It was just last November when Blackfeet Councilman Lauren Monroe Jr. had pictures taken of him atop a pair of what appeared to be trailers at the Medicine Bear Shelter. At the time, he explained they’d been purchased by the Blackfeet Tribe from a firm in Canada that produces self-contained units called “man camps” that are used in petroleum drilling operations there.
The pair of structures is each capable of housing up to 20 people at a time, al-though ideally there would be 10 in each unit, one for women and one for men. He said the new facilities would allow the Shelter to house homeless people during Blackfeet Country’s often harsh and long lasting winters.
This winter has proved to be no exception as heavy snowfalls have been accompanied by high winds and subzero temperatures.
“They’ve been in operation since Lauren was here,” Ken Walter, the Pets for Life representative and longtime person working at the Shelter. “We’ve had 10 or 15 people coming in per night, and they’re mostly young people.”
When they arrive, those who stay are prepped with fresh clothing, food and showers before spending the night.
“When it’s really cold, they can stay during the day,” Walter said. “Usually we close for cleaning, but a few are staying. We have one woman who is working for us. She got out of treatment and had no place to stay, and now she’s working through Blackfeet Manpower. We also have a man who’s been working at Town Pump since he’s been staying here, and we have around three who we’re trying to get into treatment now.”
To read the complete article, pick up a copy of this week’s issue or subscribe to the Browning Glacier Reporter, Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Shelby Promoter and The Valierian newspapers at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/