The Johnson Street at North Avenue Winter Shelter will be opening in November, says the City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam.
KGVO received a notification from one of the neighboring businesses that the center would be opening again this winter, and Merriam spoke to KGVO News to confirm the plan to provide safe winter shelter for the unhoused in Missoula.
“The city of Missoula at the instigation and innovation of the Missoula City Council with the mayor’s agreement has operated an emergency winter shelter program for the last three winters,” said Merriam. “This will be the fourth winter, and the council does not want to be at the helm of a city that lets people freeze to death in the winter.”
Merriam recounted how the start of the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the work to house those less fortunate last winter.
“Last winter the Poverello Center had to start operating at one half capacity because of COVID-19, so that took their capacity from 175 down to 88 people they can serve every night, and that was not enough, and we knew that it wouldn’t be enough, so we used the Johnson Street Community Center as emergency winter shelter last year.”
Merriam confirmed that the COVID