Inclement Weather Center opens Friday for those who need shelter

Inclement Weather Center opens Friday for those who need shelter

With temperatures reaching near freezing again Friday night in the Midlands, for the nearly 200 or more of the area's homeless it's time to take shelter.

They have one alternative down on Calhoun Street near the Columbia Canal.

But the services available there have changed over the past year.

The shelter has limited hours of operation and is just in the process of being re-opened for the night.

A bus began making runs between the Sumter Street transit station to Calhoun street, bringing in anyone who needs a place to stay as the thermometer drops down to the mid-20's.

The operation is a scaled down shelter operation compared to last year when Christ Central Ministries was working on a contract basis with the City of Columbia to provide services for the homeless.

The shelter in fact ended up remaining in business into the spring and wasn't shut down until around July.

The community still needed a place for folks to get off the street in severely cold conditions and that's the plan now allowing those who need some where to stay short term.

For far, this current program appears to have been a success.

“It's gone very well here,” Transitions director Craig Currey said. “As it got colder, our numbers started to increase. We had 170 last night so even though it was...warmer last night than the previous night, the numbers still did go up. Folks are looking for places to stay right now in the cold weather.

On nights with very low temperatures a shuttle from the transit station at Sumter and Laurel, and with some help from the Columbia Police Department.

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