Missoula city officials propose temporary ban on soup kitchens, homeless shelters


MISSOULA, Mont. - The debate over whether to allow a new soup kitchen to move into a busy Missoula neighborhood continues this week.

It's a controversy that's been stirring ever since the Poverello Center announced plans to move into the same neighborhood on West Broadway.

Representative's with Union Gospel Mission of Missoula, formerly Missoula 3:16, say the old Sweetheart Bakery site is the perfect, central location; they tell us their aim is to educate and help people find jobs.

Some residents and business owners tell us a second help-center in the area is just too much and they wonder if a more commercial location with fewer safety concerns could be used instead.
Sunday we caught up with city council member Adam Hertz who tells us council members may pass a law that would temporarily halt the permitting of any new soup kitchens, or meal centers, until the matter is discussed with the public in more detail.  

"It really was neighborhood driven because we heard a lot of concerns from the ward that we represent, which includes that west-side neighborhood, so this was in response to that," says Hertz.  "We said 'let's step back and see what we can do to slow the process down a little bit and get the public more involved.'"

Council members tell us they still need to approve permits for Union Gospel Mission of Missoula to move to the new location at 1330 West Broadway.

They will meet this Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in the city council chambers to discuss whether a temporary ban should be used.

The public can also weigh-in at the next city council meeting that will be Monday September 9.

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