In the February 2021 edition of Bozeman Magazine, we had a column published speaking out against a 112-page report put out by Montana State University and the Downtown Bozeman Partnership. This report discussed all kinds of potential design renovations for the park but did not include either the participation or mention of the unhoused residents often found congregating or sleeping in the park.
As a follow up to this piece, the Downtown Bozeman Partnership reached out to us letting us know that it was indeed a conscious decision not to include unhoused people in the scope of this particular project but that – rest assured – there was a committee of concerned businesses, organizations, and the Bozeman Police Department who were working on a document that would move toward respect of this population. The document they shared actually talked mostly about when a business could or could not report a “homeless” person for criminal behavior and what constituted such behavior. The email also lamented that there were unhoused people at all, as if being unhoused were a condition itself of a person that needed curing (like cancer). It highlighted the basic lack of respect we complain about in this column.
So, the article is still relevant as an example of the blind spot many in our community have to other residents who live here.