City Council rejects latest plan to address homelessness - - Columbia, South Carolina

City Council rejects latest plan to address homelessness

Councilman Cameron Runyan had been on the forefront of Columbia's homelessness issue for some time now.

Today, Runyan was given a bitter pill to swallow as the council rejected his plan to minimize homelessness with a 5-1 vote.

"If y'all want to put this out, that's fine," Runyan said during the meeting. "I think it is a road to ruin. I believe it goes in the opposite direction again of what we have demonstrated over the past couple of years to work. Understandably, what we've done these past couple of years have been a bit of a U-turn from what has historically been done. I don't think this gets us where we need to be."

But Runyan wasn't the only one with concerns.

"There will be additional homeless," Bob Wynn of the Arsenal Hill Neighborhood Association said. "There will be factors that will put all of us, perhaps, on the street one day. So, we need to have an approach that's at the continuum of care for all of those people who may come out. I think this is a coordinated, sensible way for this city to proceed."

Wynn is part of a review panel working on a request for proposals that would help create a system of regional coordination of homeless services in the Midlands. That effort also involves the Central Midlands Council of Governments.

Runyan's criticism was also mostly deferred by Rev. Jimmy Jones, the head of Christ Central Ministries. Jones and his organization ran the city's emergency shelter on contract before the city decided to close it just a few days ago.

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