BOZEMAN — "It was so cold the other night I wish I didn't wake up. Glad I don't have to do that again. Thank you,” said an HRDC Warming Center guest in October. HRDC’s Warming Centers, part of the organization's homeless services, is a vital part of their work to provide a safe, warm place to sleep for neighbors in need in Bozeman and Livingston.
In the first weekend of this year’s season, HRDC sheltered 81 people. The most they served in a single night last year was 77. Since opening, an average of 80 community members receive shelter each night, with an additional 50 individuals on HRDC’s waitlist. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has continued to find alternative solutions to ensure that everyone has shelter. In November alone, the agency provided a place to sleep for 145 neighbors. On average, most guests stay for 19 nights.
Last season, from November 2019 through March 2020, HRDC provided shelter for 356 community members, including families with children, and individual women and men. HRDC provides critical shelter during the coldest months of the year, from November through March, from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. This year, as part of the nonprofit’s COVID-19 response, the organization also purchased a hotel in order to provide shelter to those who need to isolate or quarantine.
“More often than not, our neighbors experiencing homelessness are far from the stereotype. Many have come across a rough patch of hard times. In the time of COVID-19, it is even more likely that they have lost their job or are working less hours, or they might have a disability. In a booming place like Bozeman or Livingston, many are seeing the impact of a higher cost of living – the housing market is pricing out many families and individuals. Our community is seeing an increase in need for shelter, and we don’t think that will slow down,” says Brian Guyer, HRDC Housing Director.
HRDC’s emergency shelters are 100% community funded, donations from the community to stay open and provide a safe, warm place for neighbors in need. HRDC has also received a generous matching grant from the Mericos Foundation for its emergency shelter response. All donations through December 25 will be matched up to $25,000. For more information, or to give to HRDC, visit thehrdc.org. HRDC’s Warming Center in Bozeman is located at 2015 Wheat Drive, Bozeman, MT 59715. HRDC’s Warming in Livingston is located at 119 S 2nd Street, Livingston, MT 59047.