Missoula officials tout shelters, programs for improving homelessness issues

Bret Anne Serbin

Citing zero known exposure deaths among Missoula’s unhoused population this winter, city officials credited coordinated efforts with saving lives during a discussion this week at the Missoula Public Library.

“I think we’re definitely making headway on a number of fronts,” said Jordan Hess, Missoula City Council vice president.

Hess praised the impact of the Emergency Winter Shelter, which he said served approximately 100 people per night from November 2021 through April.

“Those were folks that were not staying out in the cold, that had a safe, warm place to stay,” Hess said.

City officials also highlighted the benefit of the Authorized Camping Site, a new legal tent-camping location that opened in January.

Sam Hilliard, the city’s coordinated entry specialist, called the Authorized Camping Site “a game changer.”

The 40-tent site offers restrooms, water and trash service. “It was really intended to be a space for people to safely camp,” said Emily Armstrong, Missoula’s houseless initiatives specialist.

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According to Armstrong and Hilliard, the Authorized Camping Site has improved outreach by bringing together unhoused people in one place, and the number of camp sites around the city and the

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