On June 9, 2023, Mayor Hess declared a houselessness and sheltering State of Emergency. This declaration allows the City to levy up to two mills to address houselessness and sheltering. We hope to open a year-round emergency shelter within about 90 days.
In the meantime, Missoula does not have enough indoor shelter beds to serve everyone in need. This leads to an increase of people looking for shelter in tents and vehicles, sometimes in public places. The City of Missoula attempts to balance the needs and expectations of people who are living unsheltered with the needs and expectations those that are housed and our business economy.
Cleanups & Reporting
What we can do
- Enforce health and safety codes
- Keep public spaces open for public use
- Work with community partners to connect people with alternatives and solutions
- Remove encampments that pose health or safety hazards after proper notice period
- Perform site cleanup after proper notice period
What we can't do
- Remove people and their tents simply for camping
- Impose "criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter." (Ninth Circuit Court decision)
- Impose criminal enforcement against homeless individuals who use "the most rudimentary precautions" a homeless person might take against the elements, such as bedding, blankets or sleeping bags. (Ninth Circuit Court decision)
- Provide year-round shelter beds for all who need it with our current budget constraints
Cities in nine Western states are operating under the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in the Martin v. Boise case, which aims to prevent the criminalization of homelessness. Learn more about the City's process and the court ruling we are operating under.
Housing and Houselessness
We are navigating the epidemic of people living unsheltered just as all cities in the West are doing. Learn more about all of our efforts to address houselessness on Engage Missoula. We are also working on housing initiatives to increase and diversify housing options that are affordable to all levels of our community. Learn more about people living outdoors.