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HRDC issues 'Code Blue' due to freezing temperatures, seeking donations to continue offering services

“Last night we had 94 guests staying with us,” said Huey.
Posted at 7:27 AM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 10:59:45-05

A man I talked to in Bozeman says staying warm isn’t easy when you’re living out of a camper. That’s why many people seek help from the HRDC at the Warming Center.

“We run off propane and a little space heater,” said Tyson Kline who has lived in a camper in the same exact spot in town for a few years. He says he feels fortunate to be able to heat his camper because he knows many people can’t.

“People struggle out here because some people can’t get heat,” said Kline. “This December is worse than it usually is.”

Luckily the HRDC Warming Center is here for people who need a warm place to stay. Jenna Huey, the emergency shelter service manager says when the high for the day is 10 degrees, the HRDC issues what they call a Code Blue.

“We do our best to extend our hours and allow folks back who may be temporarily suspended from services,” said Huey. “We make sure everyone has access to shelter during the day and evening.”

During the Code Blue this week, the Warming Center is open 24/7 until 9 a.m. on Saturday.

“Last night we had 94 guests staying with us,” said Huey.

Their capacity?

“It’s about 110,” said Huey.

But she says there is one problem.

“That’s about the most we can do with our staff,” said Huey. “It gets challenging.”

This is why the HRDC needs help, whether that be volunteers, or just as important:

“Funding,” said Huey. “I’m very concerned that if we have another cold snap like this we might not be able to extend our hours because of lack of funding for that staff.”

Huey says the HRDC is in need of winter gloves, hats, jackets, bottled water, and hand and feet warmers.

“We did an emergency street outreach last night and touched base with about 10 to 15 individuals in campers and RVs,” said Huey. “We made sure they had enough blankets and hand warmers for the night.”

There are currently 150 people experiencing homelessness in Bozeman; about 20 to 25 of that number represents people living out of a vehicle or camper. Kline says even though it’s tough, he’ll continue doing his best to brave the cold.

“It all depends on how you can keep warm,” said Kline.