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Council Approves Homeless Shelter

COLUMBUS (Adam Aaro) -- The Columbus City Council approved funding for renovations to a warehouse on the west side that will be home to a new homeless shelter.

In an unanimous vote Monday evening, the council approved $700,000 worth of renovations to the vacant warehouse at 595 Van Buren Drive.

Michelle Heritage is the Executive Director of the Community Shelter Board. She says the number of homeless families has risen 65-percent over the last three years and the number of single men and women who are homeless needing shelter has risen by 14-percent. That has left shelters scrambling to find open beds and has left many on a waiting list.

"Some women have waited as long as two weeks to get a shelter bed," said Heritage. "That means they're sleeping on the streets, in an abandoned building or under bridges."

So Heritage says this soon to be renovated 40,000 square-foot space is crucial to making sure everyone's needs are being met. And she says the location is ideal for a large shelter like this. 

"It is not in a heavily residential area." said Heritage. "It is on five acres so there's a lot of buffer room between us and our neighbors."

Renovations will begin in January and city leaders hope to have it completed by May.
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