BUTTE — Butte’s homeless shelter recently received a grant that will help in its goal to expand into a warehouse. Something they say is necessary because in today’s economy homelessness is a harsh reality.
“It can happen to anybody, and I’m not different from anybody else, it can happen to anybody, it’s just a cliché that everybody’s just one paycheck away from sleeping in their car,” said shelter client Paul Braaten.
Braaten said the Butte Rescue Mission is helping him stay off the streets. A federal grant is helping the mission with $700,000 to remodel a warehouse on its lot off East Platinum Street to expand its kitchen and homeless services.
“It’s just a beautiful old building, it’s over 110 years old and we’re going to distribute food and resources to the community that needs it,” said Shelter Director Brayton Erickson.
Braaten is someone who needs it. He was already dealing with alcoholism when his life was turned upside down earlier this year.
“And unfortunately, here’s the hard part, I lost my mom and then six weeks later I lost my 16-year-old too so, um …,” Braaten said while becoming overwhelmed with emotion.
He found himself working on the Oregon coast and sleeping outdoors. Like many people, the high cost of living, along with personal struggles, left him homeless.
“If you’ve seen the price of a loaf of bread, I know for myself, you go to the grocery store and $100 bucks fills up one grocery bag. How are we going to navigate this?” Erickson said.
The shelter is in the process of raising the $1 million needed to restore the warehouse to serve more people.
“We’ll significantly expand how we’re able to help people,” he said.
The shelter is already helping Braaten expand his goals for the future.
“My hope is number one: to stay sober; and number two: to have my own place and get another dog,” said Braaten.
If all goes as planned that shelter will restore the warehouse by the end of next year.