BUTTE- Hundreds of people gathered in the Mining City on Tuesday to mark an important moment as the community's only homeless shelter officially opened.
It has been a long two and a half years without a shelter for Butte's homeless population. Butte's only pay-what-you-can restaurant, the Community Café, closed its doors at the end of May. Community members say the shelter is now more important than ever.
On Tuesday, June 11, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at the new Center of Hope on East Platinum Street. On Wednesday, the center will start feeding and housing those in need.
The center will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for the homeless and food insecure in Butte.
The shelter has a total of 40 beds that will be ready for use starting on Wednesday, and an additional 16 beds are still in the works, as part of their low-barrier shelter which will house clients on drugs or alcohol. The low barrier shelter is expected to be finished in the upcoming months.
Butte Rescue Mission Executive Director Rocky Lyons says this shelter is long overdue and will serve as a crucial community resource.
Lyons said, "It has taken us a little while to get to this point, but this is huge for our community, and I truly believe that if we don't take care of the hurting and the homeless and the poor in our community, we cannot have a healthy community."
The Butte Rescue Mission is also working on a rehabilitation building next to the Center of Hope with classrooms, a chaplain and a salon for those in need. The organization is still accepting donations for all of these projects.