Bozeman doesn't want the homeless on the street. Bozeman doesn't want 'urban campers' lining subdivision streets. Bozeman hasn't wanted a homeless shelter in 'their neighborhood'. Bozeman hasn't wanted to spend additional tax money for a new shelter of any kind. Now, Bozeman has apparently kicked the can as far as they can.

Bozeman is getting a new homeless shelter by next year, and many people are not thrilled about it. When I write 'not thrilled about it', hundreds of online comments have given myriad reasons for why they think a new homeless shelter isn't a good idea. (More of that below.)

The number of unsheltered people in Bozeman has grown significantly in recent years, yet solutions and resources have not grown in-step with the issue. Under the best of circumstances, there is rarely enough money to serve those in need with basic services.

Bozeman is exploding. Bozeman is expensive. Bozeman is angry. Bozeman is also frustrated. Some are politically frustrated, while others are frustrated about finding solutions. This community is STRUGGLING with issues, and how to handle them.

With the skyrocketing price of housing in Bozeman, some residents are calling foul on the over $16 million being spent on the new shelter. It will be located next to other HRDC services in the northeast part of town.

Although the location seems just about perfect, many residents (from all over the valley) are concerned that 'a good facility' will simply attract more homeless people. The following are quotes pulled directly from online Facebook comments made on Thursday, May 27th:

  • "If you build it, they will come. And come, and come..."
  • "I miss the days when Bozeman would buy a bus ticket for the homeless/vagrants and ship them off to Helena, Missoula and Butte!"
  • "Can we move all the urban campers to this same location because they're absolutely destroying neighborhoods where the city is allowing them to park."
  • "Homeless shelter? My father and mother told me that a JOB solves that problem."
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  • "We are about to get 16.3 million dollars worth of more transients. If the city numbers are correct, that is about 50k per transient currently in Bozeman."
  • "Cool, the locals will finally have a place they can afford to live!"
  • "Build a nice homeless shelter. Guess what you get? Permanent homeless people. Save that stuff for California."
  • "Learn from the mistakes of the liberal, socialists on the left coast. Bozeman is going to be sorry."

Getting involved and volunteering is the best and quickest way to learn more about our local issues, problems, and needs - in my own humble opinion. Doing the work and being close to an issue offers the best route to genuine understanding.

The HRDC is a good way to start, as they are the local umbrella for many programs - so you have more avenues to pursue. You can find information about our local food bank and other programs here.

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