Viewpoint: Opening Johnson Street shelter no easy feat
The shelter opening has been widely covered by Missoula’s news reporters. While it seems like a long time since the mayor’s emergency announcement, it has been short in logistics time.
We had to figure out how to pay for the enterprise. It will take several months for the Poverello Center leadership to hire and train people to staff the shelter. We also had to work out a contract with them, which has not yet been brought to the City Council. We also have been told by the Health Departm
ent that we need to make other arrangements for bathrooms and showers. We have several options from an architect, all of which are expensive. Several major items are still undecided. We’ll have a public hearing before the Health Board next week on the sanitation matters. We do have a security contract with Black Knight and can describe that. We have hoped to have as much settled as possible before the neighborhood meeting.
We have a robust communications plan for the Johnson Street reopening, which includes a mailing to some 5,000 households and businesses, an update of the informational flyer, a neighborhood meeting in a spacious venue in the third week of August and an open house a few days before the shelter opens, which will likely be the second week of September.
We have engaged the help of Big Sky Public Relations to help us with these communications endeavors. I am happy to talk with you about the plan.
Ginny Merrian is the communications director for the City of Missoula.