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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - After months of controversy the emergency Homeless Shelter in Columbia has opened their doors.

With temperatures dipping into the 30's Wednesday night, finding a safe place to stay is a major concern for the homeless.

The Columbia Emergency Homeless shelter has been open for two weeks and it's already at capacity for men and close to capacity for women.

"I think getting the rest, being able to get to your designated stops with the transportation and never worrying about having three meals a day. I think today is an example of those who found a place to start over again and to pick up the pieces from brokenness," said Pastor Jimmy Jones with Christ Central Ministries.

The homeless problem in the city of Columbia has become a growing problem. The next six months the city is trying to help those in need with the emergency shelter.

Jones says their goal is to help the homeless get jobs and permanent places to stay.

"We have already been able to get many people out of the shelter and into transitional housing, some into work with housing so it's been a very successful start early in these two weeks."

Christ Central provides transportation each day for the homeless to get to the hospital and other needs like going to the library.

Jones says it's not just his ministry involved; it's a team effort.

"Many of the churches are serving the meals in the evening, many are serving breakfast and a lot have stepped up to serve the lunches both here and out in the city."

Jones says the emergency shelter is making a big difference in the lives of the homeless and credits the city leadership for stepping up and extending the time that the shelter is open.

"I am excited about what our city is doing, the most exciting thing is that they feel the response but it is the whole of the city giving the care and compassion."

The shelter will be open until April.

If you would like to volunteer at the shelter contact Pastor Jimmy Jones at (803) 708-6803 or email him at jimmychristcentral@gmail.com

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