JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - During this cold weather season many Jackson residents can take refuge in the warmth of their home, while others don’t have a home to go to.
Maggie Cooper is 47, this is her second time living on the streets of Jackson.
When asked where she slept most nights she said, “Here and there, and I’ve been staying some night over at my son’s house."
Then when asked where she slept during the cold weather she said, she’s standing on it.
“I sleep right here to right here and they be down there," she said pointing to the grates under her feet.
Cooper said a friend who is also homeless, recommended that she go to the grates when it got too cold.
“When it starts getting cold he was like, we be down at the vent, I was like what?”
But now she said it’s the perfect place to go. It’s warm she said and because it’s a busy street she feels safe.
Surprisingly, Cooper said she doesn’t go to shelters, even when the temperatures drop below freezing.
“I would rather be on the streets with the pollution than be on the inside with disease,” she said.
Wilbert Logan has been the Director of the Billy Brumfield House on Gallatin Street for over 20 years.
“Usually check in is at 5 o’clock and ends at 6 o’clock,” he said.
In certain circumstances the rules change.
“Extreme heat or cold we get people off the streets,” he added.
Like Cooper, Logan said there are some people that can’t do shelters.
“We try to talk them out of leaving, we even try penalizing them, you know, to try and deter them because even if it’s not dangerous weather, you know there are dangerous situations out there,” he explained.
Logan knows the risks of sleeping outside in such cold weather. He was once homeless himself.
The Billy Brumfield House is full during cold weather days.
“We got 23 beds," he said, “And 7 sleeping bags for our overflow.”
He recommended Brumfields' sister shelter, the Opportunity Center.
“On nights like this they actually, they’re the ones who max out and we end up being the overflow.”
Logan said there are approximately 500 homeless people in Jackson.
Most of the 500 will try and go to a shelter, others like Cooper will choose to sleep outside on the street and the rest will have to fend for themselves.
If you would like to help shelters like the Brumfield House, Logan said they always need warm blankets, coats, socks and water.