Biloxi City Council rejects relocation request for Loaves & Fishes

“I believe we got more work to do. I believe we want to support Loaves and Fishes and their mission.”
Neighbors say the businesses in the area would’ve been affected by the flow of homeless traffic if the kitchen opened.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Biloxi City Council rejected a request to allow Loaves & Fishes to move into another building that was donated to them along Judge Sekul Avenue.

The goal of the soup kitchen is to continue to serve its mission in the community.

“The hungry will be with us always. They’re not going anywhere,” said one supporter. “If we don’t feed them, there’s probably going to be more acting out and difficulties.”

The move, however, was met with harsh criticism from the neighbors saying they are not opposed to the kitchen’s mission but the location because of the potential traffic from the homeless population.

“Once again, nothing wrong with Loaves & Fishes,” said one neighbor. “The population density is just simply too dense around that building in that area.”

“We will deal with loitering, disrespecting personal property, the value of our properties will go down,” said one neighbor. “A constant call to law enforcement for noise disturbances, sitting on people’s porches, we know the problem.”

Neighbors say the businesses in the area would’ve been affected by the flow of homeless traffic if the kitchen opened.

“They work their businesses,” said one neighbor. “They keep them clean and provide services to the community and they’re scared based on what happened on Water Street.”

Council members were also split during the vote.

“This does not meet any of the conditions that were used,” said Councilman George Lawrence. “It takes nine conditions to use it to pass, and it doesn’t meet any of it.”

“We are going to be uncomfortable. Our mission is to help people,” said Councilwoman Dixie Newman. “Yes, they might give us trouble but that doesn’t mean we turn our back on them.”

Now the city council issued a challenge to the community before passing their vote: if you support the kitchen, then show it.

“Do what you can to support Loaves & Fishes and let’s see if we can’t find a regional business zone piece of property that might be able to help better manage this solution.”

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