Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of


Biology – Human Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences, Division of

Faculty Mentor

Laurie Minns


Housing First, Homelessness, Health Issues, Missoula, Seattle

Subject Categories

Medical Humanities | Other Public Health | Social Work | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Missoula, Montana has an extremely high rate of homelessness at .75% of the population (compared to other large cities, Seattle, Washington at .23% and Los Angeles, California at .32%). This is due to there not being much done to help chronically inebriated homeless individuals. All are turned away from Missoula's overnight shelters if they are not sober. For an inebriated homeless person, the jail and the hospital are the only two places where they can stay the night. Through comparison to other cities, such as Seattle, Washington, I have identified that Missoula needs a wet housing program. Wet housing provides permanent housing where residents are allowed to drink. It is a form of permanent supportive housing targeting those high-risk individuals who need treatment.

Through interviewing professionals who work with this population daily, themes emerged from these interviews and were identified and evaluated in the context of the peer-reviewed literature. Chronic alcoholism is preventing people from getting the care they need, as well as co-occurring conditions are preventing people from staying healthy so they can get to resources. There is also a lack of services for those who need it most and many people do not support this plan and by further understanding how to combat these obstacles. Missoula is not only in need of a permanent supportive housing solution for these high-risk individuals, it would be a good candidate through the further understanding of this project and the current resources available. The creation of a wet house/wet shelter, although part of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, has never been implemented in Missoula before, and it will be a huge step forward in caring for Missoula’s homeless population.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2016 Marissa S. Ginnett