Is This The Best Solution For Montana’s Homeless Neighborhoods?
Many of Montana's bigger towns and cities are seeing an increase in the homeless population. Towns like Bozeman and Missoula have been dealing with "pop-up" neighborhoods for the last couple of years, and it seems that the problem continues to grow.
It's a hot topic issue as many state residents are tired of the makeshift neighborhoods and want to see them gone, while others take a softer approach and say what other options are there when dealing with the situation.
Now, one Montana Mayor has decided to address the situation head-on, and it will be interesting to see if other Montana cities follow his lead.
Jordan Hess, who was sworn in as Mayor of Missoula back in September of 2022 after the passing of the long-time and beloved John Engen has not shied away from the homeless problem facing Missoula. In fact, the Mayor announced a State of Emergency earlier this month regarding the growing population of those that are without homes in the Missoula area.
With several people camping out in city parks, under bridges, and on other public lands the Missoula City Council adopted an emergency ordinance "to close parks, trails, and conservation lands to overnight camping citing public safety" according to KPAX.
There have been several complaints across the state as far as the trash that is left behind, the unsanitary conditions, as well as a fear of increased crime in these areas. In a recent poll regarding what to do about "pop-up" neighborhoods, Montanans were very vocal about what they would like to see happen.
Over half of Montanans want something done about the situation, while a little over 40 percent think it's time to clean the areas up. So, will other cities follow in the footsteps of Missoula? What's the answer to the problem? More affordable housing? More homeless shelters? Moving to a state with a lower cost of living?
One thing is for sure, this topic or the temporary neighborhoods aren't likely going anywhere anytime soon.