HELENA, Mont. – The Helena City Commission opened the floor to residents and business owners Thursday, as they try to collectively solve the city's growing homeless problem.
Now the people in charge have some tough decisions looming.
After the board meeting on Sept. 1, the City Commissioners have a tough task on their hands: finding a quick and effective solution without turning Helena into a "tent-city".
As complaints continued to pile up, it became clear to them that something needed to be done. City staff recommended the city partner with Good Samaritan Ministries to implement the "Helena Outdoor Temporary Safe Shelter” program, but the mayor of Helena believes there is something that must happen before implementing such a program.
"In order for this to be successful, and for us to make a decent and reasonable effort, we need everybody at the table. We need the tri-counties, we need all the various government entities, to be able to do this right," Mayor Wilmot Collins said.
If the program were to take effect, it would take after a program in Missoula similarly ran by their Homeless Outreach Team. The Helena Outdoor Temporary Safe Shelter program does offer some concern with its temporary nature, but as soon as all of the governing bodies come together, Mayor Wilmot Collins is ready to run with it.
"I can go to Missoula and look at the program and see what it's about, and I’ll admonish the rest of the commission to do the same, let's get to know the program. But, are we going to be the only entity at the table? No, no, I don't think we should," said Collins
We will be closely following the final decision of the city commission and will have that update as soon as it is finalized.