Transitional Living Ministry

Transitional Living Ministry
Hands Across the Street's Transitional Living Ministry is a combination of two ministries that previously operated separately:  the Columbia Winter Shelter and the Day Center Program for Change. In the fall of 2016, the two ministries were joined together in order to streamline the approach to reducing the homeless population in the community of Columbia.  Our goal is to utilize the shelter not only to meet the basic needs of homeless individuals, but also to build trusting and caring relationships with these individuals while strongly encouraging them to take advantage of the Day Center Program for Change in order to become self-sustaining residents of Columbia.

In previous years, the Winter Shelter for the homeless in Columbia was open seven days a week, 7:00 pm until 6:30 am, from December until the end of March.  The shelter location rotated weekly or bi-weekly through local churches.  Sleeping facilities, an evening meal, and a light breakfast were provided for the guests.  Depending on the site, showers and laundry capabilities were also an option.  Guests of the Winter Shelter could take advantage of the Day Center Program for Change, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Participants were required to commit to changing their status from homelessness to independence.  The staff assisted each person in creating and meeting goals tailored to their needs in order to gain and maintain independence.  Lunch was provided daily, and each person was given an opportunity to do their laundry, shower, and use a telephone to meet their goals.

Beginning the 2016-2017 season, not only are we beginning to consolidate our efforts to reduce homelessness in Columbia, but we are also looking to expand our efforts into a year-round ministry.  In addition, we will continue to actively seek a permanent, stationary location in Columbia for the Shelter and Day Center.

Volunteers are crucial to the operation and success of our ministry. We are always seeking more

individuals with a "heart for helping others" to serve in many different ways including overnight with our guests, meal donation/delivery or in-house preparation/clean-up, laundry helpers, transferring sleeping items to different shelter sites, etc.  If you have a heart for helping others and would like to know more about volunteer opportunities, please contact Shawna Ciampanelli, Transitional Living Coordinator, at (717) 449-4136 or

The participating churches are St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, St. John's Lutheran, Vision Columbia, St. Peter's Catholic, Ashley Tabernacle (COGIC), Salem United Church of Christ, and Mountville Church of the Brethren and Columbia Presbyterian Church.