Poverty Impact Initiatives


The City of Billings Homeless Initiatives Legacy Booklet illustrates a few bright stars in a tremendous constellation of projects, programs and events that have impacted homelessness in the Billings community from 2006 through 2016. While every effort was made to review the information contained in the booklet for accuracy and completeness, hundreds of individuals, businesses, and organizations have participated in the initiatives. The accomplishments of the entire Billings community are vast and immeasurable. Please forgive any errors or omissions. 

Initiatives & Innovations

The following initiatives have been supported through both City staff and AmeriCorps VISTA members sponsored by the City's Billings Metro VISTA Project.

  • Resource Map & Notepad - Documents created to link individuals and families to resources in the community including shelter, food, clothing, health care, etc.
  • Methamphetamine and Opioid Response - This initiative is designed to reduce opioid / methamphetamine abuse by providing access to healthcare education, prevention, and intervention strategies to deal with the drug epidemic in Yellowstone County. 
  • Illuminate Poverty -This initiative is designed to raise social and public awareness about poverty and homelessness in our community.
  • Family Justice Center - The development of a Family Justice Center is currently underway in Billings. The Center will support victims and survivors of domestic violence by reducing barriers to imperative resources. Community representatives and various service providers will be available in one accessible location to create a supportive experience for victims.  
  • Faith Engagement - The Faith Engagement initiative promotes community collaboration towards the effort of impacting the needs of people living in poverty in Billings.
  • Billings Blue - Veterans & Military - This project is designed to assist low income veterans, active military members and their families through services developed by AmeriCorps VISTA members placed through the Billings Metro VISTA Project.
  • Housing First Projects - City staff generated $800,000 in funding to support the development of two housing initiatives to serve those experiencing homelessness.
  • Youth Count! The intent of this project was to prepare and facilitate a count to enumerate and assess youth experiencing homelessness in the Billings area.
  • Homeless Play - The City sponsored Project Homelessness, in partnership with Venture Theatre, to create a play depicting true stories of children experiencing homelessness in the Billings area.
  • Community Gardens and Food Security - Efforts to increase access to nutritious food and support organizations providing for those in need.
  • Social Enterprise - Furthering financial sustainable innovations targeting homelessness through business enterprise and economic opportunity.
  • Spare Change for Real Change - Creating an alternative to giving to panhandlers, this project provides opportunities to support change through the Purple 5k, Downtown Crit and spare change collection.
  • Billings Community Connect - For nine consecutive years, dozens of organizations gathered to provide immediate access to services such as housing, food, clothing, employment, medical care and legal aid during this one-day, one-stop event.

Welcome Home Billings

In 2006, Mayor Ron Tussing was asked to lead an initiative to develop a plan to address the needs of the homeless in Billings. The Mayor formed a 20 member coalition, the Mayor's Committee on Homelessness, to develop and implement a plan. In 2010, Mayor Tom Hanel fully embraced the initiative and has been a constant supporter of the many programs and activities sponsored by the Committee.

In October 2009, the City Council adopted Welcome Home Billings; a ten-year plan to impact homelessness. The completed plan and supporting documents can be found online. Over 50 local organizations and 600 individuals have been collectively working on implementing the plan to impact homelessness.

Please note: The Community Development Division no longer spearheads these initiatives due to lack of dedicated funding.