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Butte Rescue Mission sees an increase in homeless population

Butte Rescue Mission sees an influx of people from other Montana cities
Posted at 6:08 PM, Aug 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-08 20:08:59-04

BUTTE — BUTTE — The Butte Rescue Mission is seeing some new faces using their services and officials say that many of the people are traveling to Butte from other cities and even from out of state.

"We have seen all brand-new faces from last year to this year. There aren’t any faces that were the same in the summer so that just means we are seeing an increase in new population of homelessness," says the Butte Rescue Mission's Misty Johnston.

According to data compiled by the Rescue Mission, Johnston says more of the Butte community is food insecure and that reflects in a 25 percent increase in people using food services while bed numbers for the month of July are up by 200 over last year’s numbers.

"They’re coming from other cities. A lot of it has to do with the safe outdoor spaces shutting down in different cities and a lot of them are coming from out of state too. We’re not sure what the influx is from out of state but we just know that we’re here to serve them. That’s our main goal," says Johnston.

The Butte Rescue Mission feeds, clothes, and shelters the people who seek assistance and for some, they also offer a restorative program that allows an individual to receive up to a year of stay at the facility while they work toward individual goals that deal with recovery from substance abuse or trauma.

"Most of them come out of trauma and homelessness where you don’t really have a schedule. You don’t really know when you’re going to shower next, you don’t know when you’re going to eat next. So it kind of all needs to be retaught and relearned when they get here. And they need to know that they are safe and that they’re not in trauma anymore," says Johnston.

"Our goal would be that we stabilized homelessness here and worked ourselves out of a job. That would be what we would like to see. Although that’s not the trend that is happening," says Johnston.

She says the Mission is seeing more elderly people, and more single moms or dads with their children.

"So our business is booming and that’s not always, that’s not what we would like."