NewsMissoula County


Montana National Guard making an impact at the Poverello Center

Posted at 5:04 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 13:23:55-04

MISSOULA — The Montana National Guard is pitching in at the Poverello Center after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday they were at the Missoula Food Bank, picking up sack lunches for people in need.

Poverello Director of Development Jesse Jaeger said these resources are especially helpful during these difficult times.

“If you could imagine being told, you need to social distance at home, you need to do those things, but when you don’t have a home, that becomes very very stressful.”

Jaeger said people experiencing homelessness might also be experiencing increased mental health issues.

"It's a stressful time for all of us. When you add to the fact that if you don't have a home, and you're already in crisis, that just makes it worse."

Services at the homeless shelter are currently limited.

Only 98 people can stay there, compared to a usual 150 in summer months, hours are shortened, and staff who tested positive or are close contacts are quarantined.

"We're trying to do everything we can to support those folks, and get them connected to the services they need, but yeah this is a challenging time," said Jaeger.

He said that's why it's so helpful to have the Montana National Guard picking up these meals for people.

The National Guard is also helping distribute the meals, doing COVID screenings, checking people in and cleaning at the shelter.

Jaeger says the National Guard has an initial deployment of two weeks.

He says the shelter hopes to be back to semi-normal operating procedures by next week after the positive staff members are done quarantining.