New Day Shelter Helps Homeless Find Permanent Housing and Jobs

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COLUMBIA - A new day shelter is now open for the homeless. The only other day shelter in Columbia, the Columbia Interfaith Resource Center, closed Monday. Workers said the new center will provide opportunities for homeless to meet with experts to find jobs and permanent housing.

The name for the center is the Turning Point and is located on the third floor of Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church. The Turning Point opened March 24 and since then has opened its doors to about 30 different people. The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the center took place Tuesday.

"For us what's important is that this is a turning point for individuals as well as for the community because I think we have to change the way we see poverty and the way we address it has to be community wide," said Meg Hegemann, pastor of Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church.

Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church is partnering with services such as the Rainbow House, Veterans Administration, and New Horizons, which is a non-profit to help homeless find permanent housing. 

"We really want to be a community location for folks to interact and find the resources as well as the clients that they are seeking to serve," Hegemann said. "Long-term we'd love to even have computer training available."

The center provides two men's and women's showers, five toilets, Internet, telephone access, a private room for meetings and by next week will also be equipped with a washer and dryer. 

The center is open from 8 a.m. to Noon and Hegemann said they are working to raise funds to eventually be able to keep the center open all day and serve more people. To make a donation, call the Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church at 573-449-4363.

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