Hattiesburg shelter offering more than just a warm bed

By Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -  As freezing temperatures move through the pine belt you can't help but think about those who may not have a warm place to stay.

For those people Captain Andy Gilliam, Commanding Officer of the Salvation Army, says  there is the Salvation Army's Center of Hope.

"We have folks who actually live in Hattiesburg who are without homes. We also have a population of folks who are living from one place to another, and Hattiesburg just happens to be a stop. They have no place to go , and so we give them accommodations for the evening," said Gilliam.

The shelter houses up to 25 people a night and once the temperatures are below 40 degrees during the day the shelter become a 24 hour facility.

"When we see an average daily temperature drop below 40 degrees we go into what we call white flag mode. When we do that a lot of our fellow agencies and the city as well get the word out to folks who may be on the streets," said Gilliam.

Gilliam says shelter doesn't stop at just being a place to lay your head and get food, he says they  also offer something more.

"We have social service individuals who help with client need who help folks find jobs, pay bills, get reestablished in the community," said Gilliam.

With the cold temperatures continuing through the week the shelter is preparing for more than their average 25 people a night.

The Salvation Army's Center of Hope is open every night 5 p.m. until 7 a.m.