A proposed 120-bed homeless shelter near Columbia’s power plant and former VFW Post 280 building is a step closer to reality.
The city council voted Monday evening to approve a permit that allows for the construction and operation of the proposed shelter near the Business Loop. The Voluntary Action Center (VAC) would operate the shelter, under the proposal.
City manager De’Carlon Seewood believes there are 100 to 200 homeless residents in town. Mr. Seewood’s report says clients at the proposed homeless shelter are to be single men and women experiencing homelessness. The longest they could stay at the shelter would be 90 days, according to Mr. Seewood’s report.
The proposed shelter would also include a commercial, laundry facilities, pet kennels, restrooms and showers. Critics of the proposal say there are inadequate sidewalks in that area and not enough services for the homeless.
The city has also purchased VFW Post 280’s building and parking lots on Ashley street for $865,000. The city used federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars for the purchase. President Joe Biden (D) signed ARPA into law. The VFW property is located just behind Columbia’s municipal power plant.