Transitions Homeless Center prepares to help as cold weather approaches

Transitions kitchen

By Karamie Sullivan 

Many people look forward to the month of December for holiday celebrations and time with family.  However, one group of people may not be looking forward to everything that comes with the winter season in the Midlands.

December is most likely to bring a cold snap to Columbia and that leaves the city’s homeless population exposed to freezing temperatures and inclement weather.  Transitions Homeless Center is in charge of running the Inclement Weather Center on Calhoun Street, and they are prepared to take in large amounts of people as the weather gets worse.

The Inclement Weather Center will be open on nights when it will be 40 degrees and below, or between 41-45 degrees with a strong chance of rain/snow.  Transitions CEO Craig Currey said the center is capable of housing up to 240 people per night.

“Nobody needs to be sleeping there on the street when the center is open,” he said.  According to Currey, people in need of spending the night at the IWC will be picked up at the Queen of Hearts building across from the Sumter Street transit station.  The last van will leave at 7 p.m.  No one is to walk to the center and show up there, they must be transported there by van and bus.

Once there, people will receive a hot dinner and continental breakfast in the morning, provided by the Salvation Army.  Then the vans will transport them back.

Volunteers are needed at the IWC on the nights they will be housing the homeless.  “We’re always needing volunteers, especially as this continues into the new year,” said Currey.  People interested in volunteering can visit and sign up for one of the slots that’s available per night. Currey also said that they are not planning on turning anyone away.“We’ve never gone over capacity within the past three years,” he said.