Warming centers, shelters available this winter

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services coordinates a network of warming and cooling centers in the community during extreme temperatures. As the temperature begins to drop, the public is reminded of several locations in Columbia available to those who need shelter from the extreme cold.

Warming centers are available to the general public during the building’s normal business hours. The public is allowed access to public areas, such as lobbies, restrooms, drinking fountains, etc.

Columbia’s warming centers include:

  • ARC (Activity and Recreation Center), 1701 W. Ash St.
  • Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E. Ash St.
  • Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.
  • Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, 1005 W. Worley St.

Official shelters provide sleeping accommodations. These locations may or may not include meals. Columbia’s official shelters include:

  • Room at the Inn, visit roomattheinncomo.org for dates and locations
  • Salvation Army Harbor House (men, women, and families), 602 N. Ann St.
  • St. Francis House (for men), 901 Range Line St. – no availability at this time
  • Lois Bryant House (women and families), 913 Range Line St. – no availability at this time
  • Rainbow House (for children/youth), 1611 Towne Dr.
  • True North (for domestic violence), please call 573.875.1370
  • Welcome Home (for veterans), 2120 Business Loop 70 E.

A map of the warming centers and shelter locations is available on CoMo.gov, search “warming centers.”

In order to reduce cold weather threats, consider these precautions:

  • Dress warm and stay dry.
  • Wear a hat, scarf and mittens.
  • Do not ignore shivering. Shivering is a sign that the body is losing heat. If shivering persists, go indoors.
  • Know the warning signs for hypothermia, an abnormally low body temperature. Continued exposure to cold temperatures can cause confusion, drowsiness, clumsiness and exhaustion.
  • Know the signs and symptoms for frostbite or injury to the body caused by freezing. Frostbite mostly affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Signs include tingling and numbness, white or grayish-yellow areas of skin and skin that feels waxy. 
  • Avoid ice-covered walkways and be cautious while shoveling snow and clearing walkways.
  • Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads, overpasses and bridges.
  • Limit outdoor time for children and monitor for signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who could be at high risk of cold-related injury or illness including elderly, those who are fighting an illness and people who do not have access to adequate heat.
  • Provide proper shelter for pets. If pets or livestock must remain outdoors, provide fresh water and food supplies on a regular basis.

Drivers who become stranded in their vehicle should cover their body with extra clothing and remain in the vehicle.

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