On Monday morning, a small homeless camp at First Avenue South and South 30th Street was cleared by the Billings Police Department and the city's Code Enforcement division.
The camp held at least one person who had set up a tent in an alley off South 29th Street. “It’s not illegal to be homeless, not illegal to live outside. It is illegal to pitch tents and camp in city limits,” said Police Chief Rich St. John.
St. John noted that when the homeless are removed from such camps they frequently just move on to camp somewhere else. “That whole population in general, we essentially have very few resources to direct them to,” he said. Current funding is not sufficient to provide the homeless population with those needed resources, St. John said.
“The ultimate goal is trying to get those people connected with services to provide them with safe housing, addiction counselors, anything that can help them get back on their feet,” St. John said.