MCCSA prepares to shelter families from the cold

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - As freezing temperatures hit our area starting next week, Meridian's only homeless shelter for families is prepared to help the homeless get out of the cold conditions.

"If a person comes in and says that they want to stay here for an evening, we relax those standards," MCCSA executive director Ron Collier says. "And then if they get up the next morning and say, 'I decide I want to stay,' then the standards come into play again."

That's a temporary change for the center, because the proper ID and police background checks are usually required.

The brief change has allowed the center to help out people in need just this past week.

"In the last week, we've taken in an individual and two families," Collier says. "When I say families, one is a husband and wife and children, and one is a mother and children."

With temperatures possibly dropping to the low teens, Collier says his staff is prepared for the high volume traffic.

"This time of the year, we see an increase in not only in people looking for a place to stay because of the weather, but people who are in need of substance," he says. "Whether it be a toothbrush, clothes washed, taking a shower, but certainly a place to get out the elements."

Collier says the agency will continue to carry out their mission to assist as many people as possible.

"We're going to do the best job we can at Frances W. Davidson because that's our goal - to help people who are in need of services, need a place to live and then try to put them back in independent living," he says.

The Salvation Army in Meridian also has a shelter, but it only houses men.