Cold snap leads to record use of Columbus homeless shelter

Last week’s cold weather led to record numbers of overnight stays at the Columbus Brighter Days homeless shelter.

The shelter is operated by Love Chapel and the Columbus Township Trustee’s office. Kelly Daugherty, the new executive director of Love Chapel, was in his first week flying solo in the new role, when a snowstorm shut down county roads over MLK Day weekend, and then a polar vortex just a few days later brought record colds to the area.

Daugherty said said that the shelter housed 36 people Tuesday night, and 41 on Wednesday night — a new record. He praised the efforts of staff and volunteers, but said there are areas that still need to be addressed in future disaster plans.

Columbus Township Trustee Ben Jackson said that he will be meeting with city officials soon to nail down housing plans for families in dire conditions.

Jackson said that he and others tried to find every homeless person they could to get them to the shelter during the worst of last week’s weather.

There have been no reports yet of any homeless residents injured or killed by the cold snap.

Jackson said there are several homeless people known to authorities and community members who simply will not accept the help nor give information about their living conditions. He said there is little to be done in those situations.