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Columbia Parks and Rec to clear out homeless encampment on Monday; year-round shelter doesn’t expect to see increased occupancy


The City of Columbia is expected to begin clearing out a homeless encampment on Monday, according to a sign posted near the site.

The encampment is located in a wooded area near Old 63 and Broadway. According to the sign, Parks and Recreation will conduct the clean-up, and asked for personal belongings to be removed from the area. ABC 17 News saw shopping carts, clothing, and at least one tent in the area along the Hinkson Creek Trail.

ABC 17 News reached out to the City of Columbia and Parks and Recreation for comment.

Room at the Inn is one of the shelters offered to the homeless community in the City of Columbia.

Executive Director of the Room at the Inn John Trapp said the shelter combined with Loaves and Fishes -- an organization that provides meals to the homeless -- on April 1. According to Trapp, the merge caused RATI to decrease its number of cots from 85 to 75.

Trapp said the shelter has seen on average 55 people per night, a decrease from when it was steadily at full capacity in January. In October, the Columbia City Council approved a resolution for funding that allows RATI to stay open year-round. The shelter was previously only open during the winter months.

Trapp said he doesn't anticipate the removal of the encampment on Monday to drive numbers up.

"You know, this is our first summer, so I don't know how much the heat is going to drive people in," Trapp said. "I don't think the camp that's being closed has very much occupants, so I don't think it'll make a big impact on us."

Trapp noted in the event the shelter had to continuously turn people away, it would increase its capacity.

The City of Columbia has previously cleaned out homeless encampments. The city cleared out an encampment near the Highway 63/Interstate 70 connector in April 2023 and December 2023, and the Missouri Department of Transportation cleared out a camp near eastbound Interstate 70 by the Providence Road exit.

Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams told ABC 17 News previously the city was seeing an increase in homeless individuals in the city. Williams said he believed the increase was due to people coming from Columbia after encampments were cleared.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Nia Hinson


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