City of Columbia introduced Rapid Shelter Columbia

Read updates on the new development set to take its first clients by the first of November.

Pallet housing for the new transitional housing coming to Columbia

An example of the Pallet housing units coming to Columbia.

Photo by

Table of Contents

The City of Columbia announced the launch of Rapid Shelter Columbia — the first transitional housing project + development of its kind in the Southeast back in September.

This city project, now almost complete, has had a 70-day turnaround from its initial announcement to becoming operable on Nov. 1. The City of Columbia gave updates about the project + we’re giving you the highlights.

Rapid Shelter Columbia neighborhood

Aerial shot of Rapid Shelter Columbia | Photo provided by City of Columbia.

Project details

  • The former Inclement Weather Center located at 191 Calhoun St. is being flipped into temporary housing units.
  • 50 new single-unit Pallet sleeping cabins are currently being constructed alongside the already existing sleeping quarters, which will still be used for overflow.
  • The project will cost ~$800,000, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act + allocated funds to manage the existing facility.
  • Those living in the temporary housing pallets will have access to local professionals who plan to help individuals find permanent housing.
  • The new shelter will have 24-hour security (with 29 cameras installed around the property) and the city is hiring several staff members to manage the new site.
  • It will be an adult facility for ages 18+ within city limits.
Rapid Shelter Columbia construction

The construction currently underway at Rapid Shelter Columbia is to be complete by Nov. 1.

Photo provided by City of Columbia.

Construction details

  • There will be 54 pallet shelters in total.
  • 50 of the pallets are 64 sqft units which will house one person each.
  • Four units are 100 sqft and will be used for security, city staff, and operations.
  • Each unit has air conditioning, heating, a fire extinguisher, outlets, and one bed.

Short term goals

There are ~250 people within city limits who are chronically unsheltered. Cola wants to use Rapid Shelter Columbia as a stepping stone in creating a hub where people have access to effective resources + services.

Long term goals

Columbia is one of the only places that provides low-barrier shelters (like Transitions Homeless Center), serving ~19 counties.

It’s looking for regional + state cooperation to provide well-supported services, including mental health resources that stay open after 5 p.m.

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