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Transitions Columbia aiding homeless during coronavirus health concerns

Transitions on Main Street is enacting CDC guidelines while offering care and comfort to those in need
Credit: WLTX

COLUMBIA, S.C. — At work or at home, there are guidelines that you should follow in order to try and stay healthy during the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. 

The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

But what do you do if you're homeless and rely on shelters for a place to sleep at night and meals during the day?

At Transitions in Columbia, CEO Craig Currey says the organization has been able to maintain most of the programs and services needed by the men and women that Transitions serves either as residents or non-resident day users.

Currey says that Transitions is still taking new clients and although the 260 beds at the 2025 Main Street location are full, they are trying to secure a safe place for those clients to stay.

"We will continue to serve the homeless, that's number one," he said. 

He believes that Transitions is the last organization in the Columbia area still taking people in.

Currey said the organization still serves between 500 to 600 meals a day -- that's breakfast, lunch and dinner to clients. Non clients, or day users, are welcomed by Transitions to come in and use the bathrooms, take a shower or eat lunch.

Some of the on-site partners at Transitions still there to help those in need include The (Eau Claire) Cooperative Health, Columbia Area Mental Health and the Salvation Army.

RELATED: Midlands homeless center making changes admist growinf COVID-19 pandemic 

There have been modifications to the daily routine at Transitions to ensure the safety and health of the clients, staff and volunteers.

  • Volunteers are not exposed to clients and come and go through separate entrance
  • Common areas are cleaned and sanitized more frequently during the day
  • Several new hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the facility and staff and clients are educated and reminded of the importance of frequently washing their hands.
  • Staff and clients are provided masks when necessary or requested
  • Space has been maximized between the faces of clients when they are in bed to be as far from another person as possible
  • Clients may now remain in their room if feeling unwell or want to isolate themselves from others
  • Meals are now served in shifts and clients must maintain 6 feet of distance in line
  • The organization has temporarily stopped volunteer education and tours.

Currey says thanks to a gift from Elevation Church, Transitions now has non-contact head thermometers to test all incoming guests to ensure they are asymptomatic.

He says Transitions has enough face masks but are in need of the same things hospital workers and first responders need: protective goggles.

Currey wants to remind everyone to not forget those in need during this time.

RELATED: United Way launches fund to help those impacted by coronavirus in the Midlands