Shelter Takes in Homeless People from the Cold

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COLUMBIA - The Room at the Inn shelter is opening its doors to homeless people in Columbia to keep them away from the frigid temperatures.

The shelter is equipped with 30 cots, but recent cold weather has brought more people to the shelter than they can house and volunteers have been forced to turn people away.

However, volunteers don't turn them away empty handed - they work with other shelters in the area to relocate them for the evening.

So far only five people have been sent to the Harbor House.

The shelter's on-site manager Shannon Stewart said the group's goal is to keep people from freezing in the cold weather.

One patron, Christopher Pool, has been staying at the shelter with his girlfriend for a few weeks. He said this is a temporary stop for him until he begins employment in the summer.

The shelter also houses those who wouldn't be allowed into other shelters because of alcohol or drug use.

The Room at the Inn is a wet or damp shelter, which means people can't have alcohol or drugs on them, but they can still find a place to sleep if they are intoxicated.

The shelter opened the beginning of this month and will remain open through February. So far it has been full every night.

Guests can reserve beds for the following night as long as they show up before 8 p.m.