COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Wednesday afternoon Columbia city leaders arrived at the former inclement weather shelter to give updates on what is being called Rapid Shelter Columbia.
According to the city, 50 units, each 64 square foot, are being constructed and will house chronically homeless individuals.
Each unit has an air conditioner, electric outlets, USB ports, a fire extinguisher, and a bed.
When Columbia first announced the plan in September, officials mentioned a new position that would be added to help find homelessness.
Since then, Kameisha Heppard has been hired as Columbia's first Director of Homeless Services.
She said that since being hired in October, she has been working on guidelines, creating programs, hiring new staff, and meeting with city partners.
Heppard added she will now work in a team of seven with two other full time members and four contracted individuals. They will work as case managers and outreach providers. She sees rapid shelter Columbia as being an important step in helping Columbia's homeless with the next step being outreach.
"Outreach is those individuals that's out in the community, boots on the ground, under the bridges, in the grave yards, addressing those concerns from business owners, and homeowners, so they're going to be really influential in this."
Craig Currey is the CEO of Transitions Homeless Center, Columbia's largest homeless shelter. He says that mental health and addiction are big issues among Columbia's unhoused. His team will be joining the project to provide services and outreach- things that he says are crucial to long term resolutions.
"It's an idea of getting the help to where the people are so they can get together. And if that doesn't happen, a lot of folks don't get help."
Heppard says her team is open to hiring some of the residents to help with maintaining the facility. She hopes to have the first 10 individuals move in by November 1st.