Room at the Inn to open in January at Wilkes Boulevard Church

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | 6:45 p.m. CST; updated 6:55 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 19, 2012

COLUMBIA — Mike Misslin no longer has to worry about where to stay during cold winter nights.

He can find overnight shelter at Room at the Inn.

Shelter program Information

The Interfaith Day Center

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: The Interfaith Center at 616 Parker Ave.

What: Lunches are provided, and guests can take showers.

Room at the Inn

When: 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. from January to February 2013

Where: Wilkes Boulevard Church at 702 Wilkes Blvd.

What: Guests can reserve beds at the Interfaith Day Center, but pre-registration is not required. Guests will be screened and their belongings will be locked up when they come in.

Room at the Inn volunteer training sessions 

  • 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 27, at Broadway Christian Church at 2601 W. Broadway.
  • 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 9, and 16  at Missouri Methodist Church on Ninth Street.

For more information on volunteering, call 246-0466. 

Now run by the Columbia Interfaith Resource Center, it is an overnight homeless shelter started by Missouri United Methodist Church on Ninth Street in 2010.

In January, the shelter will move to Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church at 702 Wilkes Blvd.

Eight churches in the Columbia area are involved in the program.

For Misslin, 49, the shelter has been his home during January and February since 2010.

"Having a warm place to sleep at night is very helpful," Misslin said. If it weren't for the shelter, he would probably be sleeping in a bus station.

The Rev. Larry A. Williams, pastor at Missouri United Methodist Church, said the reason for the program's relocation was that it became impossible for one congregation to host the program year after year.

Janet Schisser, the program's coordinator, said the shelter program is a community collaboration and each of the churches takes its turn in managing it.

The Wilkes Boulevard location has been prepared with 30 beds, sheets, blankets and pillows, Schisser said. Two-thirds of the $12,000 budget for the program has been donated. The rest of the money must still be collected, and organizers are also looking for more than 100 volunteers.

At the new location, Room at the Inn will serve snacks and light breakfasts in the morning. There will also be books provided to the shelter guests, so that they have something to read at night.

There are 40 homeless people in Boone County who are not registered with any shelters, according to the Resource Center's website.

Williams said resolving homelessness is a complicated issue.

"Homelessness is a big topic, and people we normally call homeless on the streets are a very small portion (of the people who require shelter)," Williams said.

Next year will be Misslin's fourth year staying at Room at the Inn. Even though the shelter has moved three times, it is nice to have a place to endure cold nights in January and February, Misslin said.

Making a permanent shelter for people such as Misslin is a need the churches and the resource center aspire to fill.

"Permanent shelter will be wonderful, and that's our goal some day," Schisser said.

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.


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