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We should do more for the homeless

The arctic blast that sent cold air deep into the South has made life miserable for some, especially the homeless.

Yes, there are homeless people in Brookhaven. You may have seen them seeking shelter under an overpass. We have heard from local non-profits that some people seek refuge in a wooded area near Walmart.

With temps dropping into the teens at night, these people are certainly suffering. In many cities in Mississippi, cold weather shelters opened when the cold air blew in. These shelters provide a warm bed and sometimes a meal. They are the difference between life and death for some.

To our knowledge, Brookhaven does not have any sort of cold weather shelter. The city does not have a homeless shelter either.

Part of that is likely due to a stubborn insistence by some that Brookhaven has no homeless population. That simply is not true.

Police Chief Kenneth Collins said his department does the best it can to help the homeless, but without a shelter there is only so much that can be done.

“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. 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.”

They keep walking because Brookhaven has nothing for them, and maybe some people prefer it that way. But no human should have to spend a night under the stars when it’s as cold as it has been this week.

We are thankful for those who go out of their way to help the homeless, but a community as blessed as Brookhaven is capable of doing more.