MISSOULA – The Missoula City Council took a step closer to approving the Salvation Army off of Russell St. as a designated warming center during the winter.
An interim zoning ordinance would be granted with the approval of eight city council members and would last until April 1.
The city says they would also consider other alternatives to house the homeless during periods of extreme cold this winter.
New warming shelters are needed after it was determined that Union Gospel Mission could not meet the requirements to remain a shelter this winter.
No city council members disapproved of the of the ordinance, which has been fast-tracked for approval. Members argued that if offering a new warming center location saves lives than why not try to pass the ordinance as quickly as possible.
“Is there anyway to speed this up? Because it’s going to be 15 degrees in three days,” said council member Julie Armstrong. “Is there anyway at all, Ms. Raybine, to speed up this process? I know that helping public hearings require seven days and this would be five if we tried to do this on Monday, but I would be willing to come in the week of Thanksgiving and do a special meeting. I think if the whole point of doing this is to save lives that waiting 12 more days is a problem.”
To speed up the process, Missoula City Council approved of a special meeting to take place on Friday, Nov. 23.