Title

Health and the Homeless Population of Missoula: Wet Housing as a Solution

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Anyone who walks through downtown Missoula will notice people experiencing homelessness. Missoula has various options for temporary shelter, but there are few options for those who are chronically homeless and inebriated. For the inebriated homeless, jail or the hospital are the only places where they can stay the night, as our local shelters do not accept intoxicated persons.

Our initial study aimed to discover the best way to house chronically inebriated homeless individuals. Through an extensive literature review of methods used in other cities across the country and around the world, we have identified that a wet housing/wet shelter program is the best way to house these individuals. Wet shelters allow those under the influence to stay in the shelter overnight, while wet housing provides a more permanent housing solution. Every year, thousands of taxpayer dollars go to housing inebriated individuals in the form of jail and hospital beds. This cost could be significantly minimized if a wet shelter complex was created in Missoula, reducing costs to both hospitals and the prison.

In order to promote the creation of a wet housing/wet shelter in Missoula, we will be assisting the United Way in a public relations campaign to raise awareness of the benefits this type of housing would have on the community. This campaign will include writing letters to newspapers and stakeholders across the county, creating a positive online presence, and increasing student awareness about the homeless population. Although part of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness created by Mayor Engen, buidling a wet shelter/wet housing building has never been implemented in Missoula before, and will be a substantial step forward in caring for Missoula’s homeless population.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 11:00 AM Apr 15th, 11:20 AM

Health and the Homeless Population of Missoula: Wet Housing as a Solution

Anyone who walks through downtown Missoula will notice people experiencing homelessness. Missoula has various options for temporary shelter, but there are few options for those who are chronically homeless and inebriated. For the inebriated homeless, jail or the hospital are the only places where they can stay the night, as our local shelters do not accept intoxicated persons.

Our initial study aimed to discover the best way to house chronically inebriated homeless individuals. Through an extensive literature review of methods used in other cities across the country and around the world, we have identified that a wet housing/wet shelter program is the best way to house these individuals. Wet shelters allow those under the influence to stay in the shelter overnight, while wet housing provides a more permanent housing solution. Every year, thousands of taxpayer dollars go to housing inebriated individuals in the form of jail and hospital beds. This cost could be significantly minimized if a wet shelter complex was created in Missoula, reducing costs to both hospitals and the prison.

In order to promote the creation of a wet housing/wet shelter in Missoula, we will be assisting the United Way in a public relations campaign to raise awareness of the benefits this type of housing would have on the community. This campaign will include writing letters to newspapers and stakeholders across the county, creating a positive online presence, and increasing student awareness about the homeless population. Although part of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness created by Mayor Engen, buidling a wet shelter/wet housing building has never been implemented in Missoula before, and will be a substantial step forward in caring for Missoula’s homeless population.