Teen Shelter Site Raises Concerns
Central Missouri Community Action, or CMCA, plans on building a teen homeless shelter off Seventh Street in North Columbia. However, area residents are afraid the shelter will just become a new teen hangout spot.
"I feel that putting homeless high school kids across the street from the high school, they're bound to know these kids, it's gonna become a high school hang out before, after, and who knows how late at night," Jeff Adams, a North Columbia resident, said.
But CMCA director, Dianna Moore, stresses that the shelter will be structured and supervised.
"It is not a drop in shelter, it's not an emergency overnight shelter. It would provide long-term shelter for youth who are wanting to stabilize their living situation, come in off the streets," Moore explained.
Moore says teens in the shelter will have to sign contracts, work towards their GED, and obtain a job. Despite a meeting held Tuesday night at Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church, some area residents still have questions about the structure of the shelter program.
"I'm very open to the idea for what they want to do. I think that they need to do some groundwork to present back to the community to get more community support for it," Richard Sullivan, a Columbia resident said.
CMCA is in the process of applying for grants to build the shelter. Construction is still two years away.