Volunteer Hattiesburg partnered with the Pine Belt Homeless Coalition to host Homeless Connect.
Homeless Connect was an event to connect the homeless community to different resources in the Hattiesburg area that are available, while providing them with basic needs.
The event was held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Salvation Army in Hattiesburg.
Freddie Humphrey Jr. has benefited from many of the services provided by the Pine Belt Homeless Coalition.
He now works at Georgia Blue in Hattiesburg, but he was once homeless and addicted to cocaine.
“Living in a tent two blocks from my own house in Gulfport, Mississippi,” Humphrey said. “(I was ) 100 pounds and severely, severely addicted to narcotics.”
Homeless Connect was able to shuttle around 100 Pine Belt residents to a one stop shop where they could receive many of the services that they needed.
Almost five years sober, Humphrey shows how beneficial some of these services can be.
“I just call it my duty to show hope, that no matter what your situation is that you can come out of it,” Humphrey said. “That’s why now we don’t call it homelessness we call it a transitional season.”
The event provided participants with breakfast and introduced them to a variety of services and resources assisting with housing, medical, employment/workforce development and support services.
“Since this was our first time putting on this event, we wanted to hit the main areas of need of the homeless,” Volunteer Hattiesburg Director Elizabeth Winton said.
Field House for the Homeless, WIN Job Center, and several other organizations were in attendance.
“I mean I feel like there’s people out in the community that are really out here to help us you know give us another chance when we do fall,” Hattiesburg resident Carlos Taylor said.
“My spiritually tells me something greater than myself had to step in to save me and to show me,” Humphrey said.
Every homeless participant received a Wellness Bag at the end of the event filled with supplies ranging from shampoo to deodorant.