BUTTE – With Butte temperatures dropping, the community group Action Inc. is running low on much-needed funds to help the community’s homeless get out of harsh elements.
“We raised approximately $70,000 through local donations and the piece that was earmarked for local motels was about $35,000 and so that is nearing its end,” said Stephanie Marshall of Action Inc.
Since December, Action Inc. has been using the funds to get indigent people motel vouchers to bus tickets to places where they can find shelter. Butte has been without a homeless shelter for more than a year and is still waiting for the new one to open. Action Inc. has sent homeless people to other shelters around the state.
“God’s Love in Helena has been great, they’ve been assisting us with anyone that we’ve asked to take and been a great help. We’ve also had the Great Falls shelter, the Billings Shelter,” said Marshall.
Butte police reported arresting at least two people this week on separate reports of breaking into buildings just to stay warm.
“It doesn’t look like anything was taken from inside the apartment or the school administration building at this time, although they’re still looking to check, but it looks like an effort to warm up or just get out of the elements,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.
And without a definitive opening date for Butte’s new homeless shelter, it will put a strain on Action Inc. to come up with the funding to try to help people come up with the funding over the next cold months.
“That catch net thought would normal exist to buy us time to assist with housing or find a solution, so that’s where the motel vouchers and bus tickets are coming into play, because we don’t have time to let them sleep outside in the cold, they have to be taken indoor immediately in order to save them,” said Marshall.
The group estimates there are about 70 people in the Butte area that are homeless. People can donate at the Action Inc. website or at its headquarters at 25 W. Silver St.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News