A warm place to stay and a roof over our head is something everyone can appreciate. However, not everyone has that luxury.
"This year, in Forrest County we counted 187 homeless individuals... There's probably a little bit more than that of course," the Homeless Coordinator for the City of Hattiesburg, Kim Townsend said.
At least, 187 people in Forrest County with no place to call home. A number Volunteer Southeast Mississippi and United Way, worked to bring down this morning.
"Well, today we are having Project Homeless Connect. It's our third annual Project Homeless Connect event," the Director of Volunteers for Southeast Mississippi, Emily Gruzinskas said. "It is sort of like a resource fair for the Hattiesburg area, homeless. So, the goal of this event is just to get our participants one step closer to overcoming homelessness."
"We have an outreach team that we started last year in August, and so we're actually going into the woods, under bridges, and thing like that," Townsend said. "But this event kind of does the same thing. If we can get them here, we can get them connected to those same services that they so desperately need."
Monday's event provided those who are homeless with food services, housing services, health services, and even grooming services. Also, educating the public is just as important as these services.
"What I love about it is, it's not only an event to expose the participants to these resources and connect them to the resources, but we are also connecting the community," Gruzinskas said. "People don't understand the extreme homeless problem we have in Hattiesburg. We've got one of the densest homeless populations in the entire state. So, by connecting the community through volunteerism here by helping with the even. We are also showing people what's going on in Hattiesburg and helping them see how they can help."
More than 200 homeless people have been served through this event over the past two years. If you want to find out how you can help please visit volunteersems.org.