Organization proposes homeless shelter to Columbia neighborhoods

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COLUMBIA – The Columbia Alliance to Combat Homelessness proposed its plan to build a new homeless shelter to the North Central and North Village neighborhood associations Tuesday night.

The neighborhood associations as well as residents were able to view the plans for the shelter.

CATCH is proposing a 24-hour homeless shelter and resource center to be built on North Eighth Street near Columbia College and Business Loop 70. 

“We’re trying to get feedback from the neighborhood of their concerns and the things they might want to see included, so that we can be a good neighbor,” CATCH board member Karla DeSpain said.

However residents are split on whether this is a good idea for their neighborhood.

Geraldine Perkins lives across the street from the site where CATCH is planning to construct the homeless shelter. She said she thinks building a homeless center close by so many schools and churches is not safe.

“I personally think they need to find a spot that’s not around schools or family-oriented people that live there and do rehab or rehabilitation with some of these people,“ Perkins said. 

Neighborhood resident Mike Risch lives behind the planned site and doesn’t mind a homeless shelter near him. He said he thinks society in general needs to deal with the homelessness problem as a whole.

“A homeless shelter is good. So many of us are one paycheck away from being in that particular place. I mean we’re not all gifted in our finances or our ability to generate income,” Risch said.

After a presentation by CATCH, residents were invited to voice their opinions on the proposed shelter at the meeting.

CATCH still needs about $45,000 in city funding to build the shelter.

The city council has not yet finalized whether it will fund the $45,000. The council will vote on the funding at its next meeting October 19. 

Construction of the center is planned to begin in 2017.