The Room at the Inn shelter, which rotates among six churches in Columbia, opens its doors for the winter at the end of this weekend.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, 2615 Shepard Blvd., will host the shelter for the first two weeks, starting Sunday. Check-in will begin at 6:30 p.m. A shuttle will run from Loaves and Fishes, 702 Wilkes Blvd., starting around 5:30 p.m., said Shelter Operations Coordinator Jim Jantz.

Most of the churches have a capacity for 50 cots, but Unitarian Universalist can only hold 33, Jantz said. According to Jantz, the year-round shelters in the area don’t have enough space for everyone who needs shelter during the winter months.

“It’s important that us churches provide increased capacity during the coldest months,” Jantz said.

The program, which has been running for about 10 years, can operate because of the help of volunteers. Anyone looking to volunteer can sign up for shifts on the shelter’s website.

The program is currently in need of laundry transportation volunteers, who pick up laundry from the shelter, take it to be washed and bring it back

“That’s something that’s pretty pressing right now,” Jantz said.

The shelter will bounce between the participating churches, providing warm shelter until March 2.

The participating churches are:

  • Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd., Dec. 9 to 22.
  • Fairview United Methodist Church, 3200 Chapel Hill Road, Dec. 23 to Jan. 5.
  • Broadway Christian Church, 2601 W. Broadway, Jan. 6 to 26.
  • Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., Jan. 27 to Feb. 9.
  • First Presbyterian Church, 16 Hitt St., Feb. 10 to 16.
  • First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway, Feb. 17 to March 2.

The Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department has also set up designated warming centers. The following locations will be available to the public during each business’ normal hours:

  • Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) at 1707 W. Ash St. Phone: 573-874-7700.
  • Armory Sports and Community Center at 701 E. Ash St. Phone: 573-874-7466.
  • Boone County Government Center at 801 E. Walnut St. Phone: 573-886-4305.
  • Columbia/Boone County PHHS at 1005 W. Worley St. Phone: 573-874-488.
  • Columbia Mall at 2300 Bernadette Drive. Phone: 573-445-8458.
  • Columbia Public Library at 100 W. Broadway. Phone: 573-443-3161.
  • Salvation Army at 1108 W. Ash St. Phone: 573-442-3229.
  • Salvation Army Harbor House at 602 N. Ann St. Phone: 573-442-1984.
  • St. Francis House at 901 Range Line St. Phone: 573-875-4913.

Columbia’s official overnight shelters include:

  • New Life Evangelistic Center (for men) at 901 Wilkes Blvd.
  • Rainbow House (for children/youth) at 1611 Towne Drive
  • Salvation Army Harbor House at 602 N. Ann St.
  • St. Francis House (for men) at 901 Range Line St.
  • True North (for victims of domestic violence)
  • Welcome Home (for veterans) at 2120 Business Loop 70 East.
  • Fall 2018 reporter. I am a senior studying photojournalism.

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