Bill aims to offer mobile hygiene unit to Jackson homeless popul - - Jackson, MS

Bill aims to offer mobile hygiene unit to Jackson homeless population

(Source: WLBT/ Fox 40 News) (Source: WLBT/ Fox 40 News)
JACKSON METRO AREA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A new service could be made available to the homeless community in the Jackson area. This week, House Bill 124 was introduced in the Mississippi Legislature and was forwarded to the Public Health and Human Services and Appropriations committees.

Representative Christopher Bell wrote the bill which aims to create a mobile personal hygiene pilot program that will provide bathroom facilities and mental health services to homeless Mississippians.

The bill states the 3-year pilot program will be a collaboration between the Jackson State University School of Public Health and the Aaron and Ollye Shirley Foundation.

Bell said he was inspired to write the bill after seeing the services Lava Mae provided to the homeless community in San Francisco, California.

“They re-fitted a city bus with a washing machine and dryer and a shower,” said Bell. “It gives the individuals who are going on those buses an opportunity to clean themselves up first and foremost, as well as their clothes and at one point, it gives them an opportunity to have their mental health evaluated by professionals.”

Bell said since mental health is of high importance in Mississippi and other parts of the country, he felt this would be a great opportunity for the Jackson State University School of Public Health, the City of Jackson, and Region 9 of the Hinds Behavioral Health Services to come together and serve the homeless population of Jackson.

Although the City of Jackson already has organizations that serve the homeless community, Bell said this pilot program would allow mental health professionals to expand their reach to homeless people they may not normally get to see.

“it gives them an opportunity to talk to them, help them out with their social skills, get them prepared for potential job interviews and things of that nature and get them back into society,” added Bell.

If signed into law, Bell said the service will begin this year in the Jackson-metro area and will later expand to other parts of the state.

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