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After steady demand this summer, Bozeman’s shelter prepares for busy winter ahead

Warming Center 2.jpeg
Bozeman's warming shelter saw up to 100 people per night in the summer.

In its first year extending services through the summer months, Bozeman’s now year-around shelter saw steady demand. Now, the nonprofit that runs the shelter is preparing for needs to increase this winter.

The Human Resource Development Council’s Housing Director Brian Guyer says the shelter consistently saw between 70-85 guests per night this summer. On busy nights there were 100.

“That was eye-opening for us, the need for overnight shelter," he said. "The demand for that service is as critical in the summer as it is in the winter, and that’s a lesson we learned during our first summer of being open."

The nonprofit is working on contingency plans in case the shelter, located in a former roller skating rink, gets up to its 120-bed capacity. Guyer says with current staffing and limitations of the space it’s more like 100.

“In the past we’ve utilized things like hotel stays. We’ve found community partners who could accommodate some guests," he said. "We’re still kind of seeking some partners to serve as an overflow space in case we do get to that limit."

HRDC estimates there are 80 individuals living in encampments in and around the city. The nonprofit is reaching out to people staying in RVs letting them know of resources available to them.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.