Columbia City Council is tossing over options on how to provide services for the homeless.
One of the immediate concerns is what to do about evening meals.
Those had been provided at a downtown church through an agreement with the Salvation Army, but that arrangement ended on Easter weekend.
City Councilman Cameron Runyan feels a short-term solution – for the next two or three years – could be handling the meals at the city's winter shelter because of how well that went previously.
“I'll tell you, it was amazing. It was the first time we've never had the police called to come down there, we didn't have any fights, we didn't have shootings and stabbings as they've had in past years,” Runyan says.
“Everything was calm, it was under control. We never reached full capacity for the first time ever. So, it was just very, very successful what we were able to do.”
Runyan feels the long-term solution is for the city to step aside and harness the efforts of various service providers and the faith community into a unified program to offer the homeless food and shelter.
Meanwhile, city officials hope to get public input on possible solutions at two community meetings on the subject.
They'll both be at the Earlewood Park Community Center in the 1100 block of Parkside Drive.
One session is Friday morning from 9 to noon.
The other will be Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Public input can also be provided by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.