Resources are limited for the homeless in Brookhaven

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

As colder weather sets in, those without homes may have nowhere to go to escape the elements.

Brookhaven doesn’t have a homeless shelter and hasn’t had one in nine years. The closest shelter is in Jackson.

The Brookhaven Police Department does the best it can with limited resources to help the homeless, Police Chief Kenneth Collins said.

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“I always tell my officers to be nice and try to help them,” he said. “We try to get them something to eat, but we really can’t do much else other than that because we don’t have a place for them to go.”

Collins said he has noticed some individuals who seemed destitute under I-55 overpasses. He’s also seen them behind Walmart.

“I’m unsure on how many homeless people we actually have. Most of the time they will usually be back on the interstate and gone within a couple of days,” said Collins.

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries last had a homeless shelter in 2008.

Rev. Jerry Durr, the ministry’s director, said lack of resources and revenue caused him to close the shelter, which was located at the old St. James M.B. Church on Minnesota Street. The shelter could house up to 19 people.

Durr said he works with the police department as much as he can to find resources for those who seek him out for assistance.

“We still help feed them, but we don’t have a place for them to go anymore,” said Durr.

St. Andrews Thrift Store on East Monticello Street will provide blankets and clothing for the homeless.

“If we have someone that’s homeless and comes in here, we will provide with clothes and whatever they need,” said Patricia Howe, store manager. “I will help them in anyway I can.”