Title

Without a Roof: Why Some Missoulians Don't Have Shelter

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Every night in Missoula, even in the dead of winter, dozens of people, mostly men, sleep outside. They sleep in various locations including alleys, under bridges or construction scaffolding, in vehicles, by the river and in front of local businesses. While emergency shelter exists for adult men and women at the Poverello Center, these individuals cannot or choose not to take advantage of it. This presentation will present results from a variety of data sources to identify the different reasons that some homeless people are not taking advantage of a warm place to sleep. The data we will draw upon includes: ethnographic field notes documenting approximately 50 hours of participant observation at the Poverello Center, two interviews with people experiencing homelessness, Missoula’s 2010 Homeless Needs Assessment report, and other pertinent literature. We expect to find that there are several reasons for people not staying at the shelter. Some may have violated the policies regarding drugs, alcohol, or violence, while others may make a deliberate choice to sleep outside. We believe we will find a myriad of reasons for these decisions. Our findings will inform policy makers, service providers and the general public about the realities and needs of our homeless citizens.

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Apr 12th, 2:40 PM Apr 12th, 3:00 PM

Without a Roof: Why Some Missoulians Don't Have Shelter

UC 326

Every night in Missoula, even in the dead of winter, dozens of people, mostly men, sleep outside. They sleep in various locations including alleys, under bridges or construction scaffolding, in vehicles, by the river and in front of local businesses. While emergency shelter exists for adult men and women at the Poverello Center, these individuals cannot or choose not to take advantage of it. This presentation will present results from a variety of data sources to identify the different reasons that some homeless people are not taking advantage of a warm place to sleep. The data we will draw upon includes: ethnographic field notes documenting approximately 50 hours of participant observation at the Poverello Center, two interviews with people experiencing homelessness, Missoula’s 2010 Homeless Needs Assessment report, and other pertinent literature. We expect to find that there are several reasons for people not staying at the shelter. Some may have violated the policies regarding drugs, alcohol, or violence, while others may make a deliberate choice to sleep outside. We believe we will find a myriad of reasons for these decisions. Our findings will inform policy makers, service providers and the general public about the realities and needs of our homeless citizens.