Snowfall affects Columbia homeless shelters

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COLUMBIA - Winter weather strikes early in Columbia making it difficult for the homeless population.

The Columbia-Boone County Basic Needs Coalition shows that there are a total of 265 homeless people in Columbia as of 2017. Most of these people are housed in shelters where the others live with the uncertainty of where they will lay their heads at night.

The city received 1.5 inches of snow last night, a record for the date, which has come as a surprise to many. According to US Climate Data, Columbia has an average annual snowfall of 19 inches. The early snowfall has caused more people to be housed at shelters sooner than expected.

The Salvation Army Harbor House is one of the many homeless shelters in Columbia that will experience a greater number of visitors due to the cold weather. The Harbor House does not turn anyone away. This space becomes available when the temperature is below 45 degrees. The shelter is at maximum capacity of 61 guests for the night where the remaining guests will sleep in cots in the dining or lounge areas of the building.

The Salvation Army Area Business Administrator, Jack Holloway, said that the the Harbor House is “always accepting of donations” and that they “have cots in the closet and everything ready.”

The Salvation Army Harbor House is working to earn money to support its initiatives. Today, they started Christmas kettling to raise money and will be fundraising for supplies and materials until December 24th.

Columbia homeless shelters want to make sure that everyone is fully supported throughout the early winter season.