Coulson Park

Glenn Fournier looks for people under a bridge near Coulson Park in December 2016. Fournier is a part of Montana Rescue Mission's Search and Rescue Team that brings homeless inside to stay warm and dry when the temperature drops below freezing.


Montana Rescue Mission will kick of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s coordinated entry effort with a barbecue from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Men’s Shelter, 2822 Minnesota Ave.

According to a news release from MRM, the effort — which replaces the Point in Time homeless survey formerly taken every February — is designed to make sure homeless people are being served based on need.

The coordinated entry effort is in conjunction with the Volunteers of America, Tumbleweed, HRDC, Housing Authority of Billings and South-Central Montana Continuum of Care.

The goal is to alleviate wait times for receiving housing assistance by transitioning into a system based on vulnerability and severity of need, ensuring that people who need assistance the most can receive it in a timely manner.

To help ensure success for the new program, a more in-depth assessment of the current homeless situation facing the Billings community will be conducted over the next two weeks, with Wednesday’s barbecue serving as the kickoff event.

In addition, MRM will engage its Rescue Crew to go out and talk to people sleeping on the street.

MRM has been using a HUD-recommended database for the past four years. This same system will now be used by other agencies dedicated to serving people experiencing homelessness in order to create assistance efforts.

The new process will also assist MRM’s street outreach efforts so that people sleeping on the streets are prioritized for assistance in the same manner as any other person assessed through the coordinated efforts.