BOZEMAN — Following the first snowfall of the season, plenty of displaced people in the Gallatin Valley sought refuge from the elements.
Brian Guyer, housing director for the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) details the capacity expanding from 60 people to 120 people, as well as remaining open as a day center and a nightly warming center.
“Last year we had six people, seven people pass away from exposure—or complications due to exposure—because they were sleeping out in the elements, and that’s something we don’t want to see again. We’re a better community than that,” Guyer said.
The City of Bozeman does not have a permanent, year-round nightly shelter and relies on a variety of non-profits and organizations to assist them until seasonal options are available.
The city is well aware of the housing crisis that its citizens are in and how it is affecting a vulnerable population—the displaced. Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham describes the situation as a "crisis" and details how the city assisted organizations like HRDC with funding and support.
“We gave $500,000 to HRDC’s temporary warming shelter, which needed significant upgrades such as sprinkler system, showers, and exit doors. But the real solution is a permanent shelter facility,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham continues to explain the current state of the HRDC’s permanent shelter over on Griffin Drive and how the City of Bozeman has been working with HRDC on ways to accelerate the development of the permanent shelter.
Guyer says that the growing need for space in the shelter has only emphasized the need for a permanent shelter. Though the shelter will not be operational for a couple of years, progress is being made to bring a much-needed resource to Bozeman.
The HRDC nightly warming center will open on Nov. 1, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and will close for some time to convert operations to the daily service.