Missoula's Poverello Center has been providing shelter and meals for the homeless for many decades, but director Eran Fowler Pehan said they've never seen a year as difficult as 2013.

"In the last 30 years we have not seen numbers like this," Pehan said. "In 2011, we did see some pretty big highs for the organization. We were sleeping near 115 individuals a night, but our record of 119 that we slept last weekend (November 30), is the highest our organization has seen."

Pahan said that in the summer the Poverello typically helps between 70 and 80 people a night, but that the cold weather has increased the need for shelter. The extra need has made it hard to come up with many basic necessities.

"We are really in need of supplies," Pehan said. "Anything that you use in your own home, we use here in the shelter times 100. Things like cleaning supplies, laundry detergent... we are just not able to keep up with the demand. We're doing regular emergency runs to the store for toilet paper and things like that."

Pehan said cash donations are great if people want to help out, but that even the household goods can be a big blessing because it means they don't need to make an extra trip to the store.

Recently, there have been about 40 people sleeping on the floor because the current facility is overcrowded.

Eran Fowler Pehan:


Photo courtesy of thepoverellocenter.org