A statewide campaign is setting out on a statewide tour in an effort to end a growing statewide problem.
"There is a crisis," said Tuwanna Williams, who is leading the effort to end child homelessness in the Magnolia State.
As the state coordinator for the Mississippi Campaign to End Child Homelessness, Williams says the organizations upcoming community meeting and listening tour is more than just about taking a message on the road.
"It's going to teach us how to implement the recommendations that we've already laid," said Williams.
On average, the Magnolia State sees more than 12,000 homeless children a year, including those living with other families, in foster care or shelter agencies. By making stops along the Gulf Cost, the Pinebelt, the Delta and the Capitol City, Williams wants to not only hear from the public in general, but those who are in fact homeless, to get a better understanding.
"Sometimes we think we know all of the reasons, we think we know all of the steps and this is how you could have prevented it," said Williams.
Once the tour is completed and all of the input compiled, it'll find it's way to the state capitol urging lawmakers to take action. Williams hopes new legislation will create a central agency to help make sure the state's children are taken care of.
A recent national report card ranked Mississippi as number 41 in dealing with child homelessness, with 50 being the worst.
"In Mississippi we have the resources that we need, we're just not working together to put those resources together and to help the homeless community," said Williams.
The tour will kick off later this week on the coast, making its way around the state, before concluding mid-August in Jackson.
For a list of dates and locations, click here: http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/media/147.pdf
Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.