Rapid Shelter Columbia set to open by November 1st

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)—

Rapid Shelter Columbia, the community being built for people experiencing homelessness, is set to open November 1st.

Officials from the City of Columbia gave progress updates earlier today on the pod community, located downtown on Calhoun Street.

Each of the 50 pods are meant for individual use, and have air and heating units as well as a fire extinguisher and emergency escape door.

The pre-made pods are assembled on-site and only take about an hour to put together.

Councilwoman Aditi Bussells says this project is a path to making a difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness.

“No neighbor, no citizen should be forced to live on the street. And when we take care of our own, our city grows. It thrives, and there’s so much potential we can reach. And so this is just one step in our journey to ensuring that Columbia is an exceptionally compassionate place that takes care of our citizens,” says Councilwoman Bussells.

The new Homeless Services Director for Columbia, Kameisha Heppard, says for now, people will be allowed to stay in a pod for up to 90 days.

“Our long term goal is to provide a long term solution with wrap-around services that provide each and every individual who is suffering through homelessness through whatever the circumstance is an opportunity to have a successful life moving forward in a home, shelter, apartment, etc.,” says Mayor Daniel Rickenmann.

Councilwoman Bussells says over 100 programs are available to address the different facets of homelessness including mental health and trauma.

The community will also have round-the-clock security and offer transportation options for people staying there.

As the homes are filled, forty-one of the pods are expected to be used by men and nine of the pods are expected to be used by women.

Individuals must be 18 or older, and no children are allowed to stay in the pods.

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