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Overnight warming shelter opens early in response to homeless ma - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Overnight warming shelter opens early in response to Missoula homeless man's death

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MISSOULA - The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office says a homeless Missoula man died of hypothermia early Monday morning.

Tim Lloyd, 61, was found unresponsive and later died in the hospital after attempts to resuscitate him failed.

One shelter says the man's death has hit their community hard and they're jumping into action to make sure others on the street have a warm place to sleep. 

“Always had a smile on his face, and he brought joy to this area, constantly, him and his friends. But Tim was...he had a big heart. He truly did,” said Union Gospel Mission of Missoula Director of Outreach April Seat.

Lloyd was considered homeless and had been a regular for over a decade at the Union Gospel Mission where they accept everyone, including people who may be intoxicated with drugs or alcohol, something other shelters in Missoula do not allow.

“They are coming in here, being able to still fit in and have a place to stay when they may have an intoxication or something that they are dealing with, and we are going to handle that on a case-by-case, but really not turn anybody away,” said Executive Director Don Evans.

The Union Gospel Mission has been around for almost 20 years, but the overnight warming shelter started just last year with the help of Providence St. Patrick Hospital to accommodate this population of Missoula’s homeless who are abusing substances and are not allowed into other shelters to stay warm in the winter.

They planned to offer expanded services this year beginning on Nov. 11. But Lloyd’s death changed their plans and they opened the shelter early, the night after he died.

“Part of your family, you lose part of your people you are close too, who accept you, because to be unseen in a community that sees you every day, you have your own family and culture that you are apart of," Evans said. "And there were men that hung out together and helped each other and protected each other and were there for each to help, that now there is a person that is missing. So it a huge impact of which, then we have a service here for them to say, you’re important to us, you matter, and we want to make sure that everyone knows they are citizens of our city.”  

UGM staff need volunteers now to staff the warming shelter from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., seven days a week. This will last until March 16, providing five months of shelter. If you want to get involved, email outreach@ugmofmissoula.org or call 406-542-5240. 

UGM is a part of the 10-year plan to end homelessness, whose stakeholders meet weekly to help people get housing in Missoula.

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