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Organizations Stepping In To Fill Gaps With Billings' HUB Closure

Billings organizations are stepping up to fill gaps in service for homeless and at-risk people following South Central Montana Health Center’s announcement it would close its downtown drop in center due to a budget shortfall.

Barbara Mettler, executive director of the South Central Mental Health Center, was worried about the 50 to 150 people who use the HUB each day.

"For a while we’ve actually been the only daytime drop in center for folks that are homeless. But it sounds like now that St. Vincent de Paul has one. So that kind of took a lot, that’s a relief that there is that option for them," Mettler says.

She says other groups, like the Montana Rescue Mission and the Community Crisis Center, will be able to offer services like mental health care and a place to sleep, to the homeless and at risk when the HUB closes.

Mettler added that during the pandemic the work of the Mental Health Center has been able to continue at close to the same level even though the building was closed.

She said staff was able to stay connected with clients through telephone and video conferencing, thanks to some restrictions lifted by Medicare and Medicaid.

The center announced in late July it would close its drop in center due to a funding shortfall.

Other programs and services provided by the Mental Health Center will continue, including Projects to Assist in the Transition from Homelessness, or PATH, that helps to find housing for those in need. Also to continue are regional satellite offices including in Big Timber and Lewistown, and the Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.
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