Floodwaters force those living in homeless camp to seek higher ground

Posted at 4:15 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 18:15:29-04

MISSOULA – Located along the Clark Fork River next to Reserve Street in Missoula is a homeless camp that has quickly seen its dry space overrun by flooding.

“The way the water is rising so quickly, I think they’re all in a little bit of danger,” says April Seat, Director of Outreach for Missoula’s Union Gospel Mission.

Seat is heading up a group of volunteers who have been in response mode since this past Saturday. 

"In the midst of us coming down here this weekend, it was filling up their tents and their campsite areas. So they lost everything they had, so we did what we can to get them to higher ground.”

Seat says, in all, nearly a dozen were forced to move to higher ground. The Missoula Gospel Union offers help through volunteer efforts frequently for those living in the camp, and they are now in more need than ever. 

“Right now we have a search and rescue team where we come out and offer these clients housing options and resources to get them out of the situation, coordinating efforts with their family or support system to see what we can do.”

Because the mission works regularly with the homeless in the community, Seat says trust has been built with those living in the camp. She says opportunities to stay temporarily at the Gospel Union Mission are available, and she says they also work with the Poverello Center. 

“We have one guy that we dealt with on Saturday that is now staying with a member from our church, and we’re currently helping him find the resources he needs to get transitional housing that he needs.”

Seat says the bottom line is making sure everybody in the camp knows that they have a place to go while the river continues to run high, whether that means a temporary home or another outdoor location where they are not in danger.