by Travis Mateer
Missoula is getting an update on its 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness today. If I wanted to subject myself to the PR spin I’d join the Zoom meeting, but instead I’ll remain in a place I like to call THE REAL WORLD.
What is being reported right now in Missoula by propaganda rags like the MISSOULA CURRENT is so far from reality that I had to read the following statement from this article several times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating:
“The outdoor encampments were at the smallest levels our HOT teams have ever seen. It’s one of the big victories,” said Jesse Jager of the Poverello Center.
I went out to the Reserve Street encampment last week to investigate rumors of an ATV getting stuck. A former client I had been checking-in on finally got his disability back-pay (about $7,000) and he decided to buy a brand new ATV and a little motorized two-wheeler. I guess that’s an acceptable way to roll when you’re living at the RAZ (Reserve Autonomous Zone).
Yesterday I wrote about another woman who showed up dead on the West Broadway Island where more and more tents are popping up. Well, I went out there and asked some questions. One man living out there told me he heard she was beaten then given a “hot shot”. For those not familiar with street lingo, that’s a lethal dose of a controlled substance injected with the intent to kill.
Downtown the visibility of homelessness has been mostly diverted from high-traffic tourist areas. Strategic planters and other disruptive design features keep the mentally ill and idle from deterring the important work of spending money. If you read the MISSOULA CURRENT you will hear that things are fucking awesome:
Business owners and economic leaders in Missoula believe various relief efforts, including the Paycheck Protection Program and other Small Business Administration grants, helped many Main Street businesses survive the past year.
Now, with the pandemic slowly waning, the economic outlook in Missoula appears strong.
“Going into spring, they really do see a path to recovering fully and getting back to business as usual,” said Grant Kier, president and CEO of the Missoula Economic Partnership.
At the County Courthouse the removal of old trees has made it less desirable for the riff-raff to hang out because they can’t get summer shade. I’m also impressed with how private security now rouses the homeless when they lie prone on the grass instead of slumped over, which is the preferred way the authorities like to see the down and out sleep off a pint of vodka.
And that’s MY update. Thanks for reading.