On a blustery and sunny Thursday morning, several dozen people gathered on the lawn of the Missoula County Courthouse for the official launch of the Missoula County Crisis Response Tax fundraising campaign.
First to speak was Missoula businessman Shannon Flanagan, who described the reason for the rally.
“Today we come together to support and launch our efforts to support the Crisis Intervention Levy that will be on the ballot in November,” Flanagan began. “For this reason and in combination with the loss of American Recovery Plan Act funds from the federal government that support programs that have helped fund solutions to address these issues, I am concerned for the health and safety of our friends, family and neighbors.”
Flanagan briefly outlined some of the programs the levy will support if passed by Missoula taxpayers in November.
“The mobile support team is made up of groups of paramedics and social workers responding to crisis calls as they arise,” he said. MST (the Mobile Support Team) responds to a dozen or more calls a day and successfully diverts hundreds of very expensive visits to ERs and prisons. The crisis intervention program helps reduce reliance on the criminal justice system and instead connects people in crisis to behavioral health services. The Emergency Winter Shelter and Temporary Safe Outdoor Space provide people experiencing homelessness with places to go while connecting them to sustainable housing.
A poignant moment occurred when Linda Clark, a Temporary Safe Outdoor Space (TSOS) beneficiary shared her personal story.
“My name is Linda Clark and I’m one of the success stories of TSOS,” Clark said. “I was homeless for three years due to domestic violence. I lived in the mountains where I endured 30 below zero temperatures, then I found TSOS and now I am housed and life is getting much better. I’m really grateful for their program, and I’d probably be in the mountains if it wasn’t for them.
Using the biblical analogy of David and Goliath, Jim Hicks of the Hope Rescue Mission described the programs the levy will support as how the small, nimble “David” was able to defeat the “Goliath” of society.
“This crisis intervention levy has both the agility and targeted competence to impact the giant, cumbersome trifecta of the homeless, the mentally ill and those facing substance use disorders. of substance.”
The proposed levy would be approximately $5.5 million. For the taxpayer, the levy would cost $54 annually for a house with a taxable value of $200,000, or $135 annually for a house with a taxable value of $500,000.
Mail-in ballots for the November 8 election will be sent out in October.
Click here to learn more about the Missoula Crisis Intervention Levy.
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