BOZEMAN - Missoula is not the only city that has seen an increase in "urban camping."
The City of Bozeman has grown rapidly, and with that has come growing pains things like affordable housing, high cost of living, and lack of daycare.
Residents have run out of resources and that has led some to live out on the street, which has caused a new problem — urban camping.
“We need to have at least the value to look back and say we need to take care of our most needy people that are here,” Bozeman Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Daryl Schleim said.
The Chamber of Commerce, HRDC, and the City have created a task force to address the issues forcing people to live in urban encampments throughout the city and getting them the resources they need at the new HRDC Community Commons Facility on Griffin Drive set to open until sometime next year.
“Place people that are down on their luck in a facility to be able to go get warm, food at the food bank and get the help that they need to be able to do that,” says Schleim.
Schleim says the task force has three goals — helping people back on their feet with housing access, increasing access to mental health resources, and moving people off the streets once the new facility opens.
“Which now allows the police department to do their job because we have the year-round facility which allows them to say you need to go to X, Y, Z,” says Schleim.
“We’ve been working with the City of Bozeman and the Chamber of Commerce on the development of the community’s new year-round warming shelter,” says Tracy Menuez, Associate Director at HRDC.
The shelter, that HRDC is calling Homeward Point, is set to have 130 beds.
“We are helping people immediately come in throwing everything we have at them and then helping them find permanent housing in the community,”
The first step they are working on is to provide resources before the new Community Commons Facility opens.
“Talk to them about the resources that are available to them whether it be food, housing, access to behavioral health, whatever it might be helping people understand what is available,” says Menuez.
Leaders are expecting to have an announcement on the Community Commons Facility next week.