Warming centers available in Columbia for those in need

Monday, December 24, 2012 | 12:12 p.m. CST; updated 2:01 p.m. CST, Monday, December 24, 2012
Because of a weather forecast of only 29 degrees Monday, David Tye, right, and Jackie Richardson take advantage of the warming center at the the Missouri United Methodist Church on Ninth Street on Monday. The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services coordinates a network of nine warming centers around the city, and there are six overnight locations available for people needing shelter when the weather gets cold.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia and Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reminds residents of places where they can warm up during the cold weather this winter.

Monday is expected to be cloudy with a high 27 degrees and with a windchill as low as 20 degrees. On Tuesday, there is a 40 percent chance of snow with a high of 32 degrees and a windchill as low as 12 degrees , according to the National Weather Service website.

Tips for staying warm

The Columbia and Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services advises the public to consider these simple precautions to reduce cold weather threats:

  • Dress warm and stay dry. Wear a hat, scarf and mittens.
  • Do not ignore shivering, it is a sign that the body is losing heat. If shivering persists, go indoors.
  • Know the warning signs for hypothermia, an abnormally low body temperature. Continued exposure to cold temperatures can cause confusion, drowsiness, clumsiness and exhaustion.
  • Know the signs and symptoms for frostbite, or injury to the body caused by freezing. Frostbite mostly affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Signs include tingling and numbness, white or grayish yellow areas of skin, and skin that feels waxy.
  • Be safe while outdoors by avoiding ice-covered walkways, and be cautious while shoveling snow.
  • Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads, overpasses and bridges.
  • Limit outdoor time for children and monitor for signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who could be at high risk of cold-related injury or illness including elderly, those that are fighting an illness and people that do not have access to adequate heat.
  • Provide proper shelter for pets. If pets or livestock must remain outdoors, provide fresh water and food supplies on a regular basis.
  • If you become stranded in your vehicle, cover your body with extra clothing and remain in your vehicle.

Throughout the rest of the week, Wednesday's high is expected to be around 22 degrees , with highs in the lower 30s on Thursday and Friday.

The public is welcome to access lobbies, restrooms and drinking fountains of these places during normal business hours:

  • Activity and Recreation Center, 1707 W. Ash St., 874-7700
  • Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E. Ash St., 874-7466
  • Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St., 886-4305
  • Columbia/Boone City Department of Public Health and Human Services, 1005 W. Worley St., 874-7488
  • Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway, 443-3161
  • Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., 443-3111
  • Salvation Army, 1108 W. Ash St., 442-3229
  • Salvation Army Harbor House, 602 N. Ann St., 442-1984
  • St. Francis House, 901 Range Line St., 875-4913

These places provide sleeping accommodations for those in need:

  • New Life Evangelistic Center (for men), 901 Wilkes Blvd., 875-0603
  • Rainbow House (for children/youth), 1611 Towne Drive, 474-3558
  • Salvation Army Harbor House (for men, women and families), 602 N. Ann St., 442-1984
  • St. Francis House (for men), 901 Range Line St., 875-4913
  • True North (for victims of domestic violence), 875-1369
  • Welcome Home (for veterans), 1206 Range Line St., 443-8001

The Public Health and Human Services Department also provides two utilities assistance programs to Boone County residents. The Heat Energy and Light Program provides one-time emergency assistance to low-income families with young children. Citizens Assisting Seniors and Handicapped provides emergency assistance to low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Supervising editor is Zach Murdock.

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