Shelter in Jeopardy

Despite widespread publicity, the recent concert to save Meridian's only shelter for families fell far short of its goal. Because of this the shelter is facing possible closure later this year.

The 'Save the Shelter,' concert featured two big name gospel artists. It raised $17,000. The goal was to raise $50,000. Unless more money is donated, South Harbor could be forced to close within a matter of months.

'This is where we sleep.'

This is Lue. Since Monday she and her three young children have been staying at South Harbor Shelter.

'In here it's hard to give them a bath because it's only a standup shower.'

However, Lue says the shower is the least of her worries. For more than a month she and her children have been living in motels. Now she's out of money and in South Harbor.

'I never thought I'd end up in a shelter, I never thought that. It's a hurtful feeling, but at least we are not on the street.'

As the only shelter for families in this area, South Harbor officials say the agency serves a wide range of people.

'I've had people come from California, Chicago, all around. We can't turn them away,' says South Harbor Director, Linda Grace Jones

However, Jones says soon she could have no choice but to turn people away. That's because the shelter basically has only the $17,000 raised from the recent concert to operate on for the rest of this year.

'With that $17,000 we can last maybe three months, maybe three months,' says Jones.

'This has been going on for many years,' says MCCSA Executive Director, Callie Cole. 'This isn't the first time we haven't got the money, but we make every effort we can to come up with the money. We're just going to go on faith!'

Because government funding that Multi-County Community Service Agency (MCCSA) uses to operate the shelter has been drastically reduced over the years, South Harbor operates primarily off donations. In now needs $50,000 just to stay open for the rest of this year.

'I'm not going to worry about next year. I'm trying to keep it open this year,' says Jones.

As with South Harbor Shelter, for Lue, time is also of the essence. With an interview Friday she says she's placing her faith in God to land a job, which in turn will help her secure a permanent place to stay.

'As long as I play may part, then he'll play his!'

South Harbor Shelter can house up to 34 people per night. Last year it served 260 people. So far this year it has served 85.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Asking Location: Meridian on Jun 25, 2012 at 01:05 PM
    Reposting this and hoping for an answer: I know virtually nothing about Harbor House except that it exists and houses homeless people. Are any local churches involved in helping to keep it open? What is the procedure for individual donations?
  • by southerngentlemen on Jun 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM
    To commentor mary. Before chastizing others for their biblical ignorance, maybe you should address yours. Please read through 2 Thessalonians 3. Just to condense it down to the the basics, its 'if you dont work, you dont eat.'
  • by A person on Jun 24, 2012 at 03:10 PM
    Why not use some of that million dollars that the city is getting to help out this shelter?
  • by Laura Location: Meridian on Jun 23, 2012 at 03:54 PM
    Did it ever occur to anyone to check into who is in charge of this shelter? How about Multi-County Community Service Agency----which does a poor job in taking care of the rest of the services that are offered through MCCSA----Foster Grandparents, paying utility bills in a timely manner, finding qualified people to work there, etc., etc., etc. Head of this agency needs to be replaced as soon as possible. There are a few intelligent people there, but not many.
  • by southerngentlemen on Jun 23, 2012 at 01:07 PM
    Randy, are you able bodied? Theres no reason that ANY able bodied man should be unemployed for 2 years. Most of the smaller construction, home improvement and outdoor trades companies are begging for laborers. I know of quite a few local companies myself that are always looking for help. All you have to do is pick up the local weekly papers and call around. It may be a little different for women as very few hire women for their crews but no reason for any able bodied men to be without work. By the way, my dad worked in these trade until his mid 60s so please dont bother telling me that type of work is just for the young guys.
  • by Mary on Jun 22, 2012 at 11:42 PM
    Some people Are so ignorant...anonymous!!! The Bible says by the same measure in which you judge, you will be judged! U apparently have no clue what it means to struggle or to face adversity! Shame on you for sharing your ignorant opinion on LOU! I pray that you one day will not be faced with the same prejudice that u display towards others!
  • by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM
    i have lost my job, an i cant get unemployment or snap
  • by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2012 at 09:02 AM
    It just seems so hard for people to understand what others are going through until it happens to them. Circumstances can change at any moment for anyone. We saw only about a 1 minute clip into this woman's story and now so many are experts on her situation. If you want to donate to the shelter, do it. If not, don't donate. Your opinions are not going to help one way or the other.
    • reply
      by Randy on Jun 22, 2012 at 04:42 PM in reply to
      it has happened to me
  • by Better Days Are Coming Location: Meridian on Jun 22, 2012 at 08:15 AM
    It is disturbing to me how some can be so judgemental. My husband and I both work, we are college educated, we dont have any children,but we still struggle day to day to make ends meet. We dont receive any public assistance,but thanks to our families they help us with providing groceries,and anything else that we need to survive. My point is that you shouldnt judge anyone,espectially if you dont know their situation,and what they have been through.
  • by Asking Location: Meridian on Jun 22, 2012 at 04:19 AM
    I know virtually nothing about Harbor House except that it exists and houses homeless people. Are any local churches involved in helping to keep it open? What is the procedure for individual donations?
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