JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – Two Jackson councilmen met with community leaders, business owners and residents on Thursday, November 4 to address a major issue in the capital city.

In Jackson, a large amount of he homeless population settled into Wards 3 and 5. City councilmen, who represent both wards, said this is causing a number of issues in their communities.

“I’m not saying all homeless are bad, but we’ve got a number of homeless that’s out of control,” said Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3.

Neighbors said the large number of unhoused people is contributing to their declining property values.

“I live in Jackson. I bought my home in 2020. My property value is not increasing,” said Anthony Moore, who is a Ward 3 community liaison.

Business owners said the issue also impacts the safety of their customers.

“Not only seeing the homeless and seeing people come past our operation, now, they’re starting to come into the store. It affects how we have to secure our business,” said Bobby Evans, a managing partner with Odom’s Eye Care.

Officials with AMR said the issue event impacts the medical community.

“One of the other ways that these behavioral crises and mental health can really affect it is resource utilization. If we can reduce the number of encounters we have to have, it frees up resources to do other things, to respond to other calls,” said Ryan Wilson, operations manager at AMR.

There are several shelters and other organizations in Jackson that are working to help feed, clothe and house the homeless, including the Jackson Resource Center. Officials with the center are building a larger, multi-purpose facility that’s slated to open in 2024.

Stokes and Councilman Vernon Hartley, Ward 5, also want to create a task force to raise awareness about Jackson’s homeless population and find ways to house them.