The Missoula Salvation Army needs another $18,000 before they can open their highly anticipated ‘Warming Center’ for those who must spend the night in the winter cold.

Last Friday, the Missoula City Council approved an emergency interim zoning request for the Salvation Army to establish the warming center, according to Captain Josh Boyd.

“This will be a shelter for folks during the cold winter months,” said Boyd. “While there are some shelters in the community, there really isn’t enough space for all the people in town that are homeless. It can be dangerous or even life-threatening to stay outside in these cold temperatures, so this shelter would be a place where people could come in, get warm and avoid those potentially life-threatening conditions.”

Boyd said the warming center won’t be anything fancy, just a warm, safe place to spend the night.

“There will be some coffee available and restroom facilities, but primarily, the center will just be a place to get out of the cold for the night,” he said. “We are looking to be able to place 40 to 50 people per night in the warming center, so we’ll just open the doors and take people as they come.”

Boyd said the fundraising is coming along at a steady pace. At the City Council meeting, he said that half of the $50,000 had already been raised and less than a week later, that total had increased.

“We are right around $32,000 so far, with our overall goal of $50,000 dollars,” he said. “That’s to cover the cost of staffing primarily, as well as some supplies for the center. We definitely need to work hard at that fundraising component.”

Boyd said that the Salvation Army management will not allow work to start on the warming center until the entire $50,000 has been raised. Anyone who wishes to donate can either drop a check by at the Salvation Army headquarters on South Russell, or place a check in any of the Salvation Army red kettles all over town with a notation that the funds are for the warming shelter.