Temporary homeless shelter opens in Butte


BUTTE, Mont - For the first time in seven months Butte has a functioning homeless shelter that opened Friday.

Action Inc. announced the temporary shelter's opening in Uptown Butte.

This comes at the same time the Butte Rescue Mission has been granted a permit to operate a permanent homeless shelter a few streets down on Platinum Street in the warehouse district.

Maintenance staff worked hard on Friday preparing last minute installations at the temporary shelter located in the Homeward Bound building on North Main Street.

Action Inc, a nonprofit, owns the building.

Action Inc.'s supportive services manager Cassie O'Leary says it's about time.

"We're excited and anxious and nervous all at the same time. We've been very busy the past couple weeks cleaning the building so we're as prepared as we can be, I guess," O'Leary said.

The shelter can hold up to 24 people, and O'Leary said she expects Friday to be a busy night.

It's welcome news for the city's homeless, but there are some concerns, according to Butte Archives Center director Ellen Crane. The Archives Center is across the street from the homeless shelter.

Crane said she fully supports the shelter's mission, but the location worries her.

"People who have problems can sometimes get angry, and that is always a concern of ours," Crane said.

Officials said the Homeward Bound shelter is temporary, and slated to close in May. It's right around the same time a permanent shelter is being planned to open, according to Butte Rescue Mission executive director Rocky Lyons.

On Thursday night Butte's zoning board approved a permit for their shelter on Platinum Street.

"I'm so looking forward to getting back doing what we do best, and that's serving the hurting, homeless and hungry in our community," Lyons said.

For Crane, having one shelter open after the other in Uptown Butte is not the answer.

"It is important in society that you disperse your problems throughout society, and it gives people hope that may not have much hope," Crane said.

Both shelter organizers can agree, after seven months, Butte's homeless will finally have a much-needed place to go.

Action Inc. officials said their shelter opened 5 p.m. Friday, and is available to anyone who needs help.

As for the Butte Rescue Mission, Lyons said the location needs to get some environmental permits, and that includes making sure there are no contaminants on the property.

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