New Data Reveals How Big An Issue Homelessness Is In Montana.
Winter is here and with it, we are experiencing sub-zero temperatures along with several inches of snow.
Winter can be harsh in Montana, and even harsher for those that don't have sufficient housing or shelter. "Pop Up" neighborhoods have become popular over the last few years in places like Bozeman and Missoula, as people struggle to deal with the high cost of housing by living in RVs, campers, and personal vehicles.
New data reveals that Montana comes in 41st out of 50 for homelessness.
According to World Population Review, Montana has just over 1,500 residents that are homeless. Although that might not seem like a lot, my guess is that those estimates are probably pretty conservative. Not to mention that out of the 1,500 that are homeless, more than 100 of them are households or families and over 200 are veterans.
There are organizations out there that are dedicated to fighting homelessness in Montana, but they are limited in space and resources. So what are the reasons behind the homelessness issue nationwide? According to the data, it comes down to four main issues:
- Affordable Housing
- Low Wages
Unemployment certainly isn't the issue here in Montana, as many of Montana's cities and towns are struggling to fill open positions. However, affordable housing and comparatively low wages definitely play a factor.
When I talk to people that aren't from the area and tell them of the wages that are being offered, they're often in shock and don't understand how folks could struggle. However, they're in greater shock when I tell them how much an average home is or what people are paying for an apartment.
There is no easy answer to the problem, and it will most certainly continue as Montana is a desirable place to be. Until the supply can satisfy the demand, prices will continue to be high, which means that some Montanans won't be able to find affordable housing.
The concern that we should all have is helping those in need as we enter into what could be a bitterly cold winter.
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