Organizations in Mississippi are receiving $5 million to help put an end to homelessness in the state. As MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports the money was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to find permanent housing for the homeless.
People are lining up for lunch at Stewpot Community Services in Jackson. The nonprofit provides meals and temporary shelter to the homeless.
Sherry Lynn Taylor comes to Stewpot for meals. She says she's been homeless since her mom passed away in 2015.
“I’ve been staying in an old empty house that’s abandoned,” said Taylor. “And the people that let us stay in it they own the house. And they let me stay. They’re talking about me staying as long as I need to. And the only thing I got in there right now to help me, I got some mattresses. I got me some blankets. And the only thing I’m looking for now, I need a flashlight or some candles. Other than that, that’s it.”
Jill Buckley is with Stewpot. She says the organization plans on using the money from HUD to help people move into stable housing.
“What the data shows is that the less time people spend on the streets then the better for them long term,” said Buckley. “So we can help people get back into housing when they show up at our shelters and just need help getting into an apartment or a home.”
Marika Baliko is with Mississippi United to End Homelessness.
“It’s just a simple human right for everyone to be in housing,” said Baliko. “And so it’s important for us to address homelessness. It’s important for us to make it such an urgent matter.”
Baliko says last year there were 560 homeless people living in 71 of the state's 82 counties.