Emergency shelters help homeless cope in extreme cold - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Emergency shelters help homeless cope in extreme cold

Roslyn Anderson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A cold air mass reached far into the deep south Monday bringing below freezing temperatures to central Mississippi.

With temperatures and wind chills expected to fall into the teens overnight many without a warm home turned to shelters.

Fifty year old Barry Brown was among the dozens who sought shelter at Stewpot's Opportunity Center.

They've given him jacket, hat and gloves.

The items were donated to the center.

"All this right here is brand new that they gave me. It's nice. It's clean. It's decent. They help people the best they can. They feed you. It's a place you can come for sleep,"said Brown.

The Opportunity Center opens as an emergency shelter when others like the Billy Brumfield House and Gateway Rescue Mission reach capacity.

Officials say that is becoming more common.

"We're seeing not only just our everyday always homeless people, we're also seeing those who can't afford heat or their gas is turned off. Things like that so those who kind of are on the border of being homeless," said center director Heather Ivery.

The center can provide space for up to 75.

They have 50 cots while blankets and others items can be used for additional bedding.

During the day while taking refuge from the cold the homeless can also work on improving their lives.

There are 13 computers in the computer lab at the Opportunity Center.

One is specifically dedicated to the WIN Job Center for employment searches.

The center also helps with basic necessities.

Monday afternoon 52 year old Sammie Johnson was doing his laundry.

"They provide us a place to come wash our clothes, take a shower. You know keep ourselves together. So many people up under bridges and stuff like that. It gives them a chance to come in and get out of the cold, because it's cold out there at night," said Johnson.

Stewpot's Opportunity Center needs warm clothing, hats, gloves, blankets, laundry detergent, soap and shampoo.

If you would like to donate it is located at 845 West Amite Street.

You can also call 601-949-3540.

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