Missoula County Office of Emergency management Director Adriane Beck provided a thorough update to city and county officials on the effort by her Incident Management Team to identify and review possible locations for unhoused persons in Missoula.

View the presentation here.

Beck said there were 21 possible sites.

“We were able to assess 21 sites, a combination of private properties; city or county, and on parcels,” said Beck. “There is no single site that is suited to address the needs of the current or expected unsheltered population. What we think in consultation with our local subject matter experts, and in looking across the landscape of our county, is that many communities are dealing with this, and that we really need to look at options on a continuum and really look to deploy three different locations that have a different look and feel to them.”

As for options, Beck began with an obvious choice already owned by city and county government.

“So, based on our criteria to address the current limited capacity of local homeless shelters and lack of available housing, our recommendation is to utilize the city owned facility at 1427 West Broadway, which is the former Sleepy Inn for temporary transitional housing,” she said. “This site would be a hybrid site in that it is been most recently used for COVID response to provide isolation and quarantine rooms for individuals who had no suitable location to do so, which in almost all cases has been out of our homeless population.”

A location for safe outdoor camping was identified near the Super Wal-Mart off Reserve and Mullan Road.

“Our recommendation for a legal safe campground to address those experiencing homelessness who need a minimally supported safe option to illegal camping, would be to construct and design a camping area with sanitation services and security and designated camping spots at the city on parcel on at the end of Clark Fork Lane,” she said.

Another outdoor possibility was a parcel of land near the cemetery off Rodgers Street.

“A final recommendation for safe outdoor space to provide all season safe environment for individuals experiencing homelessness who are ready to access services geared toward placement into permanent housing, construct and design a hard sided outdoor space with individual shelters designated for single or double occupancy with separate shared bathroom and shower facilities would be at the city owned lots near the cemetery off of North Russell,” she said.

Anyone with suggestions on how to deal with the current and future unhoused population is asked to submit them at solutions@missoulacounty.us

The County Commissioners will direct staff on how to proceed at their July 15 administrative public meeting, and they will allocate any financial resources, likely using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, (ARPA) during the County's upcoming budget process. The City will take a similar approach during its budgeting process.

 

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