Safe Room closing Thursday at 5 p.m.; volunteers needed when it is open

Published 2:18 pm Thursday, January 18, 2024

NATCHEZ — The Safe Room will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday. However, it may reopen on Friday and Saturday, but by request only.

The Safe Room was utilized by only three people for the night between the time it opened on Monday at 1 p.m. through Thursday. However, a total of 12 people came for a period of time, “just to eat and then went on their way,” said Robert Bradford, Emergency Management director.

“We burn through a lot of resources opening the Safe Room for people not to use it,” he said.

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Discussion at Thursday morning’s Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting centered on how to get more of Adams County’s homeless population to make use of the Safe Room, and how to get more volunteers to help man it when it is open.

Board of Supervisors President Kevin Wilson said he and his wife Dana went by the Safe Room and brought some meals, but said those who needed shelter from the cold did not make use of it.

“I don’t think there was hardly any participation, unless you all know something I don’t. We know we have a lot of homeless people here. The question was asked why aren’t they coming. I can give you a couple of reasons for that,” Wilson said. “One is they don’t trust authority. They usually have had a lot of run-ins with the law. Another reason is they have a little tent set up there in the woods by Walmart or wherever and if they leave it, they are going to lose their possessions. There’s no honor among thieves, or addicts in this case, I guess. And that’s the other problem. They can’t bring their drugs with them. It’s a sad situation. My heart goes out to them. If you just stepped outside the other night, it was so cold you couldn’t hardly stand it, no matter what you had on.”

Bradford said this afternoon volunteers, particularly from churches and civic groups, could play a very helpful role in manning the Safe Room and save the county taxpayers a tremendous amount of money while doing so.

“We need volunteers because our office has limited personnel and we burn through our personnel real fast. We try to get county employees to come in when they are off, but we would love for churches and other groups to help out,” Bradford said. “When it is open, the Safe Room must be manned at all times.”

Those who are interested in volunteering at the Safe Room can call the EMS office at 601-442-7021 or the Board of Supervisors office at 601-442-2431.

Donations of blankets and other personal necessities are also needed, Bradford said.