Homeless camp on Cedar Street by City and Poverello Center

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Missoula City officials, who have been working with the Poverello Center for the past few days, have helped homeless people illegally camped on Cedar Street find alternative accommodation.

Mayor John Engen briefed on the city’s reaction to the illegal camp.

“Of course, like everyone else, over the past week and a half we’ve started setting up the ad hoc campsite on Cedar Street, and we’ve started working with the Poverello Center, the town’s staff and crews, and other partners. “Recognize that we do not promote these ad hoc sites or allow their existence,” said Mayor Engen.

Engen noted the recent meetings to establish Operation Shelter, which will eventually provide safe outdoor camping facilities on North Reserve Street.

“You will remember that we started setting up a second sanctioned campsite a few months ago,” he said. “We’re in the process of putting this site together, but in the meantime we haven’t been able to let people sleep in the street in front of the Poverello Center. So we’re working directly with the POV and all these agencies again and let the people who have moved in know that we will ask them to pick up this street in this corridor and clean it up. “

Engen said it was a group effort to provide accommodation and services to the individuals and families in the Cedar Street camp.

“This morning we were able to clear the street with our friends from the Poverello Center and the city staff,” he said. “A number of people were able to access services through contacting us, and in some cases they did not know they were available to them. Our partners at YWCA have been tremendously helpful in accommodating a number of women who needed help and we managed to make some really good connections there and work with our partners again to clean things up. “

Engen said if more ad hoc sites emerge, the city and the Poverello Center will continue to try to help them access legal protection.

“The Missoula district officials and I believe that the majority of the city council and, frankly, the residents I service generally agree that these ad hoc campsites are neither safe nor desirable,” he said. “So we’ll keep working to make people as safe as possible. If people camp illegally, we will ask them to move on. But we will do that by offering every possible support in the form of temporary housing or assistance and ultimately stable housing over the long term. “

Engen said special thanks go to the professionals on the Homeless Outreach Team, the Missoula Police Department, and the city’s Crisis Intervention Team for their training.

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