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Opportunity Campus Update

We wanted to offer you a quick update on the Voluntary Action Center's (VAC) planned Opportunity Campus designed to provide shelter, medical services, and other resources to the unsheltered population (see www.opportunitycampuscomo.org). As you probably know, the goal is to locate the campus on the Business Loop, just east of the Municipal Power Plant.

According to news reports, VAC received a state ARPA grant for $6 million, which requires a 50% match. Boone County did NOT award VAC any funds. The city has awarded VAC $3 million in ARPA funds. VAC has also withdrawn a request for $150,000 in federal funding for the land purchase. (In an additional note, the city also designed $1.2 milllion in ARPA funds to upgrade the Ashley Street Center just east of the power plant in order to support Loaves and Fishes.)

Loop CID representatives attended an input session on the hiring of the new police chief and emphasized how important it was that the new chief understand the impact a facility like this would have on the surrounding area and be able to implement a public safety operations plan for anticipated overflow problems. We have support for this very reasonable request and we will continue to advocate for it.

The Room at the Inn does host a cold weather shelter over at the old VFW building (renamed the Ashley Street Center) and the city is in the process of upgrading the facility with the anticipation that Loaves and Fishes will move into this space. Last year the city ran a bus morning and evening between the shelter and downtown for the folks using the center.

As you can see, while work on the Ashley Street Center is progressing the Opportunity Campus remains a multi-year project with any number of hurdles to surmount. Regardless, we are working with the city and others to prepare with the goal of reducing as much negative impact as possible.

We will continue to keep everyone updated as we learn more. 

14 Business Loop 70 East
Columbia, MO 65203
573- 443-5667 (LOOP)
[email protected]

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