How we can all help get homeless into homes

Some look at the homeless and react with annoyance, fear, anger. The best people among us look at the homeless and see opportunity.

They don’t see homelessness as an intractable, unsolvable problem.

They see an opportunity to bring the Coast together, working as one to get people off the street and into homes.

They are people who make up organizations such as the Open Doors Homeless Coalition, which met Thursday in Gulfport to talk about achieving some lofty goals.

▪  Sustain a functional end to homelessness among veterans in the Gulf Coast region;

▪  End chronic homelessness in 12 months in the Gulf Coast region;

▪  End homelessness among families and youth by 2020 in the Gulf Coast region;

▪  Ensure systems are in place to prevent and end all homelessness by 2020 in the Gulf Coast region.

They are reaching out to others nationwide, such as the Rapid Results Institute, to explore programs and techniques that have worked elsewhere. Wednesday, they saw a presentation on RRI’s 100 Day Challenge then had a system leader design a session to try to adapt the program to help the Coast’s young people get off the streets.

One of the dynamos behind Open Doors, a broad gathering of business leaders, social service providers, shelters, even the homeless, is Executive Director Mary Simons, who believes they can get every single homeless person in the lower six counties into a home.

She has the volunteers to get the job done, but a major source of funding, the emerging solutions grant, is being held up somewhere in the federal government.

Open Doors has a couple of important events coming up next month. Project Homeless Connect resource day for homeless people will offer breakfast, financial services, health screenings and all sorts of other services (even cat and dog health exams) on Nov. 17 at the Donal Snyder Center in Biloxi. The next day, it will have its Second Annual Empty Bowls fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs. You’ll get a handcrafted bowl and a lunch for your donation.

Be part of the solution.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

Project Homeless Connect resource day for homeless people

When: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 17

Where: Donal Snyder Community Center, 2520 Pass Road, Biloxi

To donate: Patti Guider at 228-424-3947 or Michelle Gray at 228-865-5182.

To volunteer: Call Guider or Gray or Robert Harrsison, at 228-205-7048 ext 5.