Officials explain why homeless shelter remain closed despite cold temperatures

Published: Nov. 15, 2016 at 3:44 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 6:25 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Recently, WIS has received several questions as to why Columbia's inclement weather center was not opened Sunday when conditions were cool and rainy.

"We look at the National Weather Service and what their forecast is for that evening," said Transitions CEO Craig Curry. "Around 12 o'clock each day, a weather decision is made. If it's 40 degrees and below, the inclement weather center is opened for sure."

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures hit 47 degrees Sunday night. However, snow and rain can sometimes affect the opening.

"Generally, snow, ice, sleet, we're definitely going to be open," said Curry. "Rain's a little more iffy depending on the temperature."

The center, located on Calhoun Street, holds 240 people.

"They get a hot dinner from the Salvation Army and they can shower," said Curry. "They can spend the evening on a warm, dry bed and then they leave in the morning after a continental breakfast."

When open or closed, signs are posted at Transitions, City Hall, and the Richland County Library.

"This place is more than just a bed and some food," said Michael Estelle.

The inclement weather center is in operation until March 31. Free transportation is provided to the shelter from the Clean of Heart building on Laurel Street in downtown Columbia.

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