Time to consider area homeless shelter

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 21, 2019

Oftentimes it is easy to overlook what is not easily seen, not to mention what we don’t really want to see.

Like it or not, however, for whatever reason, Natchez and Adam County have a homeless population.

Some of those homeless people are from the local area, while others are transplants to the area from other parts of the state or nation.

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Regardless of their origins, each homeless person in our area more than likely came to their current status through a variety of circumstances including being victims of the local economy, mental health issues or addiction problems, to name a few.

Homelessness is not unique to Natchez and Adams County, however, as virtually every community has a homeless population.

Unfortunately, Natchez and Adams County do not currently have a homeless shelter as was sadly illustrated on Thursday morning when a homeless man asked to be admitted to the Adams County Jail and was denied because of liability issues.

Faced with the prospect of staying out in the cold, the man broke windows on the sheriff’s office front entrance and on the Adams County Courthouse to get arrested and placed in a warm jail cell.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten rightly said the situation illustrates the need in our community for a homeless shelter.

City and county officials have been aware of the need for a homeless shelter for approximately a year but have not yet been able to secure a location or funding.

We urge community leaders to revisit the idea of creating a homeless shelter or at least a short-term shelter for housing homeless people on cold winter nights.

Not having one is an unconscionable position for the city and county given the circumstances of Thursday.

We are lucky it wasn’t worse.