Missoula looks to ban homeless from sheltering in ‘buffer areas’

Homeless people would be banned from living in tents in large swaths of public property in Missoula under a new resolution that will be heard by the city council on Wednesday.

The so-called “buffer areas,” where living in tents would be illegal, would include anywhere within 100 feet of any residential dwelling units, 100 feet from commercial businesses or nonprofits, 300 feet from any school or daycare, 1,000 feet from any shelter facility, 50 feet from the Clark Fork River and its tributaries and 10 feet from any bike lane, public path or trailhead.

The new resolution would also ban unsheltered living, sometimes called “urban camping” or “crisis camping,” within McCormick Park, Caras Park, Westside Park or within 100 feet of a playground, splash deck, sport court, athletic field, fishing pond, bandshell, pavilion or aquatic facility in the city. There would be no unsheltered living on any conservation lands as well.

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In this photo from March of 2024, Martin Gregory Baker pours water over a campfire he and other folks experiencing houselessness were using to

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