Mac Epps, president and community organizer of Mississippi MOVE, highlighted the importance of the shelters and urged the community to help in any way, from donating to helping MS MOVE raise funds.
Photo by Trip Burns.
This morning, representatives from Mississippi MOVE and Mu Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity met at Matt Devenney Emergency Shelter, or Matt's House, to ask for community support in keeping two Stewpot homeless shelters open.
Stewpot announced in October that they had lost funding and would be forced to close Billy Brumfield Shelter and Matt Devenney Emergency Shelter, affecting roughly 85 people per night and 1,000 per year. The Brumfield shelter houses 60 men each night, and Matt's House houses 25 women and children each night.
"In the Brumfield house, you have veterans—folks that have went across seas and risked their lives to save our lives, and at this time, it is sad to say that they could be back out on the streets. Inside the Matt's House, we have not only women, but we have children, our most precious commodity in our society," said Mac Epps, president and community organizer of Mississippi MOVE, a voter-participation program.
The financial cut came after a decision from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development not to fund the shelters, as well as the loss of a grant from United Way.
Epps highlighted the importance of the shelters and urged the community to help in any way, from donating to helping MS MOVE raise funds. The shelters will close Nov. 15 if Stewpot does not receive the funds necessary to keep them open, which gives a small window of time for fundraising.
"That's why this is a very urgent issue," Epps said, adding that temperatures will start to cool as we near winter.
"This is the great cause," said state Sen. Hillman Frazier, D-Jackson, who attended to show support for the shelters and to urge taking action. Frazier reminds the community that anyone can find themselves in hard times.
"All of us are one step removed from needing these services," Frazier said. The senator said homelessness is a serious problem in the city of Jackson and that its citizens need to rally to save the shelters.
In a 2013 survey, a homeless census counted 571 homeless people in Hinds County, 195 of which were unsheltered. The two emergency shelters at risk of closure are located in downtown and midtown Jackson, where much of the homeless population resides.
Epps said 100 percent of the proceeds they receive will benefit the shelters.
Those interested in contributing can visit the organization's website www.msmove.org or call Epps at 601-918-4359.