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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Helena ups efforts to track, shelter homeless Montanans

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024   

Helena is stepping up efforts to track its homeless population.

The number of people living without shelter has risen sharply since the city started counting in 2018. When Helena began tracking its homeless population five yeas ago, the point-in-time survey was new.

Jeff Buscher, community impact coordinator for the United Way in Helena, said volunteers are able to more accurately track people who don't have permanent shelter, thanks in large part to more community involvement.

"At least here in Helena, folks' awareness has been raised considerably about our unsheltered population," Buscher observed.

Buscher pointed out the number of volunteers helping count unsheltered people has nearly doubled. While final numbers for 2024 won't be available until May, volunteers found 44 people living in vehicles in this year's survey, an increase over recent years. The 2023 survey found 164 homeless people living in Helena.

While the weather was slightly warmer this year than in previous surveys, Buscher noted Montana's climate has historically played a critical role in shaping the homeless count.

"Folks are very engaged and concerned about the needs of our unsheltered population," Buscher emphasized. "Because we do live in a sometimes very hostile climate. When it gets deathly cold, there's a lot of folks that get very concerned about whether folks are outside."

The homeless counts help determine how much federal money Helena and other Montana cities will get to address the unsheltered problem.


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