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      Columbia TMs homeless feel the heat

      The Oliver Gospel Mission will be opening their doors during the afternoon on days with dangerously high temperatures.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Many of the homeless in Columbia are trying to escape the hot temperatures and high humidity, but the options are limited.

      It TMs between the park and library, that's your only resources, said John Holmes.

      A popular misconception is that homelessness is a bigger problem in the winter than during the warm weather months.

      "Starting in October, you start seeing more stories in the newspaper about the homeless, said President and CEO of Oliver Gospel Mission Wayne Fields.

      Fields knows that people in need of a place to call home is a year-round issue.

      "On a typical basis, the men in our recovery program live at Oliver Gospel Mission, says Fields. The group of men, we call the community homeless are not in the facility during the day, but with extreme conditions like this, we are opening our day room.

      For the first time this summer, Oliver Gospel Mission will open its day room doors for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. It's still a far cry from protecting everyone from the sun's rays.

      I have seen people passed out, says Oscar Gadsden of Columbia I have seen ambulances come and actually take people to the hospital, and I know one person that has died.

      According to city officials, there is not a shelter that offers relief from the heat during the summer. However, there are various service buildings, like the Columbia City Fire Department that will allow people to come in and take a break from the heat.

      This is the first I have heard of this, said Holmes.

      It's an opportunity that Holmes says he won't take for granted.

      In the long run, I pray that the economy gets better and there are jobs for everybody, and we can all get up out of the heat together, said Holmes.