(Columbia, SC) – The City of Columbia, under the leadership of City Manager Teresa Wilson, showcased its groundbreaking Rapid Shelter Columbia program during the South Carolina City and County Management Association (SCCCMA) Conference held at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island from January 18 to 20, 2024.
The primary objective of the conference was to provide professional development and networking opportunities for members, fostering collaboration and the exchange of innovative ideas. City Manager Teresa Wilson, who also serves as the President of SCCCMA, played a pivotal role in emphasizing the importance of economic drivers; the impact of the industry and development; the evolution of the artificial intelligence (AI); and a host of other pertinent topics.
A highlight of the conference was the presentation by City Manager Teresa Wilson and Director of Homeless Services, Kameisha Heppard, on the city’s one-year-old Pallet transitional home program for the unsheltered, known as Rapid Shelter Columbia. This revolutionary initiative represents the first transitional housing project of its kind in the southeast region.
The city earmarked the site of its former Inclement Weather Center, located in Columbia, for the construction of approximately 50 Pallet sleeping cabins. These new temporary housing units are designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals experiencing homelessness. The existing congregate sleeping quarters on the property were retained and are utilized for overflow purposes during inclement weather nights.
Wilson’s dual role as the President of SCCCMA and City Manager underscores the commitment of the City of Columbia to strong leadership and collaboration in addressing the challenges faced by urban areas. Her presidency signifies not only the city’s dedication to professional development within the municipal management sphere but also highlights the emphasis on excellence in local governance as the capital city of South Carolina.
The Rapid Shelter Columbia project reflects the City of Columbia’s proactive approach to addressing homelessness and stands as a testament to its commitment to innovative solutions for the benefit of the community. As the conference concluded, attendees left with a renewed sense of purpose and a wealth of knowledge gained from inspiring initiatives that were showcased from various cities and counties including the City of Columbia.