Missoula County Commissioners Deny Funding For Warming Center

by William Skink

Missoula County Commissioners “temporarily denied” emergency funding for the Salvation Army warming center because, according to the Commissioners, it’s not an emergency. I presume those defining what is and is not an emergency all have warm homes to go home to at the end of the day.

That said, I get their point. We shouldn’t be here, in December, with temperatures going into single digits tonight, without a viable alternative for those who can’t stay at the Pov (for a number of very good reasons). Here’s Commissioner Rowley from the MC piece:

“To bring this to us now and say it’s an emergency is not fair, and it’s poor planning,” Rowley said. “I’m not understanding exactly why the community’s poor planning is considered the taxpayers’ emergency when this could have been addressed years ago, and definitely months and months and months ago.”

While advocates have held a number of meetings on the issue, Rowley said the county was excluded from those talks. That also serves as a major source of frustration, she said.

“We are excluded from the process until somebody wants money,” she said. “That’s not okay.”

Now that the County has put their foot down, how will Missoula City Council and the Mayor respond? Do they have an explanation for why there wasn’t a better plan in place for winter in Montana for those without shelter?

I can understand newer City Council members being less informed about the City’s 10 year plan to end homelessness because they weren’t around when the plan was being studied and formulated. Mayor Engen, on the other hand, was around in 2012, and has since vanquished a corporate behemoth to obtain Missoula’s water infrastructure. So where should the buck stop, Mayor Engen?

I left work today early because when the news of this hit I was literally too angry to be of use to anyone. It is absolute bullshit that we continue to have these useless fucking conversations. We know where the gaps are, we know what it would take to plug the gaps, and the only reason it hasn’t happened is because it’s not a priority.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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