Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess believes voters are deciding the fate of an important funding program next week that would be a permanent way to help the homeless, crime victims, and those coping with suicide and mental illness. 

The Crisis Services Levy would raise $5 million for a variety of local programs if approved by Missoula County voters in next week's General election.

The levy's dollars would assist mental health programs, crime victims, diversion programs, and the Mobile Support Team, helping first responders care for people in crisis. 

And Hess says the dollars for aiding the homeless, or those who've lost their housing would provide better stability.

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"You know we open a winter shelter and then at the end of the winter we close the winter shelter. And then we opened something else and then we transitioned to the winter shelter. And we're piecing together these funding sources," Hess noted. 

In the Wednesdays with the Mayor program last week, Hess said the levy could allow better planning, instead of cobbling together funds from a variety of sources over the next decade.

"One of the things that I would look forward to should the levy pass is that we will have the opportunity to do this long-range planning," Hess said. "And to develop programs knowing that there's a stable funding source. We don't just need emergency shelters in the winter anymore. We've got increasing periods of heat and smoke, and we have other conditions that folks in our community need to find respite from. That's one of the best things I think is, that it allows us to really prioritize in the long term way." 

However, the levy could be a tough sell, with critics arguing the city's residents already are paying too much in taxes.  

2022 Montana Griz Homecoming Parade

Missoula, MT - A collection of floats, banners, pageantry and fun during the 2022 University of Montana Homecoming Parade, the 1st in two years.

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