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Flooding continues to impact Missoula homeless community

Posted at 4:05 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 14:56:25-04

MISSOULA – The high flood waters of the Clark Fork River have further limited the options of some of Missoula’s homeless population according to Union Gospel Mission Director of Outreach April Seat.

The segment of Missoula’s homeless that is affected by the flooding do not typically go into shelters. They choose to live outside most of the time. But Union Gospel Missoula does have staff that checks on them in order to offer housing options and other resources to get them into a more permanent housing situation.

The Poverello Center and Union Gospel Mission — as well as Missoula’s emergency Red Cross shelter — have been presented as options for people in need of shelter.

That doesn’t mean they will go, and outreach workers are concerned for their safety, Seat said. There are some individuals she has been unable to locate or have moved around repeatedly since the flooding took over their usual area.

Seat told MTN News that she can’t get in touch with some of the people who the organization follows up with frequently to pursue long-term housing options and offer other resources, she said.

“When they got asked to leave here, it was hard to find some of the clients we were working well with, daily and weekly,” she said. “We no longer know where they are at, so that is the hard part about them no longer being in this location, or not having a location where we can touch base with them.”

Seat said there are some organizations meeting to try and figure out an alternative location for these people to camp temporarily, but that has not been established yet.

Reporting by Augusta McDonnell for MTN News

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