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Proposed homeless shelter near Business Loop goes before Columbia’s city council tonight

A proposed 100-120 bed homeless shelter would be built near Columbia’s municipal power plant off the Business Loop (2022 file photo courtesy of City of Columbia Utilities)

Columbia’s city council is set to vote Monday night on a permit that would allow for the construction and operation of a proposed 120-bed homeless shelter near the city’s power plant and former VFW Post 280 building.

It would be built near the Business Loop. The Voluntary Action Center (VAC) would operate the shelter, under the proposal.

City manager De’Carlon Seewood believes there are anywhere from 100 to 200 homeless residents in town. Sheltering the unhoused has been a top priority for Mr. Seewood, who notes Room at the Inn (RATI) has moved near the former VFW post.

Mr. Seewood’s four-page report to the city council says clients at the proposed homeless shelter are to be single men and women experiencing homelessness. The maximum duration of stay would be 90 days, according to Seewood’s report. The proposed shelter would also include a commercial kitchen capable of serving up to 200 daily evening meals, a computer lab, pet kennels, laundry facilities, restrooms and showers.

Critics of the proposal say there are inadequate sidewalks in that area and not enough services for the homeless.

Tonight’s council meeting begins at 7 at city hall.