Meridian, Miss. The People's Charity Clinic of East Mississippi was founded almost three years ago with the intention of providing a free health clinic for the homeless. Over the past few years, that mission has changed. Lately the clinic has become more of a voice for the homeless. Christie Rainer, CEO of the clinic, says with the growing number of homeless estimated to be around 1000 in Meridian, something needs to be done.
"We need the community to understand that this is a problem and there are so few solutions here in Meridian for that and we need to do that," said Rainer. "We need financial support, number one, to be able to continue on."
Rainer says being homeless is a stereotype that many associate with drugs, but she says that's not the case. She says each person has his own story.
"We were moving around a lot as a family trying to get settled and trying to get comfortable and it wound up where I first lost my job and he lost his job," homeless mom, Kaylee Ledesma, said.
According to Rainer, several solutions have been found like opening a community center but she has met with roadblocks that are preventing her from achieving it. The roadblocks include not being able to house individuals in a certain place due to restrictions on the number of individuals in a home. Many I talked to say they just want to be seen as a person not as homeless and want help from the community.
"I want the community to step in and help," former homeless mom Latyra Chambliss said. "As far as the mayor, we need a lot of help, we do."
Rainer says mission work is right here in our city, and with the support of others, this could be fixed.
"I don't want to see them sleeping in a car or under a bridge a year from now. I want them to be a self-sustaining citizen, where it's economical and as safe as they can be," Rainer said.
If you'd like to help out homeless in this area, you may make a donation at People's Charity Clinic of East Mississippi by clicking the link. For more information, call 601-482-8442.