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In today’s edition of The Montana Standard, we are publishing five profiles of people who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness in Butte.

The most extraordinary thing about these five is that they are all members of the Homeless Advisory Committee, a group of people who want to make this community better – not just for themselves but for those who follow – and are already involved in “giving back” even before they find complete stability.

The group, facilitated by Action Inc., developed a priority list of steps they’d like to take to make the community better. The first priority – by a large margin – was “humanizing the homeless.” By sharing their stories with us today, the committee has done exactly that.

We note with great pleasure the strides this community has made over the past couple of years in combating homelessness and helping those whose previous options were limited to — and by — living on the streets.

The Butte Rescue Mission is up and running again. The Continuum of Care Coalition has done so much, through collaboration and determination, to find housing solutions. And we hold out the firm hope that the Mission and the CoC can work together in the near future, so that the avenues to education, counseling, jobs, homes and more that the Coalition offers can be directly served to shelter residents.

We also note with gratitude the recent $25,000 grant toward a low-barrier shelter made by The Salvation Army. We still believe firmly that the community is entitled to the full $623,000 left to the Salvation Army for use here by Butte’s Burton Kinyon years ago. But this grant is a most encouraging sign that the Army’s days of disengagement and mismanagement in Butte are over.

And as always, we are amazed by the incredible philanthropy of the Town Pump Foundation, which, among many other generous gifts to Butte and to Montana, has given hundreds of thousands to help transform the Rescue Mission into a solidly based, efficiently functioning organization.

We urge that the hard work, communication and mutual understanding necessary to finish this onerous job continue, with the full support of the Mission, the Continuum of Care and the rest of the community.

And we thank the members of the Homeless Advisory Committee for their courage and dedication in producing these profiles.

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