Montana town deals with homeless camps

Wall Street Journal
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This city boasts more than 400 acres of parks, many of which line the roaring Clark Fork River. Recently, they have become full of homeless people.

Some 600 people without homes live in the Northern Rockies college town, triple the number of a decade ago, many of them in tents in city parks. Their presence has sown growing anger among residents who say the parks have become dirty and unsafe.

Shannone Hart said a group of teens she works with saw homeless people fighting in a park and that she moved in June from a house near an encampment along the Clark Fork.

“Just the sheer litter and feces and garbage pollution that was going into the river was concerning,” Hart said.

Missoula has a decades-old law that makes it illegal to camp in a park, but can’t enforce it because of a 2018 ruling by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that found removing anyone camping in a public space in its Western U.S. jurisdiction when there isn’t a shelter bed for them constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Missoula has less than half the beds that would be necessary to comply with the order, most of which are already being used.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!