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Shelters for people without a place to spend the night in Bozeman and Livingston are seeing about double the number of people stay every night compared to last season.

The Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) operates the warming centers in Bozeman and Livingston, where a combined 95 people seek shelter every night, according to a Feb. 11 news release.

“It is important to note that with these frigid temperatures, most of the resources our community members without housing typically rely on are not there for them right now due to COVID,” said Heather Grenier, HRDC CEO and president, in the release. “This ties directly to our community’s need for a year-round, full-day emergency shelter, which Community First Griffin Place will bring.”

Griffin Place is the HRDC’s plan for a year-round shelter on North 7th Avenue. It will be the first of its kind in Bozeman and will include a food resource center and a number of tiny homes for people who are chronically homeless.

Construction on Griffin Place is scheduled to begin sometime this year.

In the interim, the warming centers are a place where people can go to get out of the cold, especially during last week’s cold snap where temperatures stayed below zero for days on end. The Bozeman center at 2015 Wheat Drive and the Livingston center at 119 S. Second St. are both open every night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. from Nov. 1 through Mar. 31, with check-in between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

“In previous years, our neighbors might have been able to seek warmth during the day at school, work, or in other public places,” said Brian Guyer, HRDC’s housing director. “Now, many of these places are at limited capacity or completely closed. COVID-19 has clearly affected more people in our community than might be visible.”

HRDC had 81 people take up its offer to house them in hotel rooms during the late October cold snap before the Warming Centers were open.

The organization has continued to offer hotel rooms for people at a high risk of COVID-19 who also need shelter or a place to quarantine.

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