Helena kicks off count of its homeless population

The United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area on Thursday began its annual Point-in-Time survey of the unsheltered population in Helena.

The nonprofit and others use the data gathered to measure housing instability and determine how resources can be effectively distributed to help the most vulnerable.

The Helena area has seen a sharp increase in homelessness every year since the survey has been conducted.

The numbers saw a dramatic spike in the past five years with an increase from 93 unsheltered individuals in 2018 to 164 in 2023 in Helena alone.

Nancy Begler, a volunteer with United Way of Helena, surveys a Helena resident at God’s Love on Thursday for the annual Point-in-Time survey.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

In Montana, there were 2,178 unsheltered individuals in 2023 up from 1,585 in 2022, according to Point-in-Time surveys statewide.

The survey does not take into consideration people living in vehicles, and volunteer surveyors are directed not to approach a vehicle that may have someone living inside for safety.

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