COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - An upgrade for a longstanding effort to end homelessness in the capital city is developing in downtown Columbia.
Years of planning and renovation are about to pay off for Christ Central Ministries and the Reverend Jimmy Jones. The organization is now just a few weeks from opening its new Resource and Solution Center on Columbia's Main near Elmwood.
"Education, jobs, all these things that face the poor and preparing for those medical needs, education needs, all those things are important. And finding resources to help them with is what this is all about, the Resource and Solution Center," Reverend Jones said.
The Center, housed in part of what used to be the Hampton Pontiac car dealership, centralizes services and counseling for the poor and homeless. It offers classrooms, but not overnight shelter, along with expert guidance for people trying to escape life on the street.
"When they come in, a file is created with what they perceive their need is. So our three questions are, what is your emergency or your need? What is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish or get to? And what do you need help with?" Reverend Jones said.
The center is located across from the Transitions homeless center on Main Street and a few blocks from the Oliver Gospel Mission.
"They specialize in a certain area. Transitions is housing and programming that they work through for those that are housed there. Oliver Gospel Mission has housing and programs for specific people that are in their program. But you already know that on the street there are many more people than are fitting into either one of their programs. Or to all the great things the United Way is doing."
The center is part of a network of more than 120 Christ Central outlets statewide. The ministry is now taking steps to expand its footprint here with the tearing down of the rest of the old car dealership for another project that is still under wraps.
"Something the city should be very proud of," Reverend Jones said.
The demolition work on that leftover building cleared away a pretty unattractive building and Reverend Jones says for now, that part of the block will be grassed over.
He's not saying exactly what else is in store for that property yet.