Housing First looks after homeless community in between rounds of severe weather

By Daeshen Smith
Published: Jan. 10, 2024 at 5:53 PM EST

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -While the strong storms rolled through our area many people across the gulf coast took shelter in their homes. Not everyone has that luxury. Neil Brown rode the storm out in a tent.

“I was in a hard sleep because you know rain puts some people to sleep and a lightning bolt hit and after that I did some serious praying for Mobile,” said Brown.

Brown has lived in this encampment for over a year and says he’s had to get pretty creative to keep himself safe during severe weather.

“That creek back there is normally pretty dry, and you could hear it sound like the Colorado River. That’s why I chose this spot because I knew I was on high ground,” added Brown. “When it’s real windy I’ll just stake it down here and I’ll bring em in, and it protects the wind from taking the heat out.”

A little help never hurt. Members of housing first’s community outreach team say they went around to different encampments before the storm to warn people about the bad weather. They were back out after the storms to check on those who couldn’t leave.

“It was a little heartbreaking because like I said a lot of tents were blown away and flooded out so they either had to evacuate that night or in the middle of the storm,” said Outreach Senior Case Manager Patrick White.

The outreach team gave out things like blankets and socks to help the homeless get through the storm and bounce back after. Brown says that kind of help goes a long way.

“It’s been a huge help,” said Brown. “You can see God when you see people show compassion.”

“It’s a great feeling just to be able to provide that avenue of help for those individuals who are less fortunate and staying on the street,” said Director of Community Outreach Kendell Young.