Butte's homeless receive a free hot meal on a cold winter day

BUTTE- Temperatures in the Mining City have fallen well below zero with the wind chill in recent days, and it's taking a toll on community support services.

Social services organization Action Inc. says its number one goal is to keep the homeless alive. And it's a lot of pressure as Butte doe not have a completed homeless shelter. 

In November, Action Inc. started collecting diversion pieces like motel vouchers, bus tickets and gas vouchers to help the homeless in the absence of a shelter.  

Those resources are dwindling quickly as dangerous winter weather continues to impact the Mining City.

Action Inc. Supportive Services Manger Stephanie Marshall said the weather is forcing the organization to deploy the resources faster than usual.  

"It's emergency level assistance, we're just looking to keep them warm and safe especially with these cold temperatures," said Marshall.

Action Inc. has some money left in gas and bus funds but support from the community for hotel vouchers would be huge help. Marshall said it's a life or death situation. "These are human beings and this is our problem when we're talking about basic survival in the elements, I think it's really a community effort that needs to take place."

Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester said his officers are trying to assist people they see stuck out in the cold. "If we see folks on the street that seem like they're in need of assistance, we can place them in protective custody especially given the fact that it's well below zero."

Sheriff Lester said officers have saw an increase in trespassing incidents Wednesday night due to the extreme cold. He said he doesn't believe any of the suspects broke into the buildings to steal anything but to escape the elements. Those individuals are now in police custody.

"The shelter still isn't open so we do see some folks that are in danger, Action Inc. has done a nice job of putting the homeless up at local hotels when they can," said Sheriff Lester.

To donate to Action Inc. you can stop by the office on W. Silver Street or visit the organization's website.

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