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Dozens protesting outside Wabash Bus Station over Columbia’s warming center policies

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Dozens of protestors are outside the Wabash Bus Station over the City of Columbia temperature policy.

Watch a replay of protestors standing outside the Wabash Bus Station.

“First and foremost our unsheltered neighbors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Even a shelter of last resort should have the minimal amenities of restrooms and fresh water and be accessible to people with disabilities. I’m glad to see the City of Columbia has temporarily raised the maximum temperature to open Wabash Station to 15 degrees for tonight and next Tuesday. But 15 degrees is still bitterly cold and asking our community members to suffer and bear it is cruel,” says David Seamon, a City of Columbia mayoral candidate.

During the city council meeting Tuesday, several officials including Health Department Director Stephanie Browning and new City Manager De’Carlon Seewood questioned whether the bus Station is the ideal place for the emergency warming center.

The City of Columbia says it will open the overnight warming center at Wabash Bus Station on Tenth Street Friday and again on Tuesday.

The city is raising the low-temperature threshold to open the center from 9 degrees to 15 degrees. Activists called on the city this week to raise that temperature level to help the homeless population. An activist group plans a protest Friday evening outside the bus station to push for the temperature threshold to increase to 32 degrees.

The city cited limitations at other shelters because of the COVID-19 pandemic for the decision to raise the temperature threshold. The center will be open from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Tuesday nights.

The city and county health department also coordinates daytime warming and cooling centers. They are:

  • The ARC (Activity and Recreation Center), 1701 W. Ash St.
  • Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.
  • Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, 1005 W. Worley St.
  • Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway
  • Salvation Army, 1108 W. Ash St.
  • Salvation Army Harbor House, 602 N. Ann St.
  • St. Francis House, 901 Range Line St.

Other official shelters provide sleeping accommodations. They are:

  • Room at the Inn, visit roomattheinncomo.org for dates and locations
  • Salvation Army Harbor House (men, women and families), 602 N. Ann St.
  • Rainbow House (for children/youth), 1611 Towne Drive
  • True North (for domestic violence), please call 573-875-1370
  • Welcome Home (for veterans), 2120 Business Loop 70 E.
  • St. Francis House (for men), 901 Range Line St. - must be vaccinated to stay overnight
  • Flourish (for youth), please call 573-615-6135

More information on warming centers is available at this link.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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