelters are going to open and maybe some of our usual people will go there. Now we have one couch and seven sleeping bags left," said Billy Brumfield House director Wilbert Logan.
New Jerusalem Church vans carried the overflow from the Gateway Rescue Mission and other areas to their gymnasium on Flowers Drive.
Since the church shelter opened the first week in December it's partnered with the city and others to provide food and a safe warm place to stay for the homeless.
The church has asked that we maintain the privacy of those who come here.
"We had one of the gentlemen tonight who lives under the bridge and his name is Twin, and I don't know if he minds me saying that but he's never been to a shelter, and he said, 'You know Miss Liza, my bones can't handle it anymore," said New Jerusalem Church spokesperson Eliza Garcia.
The American Red Cross has provided cots.
Church volunteers prepare meals, offer encouragement and resources to help them get established.
Men, women and couples have come to the shelter.
They are housed separately in the gymnasium.
"Tonight we're taking them to the Jackson State game. We've had a movie night for them, movie and popcorn night. So we're doing different things with them to give them a little diversity while they're here," added Garcia.
More than 100 people will seek shelter here this cold January night.
Organizers ask for assistance from other non-profit organizations and congregations.
The shelter is open daily six p.m. to six a.m.
If you need shelter or would like to help, call New Jerusalem Church at 601-720-5078.
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