by William Skink
While there is still no indication whether or not Johnny Lee Perry will be charged by the County Attorney’s office for a crime surrounding the fight at the Poverello Center that left one man dead, there is increased scrutiny over how the Poverello Center is handling the winter overflow.
Here is an excerpt from an NBC Montana piece:
The Poverello wouldn’t talk specifically about that incident. They were able to explain how they train their staff to deal with those situations.
“We focus on de-escalation training that really supports folks, and really works to help them calm down,” said Allison-Thompson
The Poverello’s policy of who can and can’t come in, changed back in November.
“We specifically focus on a behavior-based policy, so as long as people’s behavior in the building is appropriate, they are welcome to stay,” Allison-Thompson told NBC Montana.
They say it was a recommendation by the city. “We felt good moving into that, because it is a best practice nationwide to be a behavior-based shelter,” said Allison-Thompson. “So we’re actually following the lead of shelters around the nation in that.”
My emphasis draws attention to the apparent fact that the city of Missoula is setting policy for Missoula’s homeless shelter. This could be an important distinction if the family of the deceased man decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Poverello Center was not built to serve 175 people, it was built to serve 100-120 people. And it wasn’t built with serving people who are actively using drugs and alcohol in mind. If the city “recommended” that the Pov serve more people than the building was built for, and more unstable people due to their use of drugs and alcohol, then if litigation occurs, it should be the city of Missoula on the hook defending its recommendations.