City's homeless fill up winter shelter - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

City's homeless fill up winter shelter

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As the temperatures dropped and the wind picked up, dozens of the area's homeless started heading to the end of Calhoun Street near Riverfront Park.

They perhaps decided this time, it might be best to take advantage of the city's offer to come in out of the cold and find a place to bed down.

"We'll be full tonight, I'm sure," said one shelter worker. "We've already seen an increase in registration up on Calhoun Street, so we're going to be full."

Full, as in every one of the 240 beds occupied with a few extra spaces available on sleeper sofas and in other areas if that becomes necessary.

On both the men's and women's sides you could tell earlier today many of the bunk beds had already been claimed.

The city's winter shelter provides all the basics, food, blankets, a place to clean up and even a few TV's. Normally, after a week at the shelter, Christ Central Ministries would require guests to take classes or work on programs designed to begin addressing problems that led to homelessness. During the cold snap, those rules will be relaxed.

Christ Central says the shelter's operations have been enhanced this time around by huge contributions from churches, volunteers, and the private sector. But there are big needs out on the streets with a homeless population estimated at more than 1,200.

Organizers here and at other service providers will worry during this week's frigid weather that some with no place to go will still choose the bitter cold.

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