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Coalition forms to lobby for funding of homeless services

Nearly a dozen homeless shelters, health care, housing and faith-based groups announced Wednesday they are forming a coalition to lobby for more support for homeless services.

The population of those experiencing homelessnes in Montana increased by 16% at last count in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Homeless shelter providers say that figure is growing as housing in Montana continues to become more expensive.

SK Rossi is helping the newly formed Montana Coalition to Solve Homelessness lobby for support at the state and local level.

“There hasn’t necessarily been the needed inclusion of the voices of homeless service providers who are often seeing the worst of the housing crisis in Montana,” said Rossi.

Rossi says the coalition plans to push for state financial support via grants during the upcoming legislative session and for homeless shelters to be qualified Medicaid providers so they are reimbursed for health care services.

“It’s not just a bed. Oftentimes it is health care, oftentimes it is case management and connecting them to services for mental health or substance abuse issues.”

Rossi says demand for those services will only increase with the lapse of pandemic eviction restrictions and rising rental prices.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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