Emergency shelter working group updates Helena, Lewis and Clark County officials

A working group established to find solutions to Helena’s rising unsheltered population crisis presented three options for emergency sheltering in the city come winter that received a mix of support and pushback from local officials Tuesday during a joint work session between the two governing bodies.

United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area Community Impact Coordinator Jeff Buscher told elected officials the three paths forward the working group sees as viable are converting Our Place to an emergency, low-barrier shelter during the winter, using the former nursing home portion of St. John’s Hospital to house locals with housing vouchers, and possibly utilizing the Helena Inn as temporary housing.

Our Place, a drop-in center for people with mental health or substance abuse issues in Helena at 631 N. Last Chance Gulch, is being considered to serve as a temporary emergency shelter this winter.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

The city and county are facing the convergence of a number of problems: winter, an unprecedented shortage of housing, runaway rental prices and limited resources. The various problems require different solutions for a range of

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