23% Increase in Homelessness in Montana

by jhwygirl

The Washington Post had an article in Sunday’s paper – More Families are Becoming Homeless – which included a statistic for Montana:

In Mississippi, the number of homeless increased 42 percent last year; in Wyoming, 40 percent; in Montana and Missouri, 23 percent; and in Iowa, 22 percent.

What to say? Supposedly, Montana is not suffering to the degree other states are with regards to the economic downturn – yet that statistic tells otherwise.

I don’t know how this number translates locally. Is Missoula seeing more families? More veterans? More homeless people?

Montana is always behind whatever it is going on economically in California…and if you haven’t heard, they’re sinking pretty low. They starting issuing IOU’s for payments, and now the largest banks quit cashing them (or threatened to) on Friday. Fitch cut the state’s bond rating from A-minus to BBB, which is just above junk status.

I’m no financial wizard, but that tells me that Montana will have more downhill to go before things start picking up. Hell – 50% of Montanans are from out of state – and our new home housing industry has long been driven by out-of-state buyers. On KPAX yesterday, I heard that our new housing starts are down 40% statewide.

2009 Legislative Session cuts to the Department of Public Health and Human Services leave this situation all the more troubling.

  1. Eboy

    All of this just as the City is about to pass the new anti panhandling law. The law will make it a crime to sit or sleep on a sidewalk within the city limits. It will also create no-free speech zones in front of ATMs and business doorways.

    There will be no sleeping on the new heated sidewalk at Higgins and Front St., please move along Mr. Joad!

    If the panhandlers have the money to pay the $100 fine, the City might make some money. I suspect more of the folks who sit and lye on the sidewalk will be unable to pay the fine. They may not even remember to show up for the court date. Once a bench warrant is issued they can sleep in the county jail at $114 a night-on the taxpayers dime.

    But, not to worry, because after we clean all the riffraff downtown, the rich will start to purchase condos, linins, and glass pipes.

  2. Big Swede

    Bush’s fault.

  3. Lizard

    from bloomberg.com

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. posted record earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as revenue from trading and stock underwriting reached all-time highs less than a year after the firm took $10 billion in U.S. rescue funds.

    Second-quarter net income was $3.44 billion, or $4.93 a share, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. That surpassed the $3.65 per-share average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg and compared with $2.09 billion, or $4.58 per share, in last year’s second quarter.

    meanwhile, no more debt-driven consumer spending to prop up growth. decades of wage stagnation and off-shoring our manufacturing capacity is finally starting to have real world effects. oh yeah, and the financial sector is keeping our money while passing the consequences of their irresponsible behavior to us lowly wage-serfs.

    bush’s fault? sure he shares some of the blame, but so does clinton, daddy bush, and reagan. and unless obama addresses the actual systematic reasons for our economic malaise, it will be his fault as well.

  4. Prozax-me

    I hear what Eboy is saying, but still this homelessness worries me deeply. I remember well what my mother taught me as a child and one her her sayings was, “there but for the grace of god, go I.” Yes it bothers me when I see a young 20ish person with his dog Bo with a bandanna around his neck, but it worries me to hell when I see men and women in their 50’s and 60’s. Some are dressed not as panhandlers, but rather more like someones mother or father, out of work and at the end of their ropes. I live on the Bunghole side of Billings in a quite modest home that I paid for over a period of twenty five years. I live on a fixed retirement income and even though it is low, I feel fortunate to have what I do.

    What are these people to do? Are we going to go to soup lines and children sleeping in the streets with their parents? It seems like everyone has lost their last ounce of compassion, even though I know better, it does seem that way. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to go to the mission and toss your pride for a meal, while someone screams Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in your ears. My Hispanic neighbors have no more sympathy for those who have needs, even though at some point in their own lives, they have had a hand up, as have others less fortunate. I am worried that as we become more callous and cold-hearted we will end up as bad as those who got us into this morass of misery.

  5. Christina Lutz

    Instead of criminalize homeless people why don’t we give them a help up
    by implementing programs for affordable housing.

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