Columbia blocked from using national homeless database - - Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia blocked from using national homeless database

(Columbia-AP) December 19, 2006 - The city of Columbia has been blocked from using a national database after using it to check the names of the homeless at city shelters to find those with outstanding arrest warrants.

Trinity Housing Corporation ended Columbia's right to use the database after learning it was used for criminal checks.

Columbia had pulled names and Social Security numbers of the homeless and checked the information against a list of outstanding warrants.

Scarlett Benjamin with Trinity says the city's use is illegal and unethical. Benjamin says city officials have apologized.

About 150 homeless people stay in the city's two shelters each night.

City officials said 38 homeless people were arrested after it used the database. Most of the charges were for panhandling and public intoxication.

Posted 9:06am by Bryce Mursch

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