I am extremely concerned that Missoula has no zoning regulations regarding homeless shelters or soup kitchens. The yet-to-be-built Poverello Center has a permit to run a hostel. The Union Baptist Church wants to open a soup kitchen, life skills center and residence for "recovering" addicts. Under current zoning regulations this is a "daycare." The lack of proper zoning forces these establishments to fall into a category with very few safeguards to protect the public.
Safety, sanitation, parking, handicap accessibility and oversight regarding the qualifications of staff to deal with extremely volatile populations are but a few of the issues that need to be resolved. The city has a responsibility to protect its citizens. The lack of regulations regarding these kinds of businesses must be addressed before these projects continue.
The residents of the Westside need the support of all Missoula residents. This is not a "Westside" problem. This is a citywide problem. Just like you, our neighborhood is made up of women and children, senior citizens and hard working people. We are being put in harm's way. Please stand beside us, your neighbors, and help us make this change for the better for our city, our home.