Homeless Numbers Up in Columbia for Holidays

6 years 1 month 8 hours ago December 21, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 Tuesday, December 21 2010 Tuesday, December 21, 2010 6:54:09 PM CST in News

COLUMBIA - The Salvation Army said Tuesday it is seeing a significant increase in need this year at its Harbor House shelter. Although the shelter is not full yet, Salvation Army Major K. Kendall Matthews said he expects it to hit capacity Christmas weekend.

Matthews said, "Believe it or not, a lot of people in our community need a place to come during the holiday season." He added the amount of children needing shelter at Harbor House this year is the most he's seen in a long time.

Children aren't the only ones struggling this time of year. At Welcome Home Veterans Shelter in Columbia, Tony Smith is desperate for a way to reunite with his family.

Smith is jobless and in need of money to repair his car. He hopes to get the money by Christmas so he can drive to Independence, MO to visit nieces and nephews. 

If Tony does not raise the money, he will stay at Welcome Home this Christmas Day and said this would not be the first time he's spent the holidays in a shelter.

Rev. Keith Vessell of Missouri United Methodist Church said this time of year is when people need to focus on the homeless.

Vessell finds it unbelievable that people have to live outside in the cold. During the month of January and February, the church plans to offer a shelter in its downtown location.

Vessell asks members of the public to donate anything they can to the public, including money and time.

For more information on how you can help those in need, please visit moumc.org or call Major K. Kendall Matthews at 573-442-1984.

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