Meridian, Miss. An outpouring of love and support, these were the words from Meridian Housing Authority Director Ron Turner following the relief efforts after a devastating fire that took the homes away from 8 families at Western Gardens. While the families who were victims of the fire have already been placed in new homes, Turner says it affected each family individually.
"It's something you don't buy into," said Turner. "You wake up one day and all of your life savings are gone and you know these are some great families that were involved in this devastating situation. Some of these individuals were working families trying to make ends meet."
During the process of recovery, Turner says licensed social workers were on hand to make sure the emotional stability of the families were intact and that kids were being properly cared for. The MHA says crime is a big problem with youth, being that they were the ones to cause the fire, and he says their mission is to not only provide struggling families with homes, but to provide guidance for youth.
"It's an ongoing process, in terms of making sure that young people know that there is a better way," Turner said.
In light of the recent events to these 8 families that lost everything, Turner says the help from the community to get these families back on their feet has been a blessing.
"I've been living in this community now for over 13 years and I've never seen a community that's so caring such as this community," said Turner. "You know we've received, as a matter of fact we've transformed the Meridian Housing Authority Central Office Training Room to a temporary storage closet, and it's overwhelmed."
While the need for clothes has exceeded expectations, Turner says families still need items such as furniture.
Monetary donations can still be made to help the victims of the Western Gardens Fire. Those donations can be made at any branch of Trustmark Bank in Meridian.