Two non-profit organizations, the Great Falls Rescue Mission and My Neighbor In Need, said they’ve seen a decline in need this year despite Montanans facing many financial hardships.
According to GFRM director Jim McCormick, the decline in people requiring housing is due to government action and assistance that has allowed residents to stay in their homes during the pandemic.
“With the governor’s directive to not evict people, we haven’t seen as many people coming and seeking help,” McCormick said, “With some of the subsidized housing available in great falls, we’ve actually moved out quite a few into permanent housing, so it’s had quite the opposite effect.”
He added that as families have moved out, single resident occupancy has remained the same. “The men's shelter and the women's shelter have been maintaining the status quo so to speak, not...any big influx or anything like that,” McCormick said.
My Neighbor In Need director Dave Snuggs said their organization also experienced less need, as indicated by their decrease in general need requests. “I believe right now we have maybe two needs on the ‘My Neighbor In Need’ website where normally we’d have 10 or 12,” Snuggs said.
Snuggs believes people still have needs but are hesitant to interact with need-fulfillers due to covid concerns.
“Those requests for home improvements, repairs, emergency things like that are going away because no one wants high-touch,” Snuggs said.
His organization averages 24 online needs per week, as compared to 40 weekly requests under normal conditions. “Ever since covid came out, we’ve noticed that our need requests have varied. They’ve become more laser focused. Since covid...they seem to be focused on immediate needs such as emergency fuel, transportation to doctors like bus passes,” Snuggs said.
The reduced number of needs, however, allows the nonprofit to fulfill the needs they do receive even faster.
“We’re able to help people faster, so therefore the website goes from having 40 needs that are live to three or four,”Snuggs said.
While both My Neighbor In Need and the GFRM handled fewer needs, they received more generosity from community members to fulfill those needs. “There’s been an increase in generosity. It’s coming in smaller amounts from more people,” Snuggs said.
“This year, it’s been phenomenal. I’ve loved how Great Falls and Cascade County have come together to help support us to keep us going,” McCormick said.
Despite low need totals, both organizations still have needs to be met. If you’d like to fulfill a community member’s My Neighbor In Need request, you can do so here [myneighborinneed.org]. Or if you’d like to continue supporting the GFRM, you can do so online [servicenetwork.com] monetarily, by volunteering your time and/or donating supplies. Any monetary contributions the rescue mission receives will be saved until the organization experiences a time of greater need.