Public housing residents shelter in place as extreme weather pounds the region

College students enjoy the extended

By William Blake | Delta Digital News Service

The first round of extreme weather hit Craighead County in earlier this month. The combination of ice and snow on the ground was enough to shut down the roads and other parts of the city.

   Even though extreme weather is a disturbance, people must be prepared to be shelter inside their home for a few days if they cannot drive. Carol Crawford, public housing manager for the Jonesboro Housing Authority said, “I try to get all my work done in case the weather is so bad in case we can’t come in.”  

    As a public housing manager, Crawford works with tenants and other staff to keep everything running smoothly. However, it can be hard to keep people happy when they go without power or food due to storms. 

   Crawford said, “[there are] many places that offer Hud housing in Jonesboro which have their own Hud contracts, which is where they may have a food pantry on site.”

   While some public housing may have food on site, the organization lacks the funds to supply resources like a generator or transportation to those without power who cannot leave their homes for work. This can be different from other housing options in the Jonesboro area.

   Callie Tosh works as an intern veterinarian and is a resident of Sage Meadows, a neighborhood on the east side of Jonesboro. Neighborhoods can be the worst place after a snowstorm because trucks do not come to salt the roads, which extends the melt time for ice.

   “It was so bad that I didn’t leave my house until Saturday. I didn’t trust my car to start or to make it down the driveway,” Tosh said. 

“It was so bad that I didn’t leave my house until Saturday. I didn’t trust my car to start or to make it down the driveway,” Tosh said. 

– Callie Tosh, intern veterinarian

   The extreme weather did not hit Jonesboro as hard as it hit other cities in the area. In Memphis, thousands of people lost power due to the freezing rain and ice knocking down power lines. 

   Tosh said, “Luckily we did not lose any power, but I was worried about running out of food.” 

   People first think about food when they hear a storm is coming. People flock to grocery stores and gas stations to buy anything and everything they might need. Since some public housing have a food pantry on-site, was this the best place to be during the snow?

   Jared Baltz, a junior animal science major at Arkansas State University, lives on campus in the North Park Quads. He could not leave campus due to the snow, but at the same time he enjoyed it.

   “The food options were still open, and I was able to go to the Union to get food. We also did not lose power which made it a lot more comfortable,” Baltz said. 

Essentially, everyone in the city got an extended weekend and an excuse to stay inside.

   Neither public housing, the Sage Meadows neighborhood, nor campus dorms had wide area power outages from the storms.

NOTE: Featured Photo: The North Park Quads on University Loop East is inundated with snow earlier this month. The dorms are comprised of five co-ed buildings which are home to first-year and upper-class students.