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Billings father of two works toward new life during stay at Mont - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Billings father of two works toward new life during stay at Montana Rescue Mission

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Pharr's goal is to provide a house for his daughters and him by next year. Pharr's goal is to provide a house for his daughters and him by next year.
The Montana Rescue Mission is located at 2800 Minnesota Ave. The Montana Rescue Mission is located at 2800 Minnesota Ave.
BILLINGS -

As winds whipped throughout the state, imagine being homeless in the streets of Billings.

With temperatures only to lower in the coming months, the Montana Rescue Mission will see more men in need of a warm place to stay, and a hot meal.

Nine out of every 10 who walk through the Montana Rescue Mission's doors are capable of gaining employment. But meeting their needs starts with a conversation.

"The program that we put in place and that we work on is not to enable somebody, we hold individuals accountable for their actions, so everything we do is on a case by case basis. And it's all behavioral based," said Denise Smith, MRM public relations coordinator.

That program is now in full swing for resident Johnny Pharr who's circumstances brought him and his two daughters from Florida to Montana.

"It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman. If you're a single parent, it's tough," Pharr said.

Pharr has custody of his daughters, and together, they live in the MRM as Pharr works to gain employment.

"The support has just been overwhelming," he said. "There is a real chance for me to start over fresh somewhere. And just really become a member of society. And the MRM's leading the way with that for me."

Inside the walls the men also housed at MRM have an inclusive community.

"All the men that have been here, they make sure they hold doors for my daughters. You see the finer qualities in men that maybe they've forgotten."

But Pharr is just one of as many as 145 who will stay during the winter months.

"We never turn anybody away, so those numbers will fluctuate," Smith said.

That rise in numbers has not been met with an increase in donations. In fact, donations are down 15 percent compared to this time last year.

"We still have a lot of people that are donating to us, it's just not at the levels they were last year," Smith said. "But we also provide meals 365 days a year and we need that assistance every day of the year."

That assistance giving the father of two a chance to find a new life.

"Again, just got to work towards, gotta save towards, but it starts with opening the door of a job first," Pharr said.

MRM is working on adding more services for single parents in the future.  

Pharr has a job interview on Monday.  
 

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