Poverello Center Seeing Rising Number Of People This Winter - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Poverello Center Seeing Rising Number Of People This Winter

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MISSOULA -

With dropping temperatures and a rising homeless population in Missoula, a record number of people are in need of a warm place to sleep this winter. The executive director says the Poverello Center has been over capacity, with about 40 people sleeping on the floor in recent weeks.

"It's very busy," said Pov visitor, Brian Mueller.

The Poverello Center in Missoula is seeing a record number of people, but Mueller, who has little money and no place to go, isn't complaining about the number of people he's sharing with his space.

"I'm not one to complain, I think there's plenty of room," Mueller said.

On average, Pov workers said they are seeing a 20-person per night jump from the summer months.

"We've had some pretty consistent numbers in the last few weeks since we had that cold snap," said Poverello Center executive director Eran Fowler Pehan. "We literally have people sleeping in every area of the building on every empty spot of floor space of the building."

Pehan, said the center has 68 beds, but about 110 people have stayed here per-night, and she is still not turning anyone away.

"We really try not to turn people away, because in these weather conditions that could mean life or death," Fowler Pehan said.

Fowler Pehan said the Pov is seeing more and more people walk through its doors each year, and this winter already has a much higher attendance record than last year.

"That really mirrors what we saw in summer too, in serving people more and more meals, people in need of shelter and food at higher rates then we did in 2012," said Pehan Fowler.

This year, Pov workers came prepared for the crowds, making sure its stocked up on basic supplies, like blankets and bath towels.

"We really try to make sure we have just enough basic supplies so people can come in get warm get a showers, and get a hot meal," said Fowler Pehan.

Mueller said, whether he's sleeping in a bed or in a crowded corner on the floor, he's just happy to have a warm meal and a place to stay.

"It's a Godsend for people like myself and others that are less fortunate, so I mean, the community really needs this place," Mueller said.

Construction of a new larger center is currently underway. People with the Pov said they expect it to be up and running by next winter.

 

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