64 / 47
      68 / 51
      68 / 47

      Emergency shelter close to capacity

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - It has been a little over a month since the opening of the emergency shelter in downtown Columbia. Already, more than one hundred fifty beds are occupied in the two hundred forty bedroom capacity.

      "We have seen a little bit of an uptick, because of the weather has been cold these last two nights," said Pastor Kerry Breen, Director of the emergency shelter.

      Lately, cold temperatures have been a factor in why people come to the shelter, but those who have stayed overnight says there are other reasons as well.

      "When the homeless come, they're experiencing a greater level of help than they ever experienced before," said Breen.

      Those experiences include much needed programs provided to the homeless to help get them back on their feet.

      At one point, controversy surrounded the start up of the emergency shelter. Pastor Breen says with a collaborative effort from all service providers in Columbia, he believes the intimidation of the shelter's services felt by the homeless has been erased.

      "We think that in Columbia this is probably the greatest effort we've ever seen," said Breen.