In Great Falls, an increase in the homeless population has some people worried. Several factors contribute to the reason why some are concerned, but mostly a lot of it has to do with the homeless’ safety, especially in this cold weather.
Officer Kevin Supalla of the Great Falls Police Department recognizes the threat that homeless people face in the extreme cold weather that Montana experiences every year.
“Homeless people are vulnerable in nature. They don’t have a house to go to at night, they don’t have a car to get to the next place, and they don’t have all the resources that you or I might have. They are a vulnerable population, and we just try to give those resources available to them so they have somewhere to be especially, when it’s cold out like this”
Resources are available for people in need, such as the Great Falls Rescue Mission, Opportunites, Inc., and the Angel Room. Whether the homeless decide to utilize them - that’s another story.
Officers at the Great Falls Police department want to make Great Falls a safe and friendly community, and that includes the homeless population as well.
“It’s not all about enforcing laws. We check in with them just to see how they’re doing, make sure that they’re staying warm, make sure that they’re getting a meal. They’re still members of our community” said said officer Jacob Smith.
Efforts are underway done to make sure that the homeless are warm and comfortable, and the pastor at the First United Methodist Church believes that showing kindness to every member of the Great Falls community is important.
“It’s not a problem you’re going to solve, it’s a problem you’re going to manage. The community needs to take responsibility for it. We’re all a part of the community regardless of whether you’re poor or homeless or whatever. We’re all a part of what makes up the community, we’re all neighbors” said Pastor Jeff Wakeley.