COLUMBIA, S.C. — The City of Columbia has picked Kameisha Heppard to become the city's first Director of Homeless Services, a newly created role to coordinate efforts for the city's unhoused.
Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson announced the hire at a meeting of the city council Tuesday afternoon.
"Thank you for the opportunity," Heppard told the council after the hire was made public. "I look forward to doing the hard work."
Wilson also announced that Macklin Wall will be the city's Homeless Services Project Manager.
Heppard will work with both city officials and local organizations to coordinate their services. She's also tasked with providing accountability for the city's overall strategies and outcomes to address homeless.
One of those efforts is the city's still under construction Rapid Shelter Columbia, a year-round shelter for the unhoused in the city, complete with 50 mini pallet-style homes. The shelter will be at the city's existing inclement weather shelter on Calhoun Street.
Wall will be in charge of the day-to-day operation of Rapid Shelter Columbia and to provide oversight for other services offered there.
Both Heppard and Wall are University of South Carolina graduates. The city describes Heppard as a "seasoned leader, certified in trauma-informed care and skilled at engaging clients to bring forth behavioral changes." The city says Wall has served the homeless community through educational pursuits, volunteerism, and work experiences.
The city had said back in September that Rapid Shelter Columbia was supposed to be up and running by early November.