Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and the Rev. Paul Stephens, who heads the volunteer task force, are scheduled to meet today to discuss the issue and plot strategies to move forward, both confirmed.
Stephens told the Daily Journal on Wednesday that the group, which the city created in July, has met about a dozen times over the past 10 months but has made no formal recommendations to the mayor or City Council.
"We're still kind of in a study phase," Stephens said, adding that a series of public meetings - possibly held this summer - will preface any formal report.
He described Tupelo's homelessness problem as two-fold: The city first must acknowledge that up to an estimated 125 homeless people dwell here on any given day. The second is to recognize that scattered resources for this population already exist and figure out how to coordinate them.
"Until everybody comes to the table and we begin to share resources, to collaborate and to organize," Stephens said, "I don't think we'll get any traction with this issue."
The mayor and council had established the task force at the urging of Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell and Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis.
Four members were appointed: former Aircap Industries employee Sam Bell, Tupelo physician Brian Condit, Salvation Army Social Services Director Susan Gilbert and Stephens, the rector at All Saints' Episcopal Church.
"My hope is that we can get a clear picture of the current situation of homeless people in our city and then get a candid description of what ... we can do," Reed had said upon the group's formation.
But nearly one year later, Newell complained the city has failed to support the task force. He further alleged its creation sufficed only to push the issues off the administration's table onto somebody else.
Reed dismissed Newell's complaints, saying he's receptive to the Homelessness Task Force and genuinely interested about the issue in general. He recounted how, about a decade ago, he helped a homeless man find shelter and psychological treatment, as well as qualify for disability payments.
The man now is off the streets and still keeps in touch daily, Reed said.
He also said he looks forward to receiving the task force's full report when it's available and denies its members were deliberately omitted from discussions about the South Gloster Street homeless camp.
"Two task force members work with the homeless," he said. "I talked to them specifically. They can't be looking at the problem and be oblivious to those folks.
"If they had had an answer, I'm sure they would have called me to say, 'Mayor, we've got a solution.'"
Gilbert said it was just a matter of time before the city was forced to dismantle the camp and evict its residents.
"With my job, I knew it was coming," she said. "I just didn't know when."