Business leaders, developers continue push for city's homeless p - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Business leaders, developers continue push for city's homeless plan

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Business leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to continue their push for Columbia City Council's homeless plan. Business leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to continue their push for Columbia City Council's homeless plan.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia City Council meets in a couple of hours, and once again, they will be debating issues involving the city's homeless.

Among items on the council's agenda includes a report from Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago on how his department plans to enforce a new strategy aimed at clearing streets in the downtown business district.

More members of Columbia's business community stepped up Tuesday to say they back a plan aimed at providing the downtown core with solutions to homelessness.

The morning news conference included remarks from realtors and developers who say city leaders must act now to provide relief for both business owners and the homeless themselves.

City Council is scheduled to vote on an agreement with Christ Central Ministries to run the city's winter shelter starting in less than two weeks. Those are parts of what's being called an "emergency response plan" to address homeless issues.

Developers say it's time for Columbia to get moving on carrying out that plan.

"Columbia has ignored the situation for too long, and has a disproportional burden to continue to ignore. We've enabled the situation to the point where it is out of hand. A lot of well-meaning people do not see what has happened, but we are encouraging and destroying our own quality of life, " said developer and plan supporter Tom Prioreschi.

Others at the gathering again pointed out the city is not criminalizing homelessness, and they believe the emergency reponse plan is part of a compassionate approach to helping the homeless while addressing the needs of business and property owners.

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