Earlier this year, in the depths of a typical Missoula winter, we submitted a letter to the editor at the Missoulian about the challenges of family homelessness in our community. Cold weather, of course, heightens many people’s concerns because the thought of someone sleeping in a car in frigid temperatures is truly heartbreaking. Even more so when it’s a young child.
You can read the letter here.
Warmer weather, though, does little to mitigate the challenges facing families in crisis and, in fact, it’s a time when the risk of becoming homeless can actually increase.
Landlords can be quicker to evict families in the summer. Children underfoot during the day may wear out their welcome among relatives and friends who have agreed to house them. For parents, finding and paying for child care when school is out adds an extra financial burden—and the pressure to hold down jobs goes up when their children have no place to go.
And, while we don’t have the searing heat and humidity of some cities, warmer temperatures can pose health risks for children and adults experiencing homelessness, particularly those with underlying conditions.
Family homelessness, then, is a 365-day concern for our community. That is why we are asking our fellow Missoulians for help in building a new center for our neighbors who are homeless or are escaping domestic violence. When completed, families will find not just shelter but services to help them get back on their feet and find the security and safety that comes from having a true place to call home.
Thank you for your support.