(UPDATE at 2:41 p.m. on October 30, 2023)

KGVO mistakenly wrote that both the Poverello Center and the Johnson Street Emergency Shelter were ‘at capacity’ during the recent snowfall and cold snap. 

Executive Director Jill Bonny provided the accurate information. 

‘The main shelter is close to capacity each night and Johnson Street has not reached capacity once this year so far.  I feel like I stated that to you when I said we have not had to turn anyone away due to capacity and I hope it stays that way.’ 

In addition, this reporter inaccurately reported the numbers of persons staying in the shelters over the cold snap. 

Bonny again provided the accurate numbers. 

KGVO wrote: ‘We're serving up to 135 individuals at the main (Poverello Center) shelter on Broadway,” began Bonny.  “We can serve up to 165 sleeping but we can get more than that in the building if people just need a place to come in and get warm and it looks like last night was our highest census so far this season and that was 149.” 

Bonny corrected that statement by writing: 

‘This is talking about two different locations and it sounds like one.  We are serving up to 135 individuals at the Poverello Center Broadway location.  Also, we can serve up to 165 individuals sleeping but can get more in our building......our highest census so far this season was 149 talking about the Johnson St Shelter. ‘ 

This reporter apologizes to our readers for the inaccurate information, as the shelters work hard to house and feed Missoula’s homeless population. 

(First report at 6:06 p.m. on October 29, 2023)

Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Both of Missoula’s homeless shelters are at full capacity with the recent winter storm that hit western Montana on Wednesday and Thursday.

KGVO News spoke to Jill Bonny, Executive Director of both the Poverello Center and the Johnson Street Emergency Shelter on Friday for an update on the numbers of people utilizing the two shelters.

Jill Bonny Speaks for both the Poverello Center and the Johnson Street Shelter

“We're serving up to 135 individuals at the main (Poverello Center) shelter on Broadway,” began Bonny.  “We can serve up to 165 sleeping but we can get more than that in the building if people just need a place to come in and get warm and it looks like last night was our highest census so far this season and that was 149.”

Bonny said both facilities have what is called a ‘weather policy’, where behaviors usually not allowed can be tolerated in the name of safety.

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Both Shelters have what is Called a 'Weather Policy

“When the weather gets this cold, we have a weather policy, and so people who could have been out because of a behavior situation, then are allowed at least to come in at night when it gets this cold because we want to make sure people are safe,” she said. “And so I think that's really helpful for people just to be able to come in and on what we call weather policy.”

Bonny said in some areas the two facilities still have different policies.

“At the main Poverello shelter on Broadway, we have a check in time where people need to get on a list, and after 135 People then if there's not enough room and people would need to go to Johnson Street and then they have to check in at a certain time of night,” she said. “Where that's not the case at the Johnson Street Shelter, where people can come and go throughout the day, and there isn't a specific check in time.”

Bonny said both facilities need donations from the public to help those who are less fortunate.

Bonny says They Would Welcome Donations of Warm Coats and Socks

“Right now our biggest need is warm coats,” she said. “Our homeless outreach team takes those to individuals that are living in shelter but also if we have people that are just needing to walk to an appointment from the shelter or to work and don't have a warm coat, it's nice to have those in the shelter to hand out. “And socks; we always need socks so any of that warm clothing would be greatly appreciated.”

The debate over the Johnson Street Shelter continues in Missoula and has become an important issue in the current municipal election.

Inside Look at the New TSOS Shelters

The Temporary Safe Outdoor Space new hard-sided shelter facility officially opened on Thursday, January 5. The TSOS is just off West Broadway near the new Trinity affordable housing complex.

Gallery Credit: Nick Chrestenson

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