Shelter Open Doors Wider During Winter - | Local News, Weather & Sports | Billings, MT

Shelter Open Doors Wider During Winter

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As Winter approaches, many wonder what options are available for the homeless. And while there are shelters available throughout the year, one local shelter is opening its doors even wider during the cold winter months.

Glenn Fournier, Program Director for Montana Rescue Mission says they're seeing a whole different aspect of homelessness these days. More people are seeking shelter.

"What we're trying to do is change our procedures and policies to meet the greatest need," says Fournier. "Allowing more, more people in these days because of the weather."

Those changes in policies are allowing more people to use the facilities and have a bed to sleep on at night. Previously, individuals were able to stay in the shelter 14 out of 30 days each other. But it's not only at night when the cold weather will be a problem. Now, the rescue mission is offering volunteer work or chores, 5 hours for 5 days in order to have a bed to sleep on 7 nights a week.

"We're providing some day shelter activities where a person has a place to come in during the day. They can spend some time in here, get out of the weather," says Fournier.

It's an opportunity for the homeless to get on a set schedule. But most of all, it's an opportunity to provide counseling and for an individual to learn skills to be successful and a member of society again.

"Gives them some productive things to do during the day that allows them to find some sense of community," said Fournier. "The positive of it is, is it gives us time with the individual guest, you know, so they're in the shelter and we can engage them."

Many things go into helping those without homes. Even though the Montana Rescue Mission provides a bed and a warm place to stay at night, everything from winter coats to shampoo is needed.

To see the full wish list for the winter season, click on Connections.