Several families in the Havre area are on the verge of becoming homeless because they are being evicted, and social services agencies that serve them have no funds left to help.
That was the dire news from Trina Crawford, the executive director of Havre’s Salvation Army.
Crawford said limits have been placed on Section 8 housing assistance, and people who have been eligible in the past for the federal program no longer qualify.
She said the mother of a family of four recently told her that because her husband was convicted of a felony 12 years ago, she is no longer eligible for Section 8 aid.
Crawford said it seemed unfair to be punishing the family for a crime committed by the father so long ago.
Traditionally, she said, when families come to the Salvation Army looking for shelter, she can put them up in the Havre Budget Inn, but it is now full, she said.
So the Salvation Army is placing people in more expensive lodging, she said, further stretching the already-limited budget.
“It’s early in February, but I'm already nearly out of money for the month,” she said. “I don’t know what we are going to do.”
“I know some people are living in shacks using a space heater,” she said.
The annual red kettle campaign at Christmastime funds emergency services programs, she said, adding that the take from the kettles was down this year, because it was a shorter Christmas season and several days of bell-ringing were called off because of the bitter cold.
Crawford said she hopes people can open their wallets and provide more money for the Salvation Army.
“This community has always been so generous.”