Johnson Street Winter Shelter Ready to Open on Halloween
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - For the third year, the City of Missoula in conjunction with The Poverello Center and Black Knight Security welcomed media representatives into the Johnson Street Shelter to see the facility that will provide a safe space for the unhoused in Missoula.
KGVO News spoke to Emily Armstrong, Houseless Programs Manager who represented the City of Missoula at Thursday’s event.
The Shelter to Open on October 31
“It's an emergency shelter measure to really support resilience during the winter months,” began Armstrong. “So basically, it’s just a big warehouse that we turn into a shelter space that can sleep about 135 people. It'll open on Monday, next week, October 31, and it'll be open through March. Again, it’s really just to get folks through the worst of the cold months.”
Armstrong described the spartan facility with socially distanced mats on the floor for sleeping.
“We have sleeping mats for everyone and then the sleeping mats will have sleeping bags and sheets and blankets and everything that we can provide to make people as comfortable as possible. In the space that we have for their bathrooms, the Poverello Center has a shower trailer that they that they park on site for the season. There's a dining area that folks can sit in and chat and eat some food. There are hygiene items like COVID-19 cleaning supplies, as well. So we’re trying to make sure folks are as well cared for as possible, and there's a hot meal every day.”
Staff from the Poverello Center will be in Charge of the Facility
Lisa Sarois with the Poverello Center said she and her staff will be responsible for the shelter’s operations.
“We’re hiring, staffing and pretty much running the whole thing,” said Sarois. “We hired I think up to 20 and maybe more staff for this whole operation, so we can operate it 24/7. We offer the mats, we provide food and we provide access to showers, restrooms, clothing and donations, as much as we can.”
People Staying at the Shelter to Have Access to Many Services
Sarois said the individuals who stay at the Johnson Street Shelter will have access to a myriad of social services.
“People are here to get warm, and stay safe, but we're going to try our best to make sure they're connected to community resources, whatever that might may be, and for whatever their needs are,” she said. “In addition, we have our homeless outreach team who has more information into our community resources and can work directly with individuals here as well as outside of the facility to connect them to substance abuse services, counseling, housing related resources, public services, you name it. We can get them connected to whoever is necessary.”
Security for the facility will be provided by Black Knight Security and Investigations, which will be subject of a separate article on our website or mobile app.