Rapid Shelter Columbia looks to help more residents off the streets in its second year open

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Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 8:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - After opening in 2022, the Rapid Shelter at 191 Calhoun Street has helped a handful of people get off the streets by serving as a bridge between those seeking shelter and community organizations that can help. On Wednesday, many gathered to celebrate the one-year anniversary since the shelter opened.

“If it wasn’t for the shelter, I probably wouldn’t be standing here,” former Rapid Shelter resident Allen Abernathy, said.

After one year of being open, the shelter helped 34 people find housing, including four from October 6th until November 1st. The shelter connects residents to community organizations with resources that will help people physically and mentally.

“If it wasn’t for the Rapid Shelter... I wouldn’t be able to see the doctors I need to see today,” Abernathy said, adding, “There’s so many resources out here that our city does have, people are just scared to go out and get those resources.”

Homeless Services Program Specialist Nyasia Franklin has high hopes for the program going into its second year. She says the program has been able to help people through community partnerships including with local landlords.

“The shelter has built these great partnerships; they come on-sight (and) off-sight to get their clients what they need,” Franklin said, adding, “A lot of our clients have things on their record so they may not qualify for traditional housing, so making those connections has helped us house clients faster. We are housing three to five clients a month.”

Rachel Jackson with Trinity Recovery has been working with people in the shelter overcoming drug addiction and life living on the streets. She explains how being there provides residents with a sense of hope.

“It’s pretty dim when you’re coming off living in a shelter,” Jackson said, adding, “After they start to get help, the light starts to come on.”

Over and into 2024, the shelter hopes to continue building more connections that will help the residence get even more resources they need.

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