Jeff Krauss, Bozeman City Commissioner (Photo by Tom Egelhoff)

Jeff Krauss joined me for his regular 8:30 AM Tuesday morning visit and we talked about the commission staff asking HRDC to apply to the City Commission for $30,000 for a local Homeless Teen Shelter.

They were asking to take the money from the Workforce Housing Fund.

Krauss questioned whether that was an appropriate use of tax dollars. “This desire to use city coffers as a charity actually flies against what I think local government is there to do.”

Krauss pointed out that in large cities like Detroit and Baltimore the welfare department is administered by the city. Several years ago the welfare department in Bozeman was housed next to the Treasurer’s Office and administered by the county. Today the state takes responsibility for these kinds of programs.

Krauss also pointed out that Billings and Missoula have Teen Homeless Shelters that used no local taxpayer money because they received federal funds but Bozeman is too small to qualify for federal funds.

Some Final Thoughts

On the surface a Teen Homeless Shelter seems like a no brainer. Teens would certainly be safer in a supervised group home than living on the street.

However, the pockets of the city only run so deep before hitting rock bottom. I too would question whether this is an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

When the next commissioners come up for a vote you might revisit this decision and evaluate the necessity of their vote.

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