Missoula announces plans to offer alternatives to illegal camping for the homeless | Local News
Now, said Engen, the idea is to avoid making that mistake again by putting some safe alternatives in place and inviting people over there rather than just telling them to keep going.
The four officials stressed that they would not order the police to forcibly evict the homeless from their places of residence, unless they are violent or are on private property.
The two governments will allocate more resources, including funding, to the Poverello Center homeless outreach team.
Engen said some of his constituents wanted him to “chase anyone who doesn’t have a home out of town.”
“I’m not going to do this,” he said, noting that it would be immoral and violate the US Constitution.
However, the city will no longer allow unauthorized camping in alleys, parks and other public spaces, he said.
“We’re going to have to find more alternatives and potentially scattered sites to do this,” he said. “Here is the problem. No one is going to like it. But we believe that we have a responsibility, despite this, to solve this problem.”
Once the Commissioners and Engen have established a list of potential sites, they will go through a public process to establish those sites.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, the county and city said the goal was to avoid mistakes made by places like Seattle and Portland.