HELENA — On Tuesday, December 19, volunteers helped to clean up the area around Our Place.
The volunteers were part of the unsheltered population that uses Our Place during the day.
“Last week I was here speaking with a group of our neighbors and we’re talking about freedom and responsibility and people’s perception of our unsheltered neighbors and they come up with the idea that, you know what we outta do, we outta go out and clean up,” said Jeff Buscher, the Director of Community Impact for United Way.
United Way provided buckets, brooms and other cleaning materials for the clean-up.
In the future, the volunteers want to continue to clean up neighboring streets and other blocks of the city.
“But hopefully with the progressive effort and stance I can maybe make it all the way across town and clean up the entire town,” Carlos Chandler, a Volunteer said.
This clean-up is also in preparation for the new shelter.
Monday night, the City Commission approved a conditional use permit for an emergency shelter for women, adjacent to Our Place.
“With the passing of the shelter permission, that’s 26 beds, potentially 26 women that will have a place to sleep that maybe didn’t before. It’s not 26 new women. These people are already here,” said Buscher.
Helena has experienced rising rates of homelessness over the past several years, and there are limited options to house people overnight when it gets dangerously cold.