Cold Weather Drives Homeless Into Shelters
COLUMBIA - The cold weather is forcing Columbia's homeless people off the streets and into shelters. Three shelters in the area, St. Francis House, Salvation Army and New Life Evangelistic Center, report more people seeking shelter during the winter than during warmer months.
A manager at New Life Evangelistic Center said during the summer it is at about 70 percent capacity, but during the winter it is at 100 percent capacity.
Missouri United Methodist Church recently moved its homeless shelter from inside the church at 9th and Elm near campus to 804 N Old 63. The shelter, called Room at the Inn, began operating at the beginning of the month, after Columbia City Council approved a zoning exception. However, Room at the Inn is temporary and closes for the year in February.
"There's too many poeple that are homeless and not enough shelters that can stay open 24/7," said Lillian Davis, herself a homeless person.
According to the Governor's Committee to End Homelessness, at the end of 2011 there were 416 homeless people in the KOMU 8 viewing area and 1,931 homeless people in the state.