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Columbia City Council to vote on new homeless shelter

The Columbia City Council will vote Monday night whether or not to build a new homeless”drop in” center just north of downtown.

The proposed lot is on north 8th Street and has been vacant for 20 years.

The lot is around 21,000 square feet and the city appropriated more than $126,000in 2012 to buy the land.

The land will have to be re-zoned and will still require an environmental clearance.

City members said the long term goal of the shelter is to provide somewhat of a permanentplace where the homeless can go during the day to take care of their everyday needs.

After the land is acquired they hope to find a partner in the social service industry who willbuild and run the shelter.

ABC 17 News asked if the need for this homeless shelter was due to an increase in more people on the

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said he believes the homeless rate has remained steady, but there needsto be more daytime facilities for this community to go to.

St. Romaine said Monday night’s voting will be just the first of many steps in moving forward with this project.

“The idea of having a facility during the day where these folks can go and find a shower, they can find a shave, theycan find some of the assistance they need we think will be beneficial to that community,” said St. Romaine.

Although the city feels this will be helpful to get more of the homeless off the streets, those who live across the street from the potential shelter feel differently about the idea.

“It doesn’t matter who’s backing it, it’s just a bad idea when you have families living around here,” said Columbia residentGeraldine Perkins.

If passed, the next step will be to find someone to build on the lot.

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