At a special Friday afternoon meeting of the Missoula City Council, the seven members present voted unanimously to approve interim zoning approval for a warming shelter to be housed in the Missoula Salvation Army building on South Russell Street.

The floor was opened for public comment, which was unanimous also in its support of the warming shelter, with representatives from the Poverello Center, the Salvation Army, the Union Gospel Mission, Homeword, and other community organizations providing testimony.

Since the Poverello Center capped it's overnight population at 175, homeless persons have been regretfully turned away with no other options to stay warm overnight.

Captain Josh Boyd of the Missoula Salvation Army stated that $50,000 must first be raised in order to begin preparing the warming shelter, but that over half that money has already been raised.

“We’ve been directed by our headquarters office to get to 100 percent before we move forward,” said Captain Boyd. “They want to make sure that we do this with fidelity and integrity and make sure we’re not going to cut any corners. To make sure that it’s a good solid program, and to make a start and in a couple of months all of a sudden have to close our doors in the middle of the season, and not have anyplace to go.”

Boyd, at the urging of Mayor John Engen, wanted to let those in attendance and those listening and viewing online, how to donate to help the Salvation Army reach its $50,000 goal.

“The best thing to do would be to bring it to our office directly and make sure it’s designated for the winter shelter,” he said. “We’re doing all those red kettles out in front of the store right now, so if you drop in a check, make sure it’s designated to the winter shelter.”

Boyd said if funds are raised quickly, they hope to open the warming shelter sometime in mid-December.

The Salvation Army is located at 355 South Russell Street in Missoula.

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