News & Resources

Background checks frightening Montana''s homeless

Feb 23, 2011 Matt Roesly

The homelessness problem in Montana is becoming such an issue that local residents filled a Missoula community center to discuss a solution. According to KECI-TV, residents echoed similar sentiments about the need for a fix, but local lawmakers have yet to find the right combination of changes that will alleviate the problem. The station reports that Dr. Maxine Jacobson and 240 local volunteers surveyed many among the homeless population in Missoula and found that background screening and an inability to meet lease requirements are driving people to the streets. Jacobson discovered that the median income among the homeless was $450 per month before they hit the streets, a significant shortfall from the average $700 rent price in the city. "The ones I talk to, they are afraid of the background checks, skipping on rental leases," one local resident said during the meeting, according to KECI. The meeting came a week after the Montana Department of Veterans Affairs held a meeting to address the growing number of veterans who are living on the streets. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 107,000 homeless veterans.