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Jackson's Civic Center Transforms into Temporary Homeless Shelter

Downstairs in the Civic Center, volunteers set up beds and prepared shelter for Jackson’s homeless community.

“I’m excited about it because again community leaders are coming together to address a need the community has,” said Mark Cancia, head Leutinent at the Salvation Army.

The Civic Center is a temporary location as local agencies and organizations continue to work on Jackson’s permanent shelter.

“Several Agencies came together, several months ago, weeks ago, but that was primarily for a more permanent solution,” said Matt Marshall, the CEO of United Way.

But current weather conditions sped up the process.

“We just realized with the nights getting cold, we needed more of a short term solution,” said Marshall.

Organizations such as the Salvation Army, Tennessee homeless solutions, RIFA, and United Way provide the necessary needs.

As there are two women’s shelters in the city, the Civic Center will only be for males. Beginning on December 28, they can arrive at 6 pm and stay until 8 am the next day.

“They can come in at six, we will provide them with a meal, they have a bed, and there may be an activity for them in the evening,” said Frank McMeen, the CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare.

In the mornings, patrons will get breakfast and go about their daily routines.

Mcmeen was there volunteering and setting up beds. he says this is one way to keep the homeless community safe.

“This way, they’re warm, they’re safe, and they have food,” said McMeen.

While the Civic Serves as a temporary solution, the overall goal is to make sure homelessness is a temporary situation for some homeless citizens.

“There will be wrap-around support services here for the gentleman that come. So our end goal is to find permanent housing for the individuals,” said Amy McDonald, the Executive Director of Tennessee Homeless Solutions.

The shelter will be open until the permanent homeless shelter opens. So far, about 1000 items have been donated but, there is always room for more. Donors may drop off snacks and toiletries at the civic center.

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