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Columbia City Council approves agreement for mobile showers, medical clinic


The Columbia City Council approved an agreement on Monday with COMO Mobile Aid Collective for a mobile shower trailer and parking lot space for a mobile medical clinic in Central Columbia.

The measure was unanimously approved with the consent agenda.

Room at the Inn Como sits at the location at 1509 Ashley St. and serves as a year-round overnight shelter for people experiencing homelessness. RATI says it's been serving about 50 to 60 people each month and sees a fluctuating number of guests, depending on the weather.

According to the city council agenda item, the city would allow COMO Mobile Aid Collective to use the city-owned mobile shower trailer under the Shower to Empower program. If approved, COMO Mobile Aid Collective can run the shower trailer during the following dates on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

  • April 15, 2024, through October 2024
  • April 15, 2025, through Oct. 15, 2025

"We are happy to have COMO Mobile Aid working from the pavilion," RATI executive director John Trapp said. "They have proven to be good partners and run a good operation."

COMO Mobile Aid Collective is also looking to run a mobile medical clinic in the Ashley Street parking lot for people experiencing homelessness. The agenda items state the group wants to move services because they can no longer provide medical services at Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church. This location is better known to some as Turning Point.

"Showers and basic medical care are a great help both to those who use the shelter and those who choose not to," Trapp said. "It is my understanding that the medical care offered is first aid, triage, and referral."

Trapp says RATI's attendance numbers increase during bad weather and decrease when the weather is fair. Since this is the first summer the location has been open year-round, Trapp says they are not sure how many people to expect.

The council memo says use of the space will have no fiscal impact on the city. The city awarded COMO Mobile Aid Collective $250,000 from federal COVID-19 stimulus funds in January for homeless outreach services. That contract goes through January 2027.

COMO Mobile Aid Collective has not responded to a request for comment.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.


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