All community members experience an improved quality of life because more people's basic needs are met.
We empower donors, volunteers, businesses, governments, nonprofits, and community groups to invest in neighbors to improve quality of life for everyone here. Working together, we identify the community’s most critical needs and implement collaborative, innovative solutions to improve lives in Gallatin, Madison, Meagher and Park Counties
Shedding a light on the issue
- Our community spends $28,305 annually/homeless person verses $11,860 to prevent chronic homelessness (HRDC 2018)
- MT ranks 18th for Economic Well-Being. Indicators: children living in poverty - annual income below $24K, high housing cost burden over 30% of monthly household pretax income is spent on housing expenses (kidsCount.org)
- Many individuals and families do not have access to community resources due to the remote nature of our state
- $73,365 is the average annual cost for Nursing Home Care in MT (SeniorLiving.org)
At 17, Jack first ended up on the streets after a breakdown in the relationship with his family. “I was always very good at school. I worked really hard but I always got totally ignored – by my teachers, by my parents. Nobody saw that I was doing any good." After leaving school, Jack joined the army but was medically discharged after eight months. "I came back home to Billings and it was like I’d just gone to the shop. I mean I went off to the army by myself and they didn’t care. I stayed home for about three weeks and then one morning at about 3 o’clock, I packed my bags and left. I never went back for 35 years.”
Jack traveled around the country; never staying anywhere too long and never letting anyone get to close. Jack ended up alone, penniless and homeless in Bozeman. “I didn’t know anybody. It absolutely terrified me. I avoided talking to people if I could. I didn’t want to let people get to know me. I didn’t trust anyone because it was the only way I knew to survive. I once found a purse one time and I took it back to the lady. It had her address in it. She took the purse and slammed the door in my face. I was looking a bit worse for wear; I wasn’t very clean. She slammed the door on me.” Altogether, Jack was homeless for 25 years – first for 15 years and again for ten years. Jack says that that if he were homeless today, he doesn’t think he would survive. "Without shelters and a lot of help, I think I’d be dead." Jack’s life is completely different today. “I’ve had some really lonely times, but my life is completely different now. I’ve got a missus and a job.”
Jack’s story is not uncommon in our community. When individuals, youth, or families find themselves without safe and secure housing, it impedes their ability to maintain physical and behavioral health, employment, relationships, and contribute to the community. When homelessness is not quickly addressed, it becomes more difficult to overcome barriers. Meeting the basic needs of everyone improves the quality of life for everyone.
The impact of your dollars
- Food security (i.e. 100% of requests for KidsPacks, weekend food packs, are met)
- Affordable housing (i.e. Gallatin County has a shelter solution with 100 beds to meet the rising homeless population and a full-season Warming Center shelter open in Park County)
- Access to affordable quality child care (i.e. All kids have access to an after school program and 500 new early childcare and education slots are available in Gallatin County)
- Access to community resources (i.e. Help Center 2-1-1 receives more calls as a result of community outreach and education activities)
Are You Ready to LIVE UNITED?
Through community investments and collaborative programs, we can improve lives for everyone.