Parents, community members discuss student homelessness


KALISPELL, Mont. - Thursday evening community leaders and concerned parents tried to come up with a solution for hundreds of homeless high school students in the Kalispell area. Ideas like a homeless high school shelter and host families floated around the roundtable discussion that took place at the United Way Community Room at the Gateway West Mall.

Geoff Birnbaum of Youth Homes, Inc. told NBC Montana there are many types of students who could be considered "homeless." He suggested residents do a bit more research about these students before nailing down a decision.

"Are they truly homeless? Are they homeless with their families? I think those are all different categories when you really get down to what do you do," said Birnbaum. "Depending on how that definition works is really want that answer might be."

There are few options for homeless youth in the Flathead. Kalispell's Samaritan House can only serve youth under 18 if accompanied by an adult and the Flathead Youth Home has a limited amount of beds.