Warming centers available in Columbia as winter weather hits

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COLUMBIA- As winter approaches, cold temperatures are making their way back to Columbia, with lows this week consistently below freezing. In response, the Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department is reminding people of warming stations and shelters around the city, open for those in need.

Warming centers are available during business hours, and provide a warm, public area with sitting room, restrooms and drinking fountains, free of charge.

Areas like the Columbia Public Library were chosen by the city as a warming center for their comfortable public spaces and free amenities.  

"We're open to all, we're one of the institutions we believe is the heart of the community," Lauren Williams said, adult and community services manager for Columbia's Public Library.

Williams is proud to have the library service the community in more ways than one, especially during Missouri's unpredictable winters.

"It's very cold out there right now, and people need places to go to do the things we all take for granted every day. A place to use the restroom, a place to get water, a place to enjoy a little entertainment or communicate with our friends via email or that sort of thing," Williams said. "I feel like it's an important part of our mission."

The following locations are designated warming centers during the winter months:

  • Activity and Recreation Center
  • Armory Sports and Community Center
  • Boone County Government Center
  • Boone County Public Health and Human Services
  • Columbia Mall
  • Columbia Public Library
  • Salvation Army
  • Salvation Army Harbor House
  • St. Francis House

Columbia's Activity and Recreation Center, mall and public library are open on weekends. Some locations' hours are only available by calling.

For a full list of warming center locations, operating hours and contact information, as well as information about shelters in Columbia, you can visit the City of Columbia's website.