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Columbia’s homeless population asks for more resources as dangerous temperatures set in


Resources at Mid-Missouri homeless shelters could be thin with members of the vulnerable population needing assistance.

Wilkes Boulevard United Methoidst Church, Salvation Army, St. Francis House and others serve Columbia's homeless population.

Some homeless shelters require a state ID or background check to enter the homes, according to members of Columbia's homeless population. Oftentimes, homeless people may not have one or both pieces of identification said the same individuals.

Demeco Williams said more assistance needs to be made available to the homeless population.

"We need to come up with better resources and something to work this out because it's bad out here," Williams said.

Emilio Fernandez said it can be hard getting into homeless shelters.

"It's all up to them whether they let you in or not," Fernandez said. "I got a sleeping bag here, so if I can't get into one tonight, I'll be sleeping on (it)."

Room at the Inn is scheduled to open Dec. 8 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbia. The shelter is located at 2615 Shepard Blvd.

A report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows there are about 5,900 homeless people at any given time around the state. Columbia Boone County Public Health and Human Services department said there were about 265 homeless people in Columbia in 2017.

Columbia / Columbia Video / News / Video

Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.

Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto started working with ABC 17 News in June after graduating from California State University-Channel Islands with a degree in organizational communication. He reports weekday evenings and weekend mornings.



    1. Being blessed with skills, an address, a phone is the basic of “earning” the opportunity to get a job. And better hope you don’t have a mental illness that can’t be controlled. There are ‘reasons’ that people are homeless. You can’t actually pull yourself up by using your own bootstraps. Sometimes/Most of the time it requires the help of others.

  1. I want people to be held accountable for themselves, but if they are willing to try, then let’s help them do that. If I want to give to a good shelter program, which one do you recommend? Or do they get enough already from Hud? Also, how do you feel about giving money to people begging on the street, or at onramps etc. I would rather direct them to a shelter program, than give directly to them, any opinions?

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