Homeless youth in the Tumbleweed program will continue to have a place to live through a contract renewed on Tuesday by Yellowstone County.
On a 2-1 vote, the commission renewed for one year its lease of a house it owns at 1019 Neptune Blvd., in the Billings Heights. The county has been leasing the house to Tumbleweed for $1 a year since about 2014.
Commissioners John Ostlund and Robyn Driscoll approved renewing the lease while Commissioner Denis Pitman wanted to sell the property.
Pitman said he thought the county had gotten away from its initial mission of using the house for youth services and that there was no reason to keep the property. He recommended the county sell the property and use the proceeds to improve the Youth Services Center, which provides secure detention for juvenile offenders, shelter care for youth in crisis, counseling for youth and families, mental health and chemical dependency evaluations and outpatient addiction treatment.
Pitman’s motion to have the property declared excess county property died from lack of a second.
Driscoll said she “disagreed completely” with Pitman, saying Tumbleweed is providing youth services by offering shelter and helping them graduate from high school.
Ostlund agreed, saying nothing the county does gets as much “bang for the buck” as helping homeless youth through the Tumbleweed program and lease of the county’s house. He said he had “no interest” in selling the property.
Tumbleweed, a non-profit organization, uses the house to temporarily house homeless youth through a transitional living program.