Expired Contract Ends Dinners for Homeless

6:30 PM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Some of Columbia's homeless population may no longer have a place to get a meal in the evening.

After two years, a contract between the Salvation Army of the Midlands and Ebenezer Lutheran Church has come to an end. The contract's expiration puts a stop, at least for now, to the organization serving dinners to those without homes.

"It in no way means that the Salvation Army is just going to pull in the shingle," said Major Roget Coulson with the Salvation Army.

The church offered to extend the contract through the end of the year, but Coulson says the organization was looking to make changes.

"At the very beginning it was only intended to be a temporary solution while the army reviewed other options," he said.

Coulson says its plans to do more good with the homeless population in Columbia means they have to look for a place where they can grow and expand their services.

"There are just so many other programs and activities and components to establish an army mission ministry in a setting that allows us more time with them. That is going to have a huge impact," he said.

City Councilman Cameron Runyan says this situation shows the need to address homelessness in our area.

"We've got to have something in place in this city so that we catch those folks as soon as they hit the streets and we stop them from being able to integrate into the culture and we get them on their own path forward back to sustainability and remove them from being disenfranchised," said Runyan.

Coulson says they usually serve dinner to about 150 people, but he says the number drops during the summer. That is why he says now is the best time to start looking for more options.

"Everyone is still working hard on this issue. No one has given up. It's just that one chapter has closed and we're working with as many groups as we can to find out what that new chapter will be," said Coulson.


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