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Wabash to open as overnight shelter Monday, Tuesday and Thursday

The city of Columbia will open the Wabash Station as an overnight warming center for the unsheltered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday as temperatures are forecasted below 15 degrees, it announced in a news release Monday morning.

The city said in a Friday news release there would be a temporary increase in the activation temperature of the city’s only overnight warming center from a National Weather Service’s Forecast of 9 degrees or below to 15 degrees or below.

The city said in Monday’s news release that emergency overnight shelters, like Room at the Inn and Salvation Army Harbor House, are “the preferred option for persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness.” According to the city website, the center at Wabash is a "refuge of last resort.”

The Wabash Station, located at 126 N. Tenth St., will open from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, during which anybody is allowed to come in and out with no restrictions, making the warming center the lowest barrier option in Columbia for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

The change in activation temperature came after a protest was planned to demand an increase in the activation temperature to 32 degrees. The city cited COVID-19 capacity limitations and filling the gap until there can be a more permanent solution as the reason for this change.

Dozens of protesters showed up Friday to demand more access to the shelter, including a further increase of the activation temperature to 32 degrees as well as access to indoor bathrooms and fresh water, according to previous Missourian reporting.