LIVINGSTON - As frigid temperatures continue throughout the state, Livingston residents in need of warmth can now find shelter at the city's first warming center.
And though the warming center opened three days ago, it has yet to see its first guest.
Livingston's branch of the Human Resource Development Council (or HRDC) says it saw a need in the community as volunteers increasingly had to refer local residents to the Bozeman warming center.
HRDC's Outreach Coordinator Melissa Hackett believes the lack of turnout could be the result of a number of problems. First of all, people simply may not know the center exists. But she also says there can be a misconception about who is able to use the warming center - and why.
"[Homelessness] is not as visible in our community," explains Hackett. She says that the people who could be defined as homeless in Gallatin and Park County are "not particularly transient homeless individuals."
Instead, most have been members of the community for years or even decades, and may simply be struggling, "down on their luck," or leaving a traumatic experience. They might be in need of basic resources in order to get back on track to being self-sufficient.
Hackett infers the warming center is not meant to be a long-term solution for homelessness, but instead a gateway - or stop along the way - to independence.
The Livingston warming center is open Friday night through Tuesday morning at 119 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. Check in runs from 7 P.M.-11 P.M. and guests are able to stay in the shelter until 7 A.M. The entrance to the center is at the back of the building.
The Bozeman warming center is located at 2104 Industrial Dr, and open nightly from 7 P.M.-7 A.M.
Hackett adds the shelter is taking donations for operational costs. If you'd like to donate, click here. To give directly to the shelter, go to "program" and select "Emergency Shelter Livingston" in the drop-down menu.