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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

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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