Downtown Billings is in store for some big changes this fall, when the HUB Drop In Center closes its doors Oct. 1.
The decision to close the facility came this week, as the South Central Montana Regional Mental Health Center Board deals with an estimated $400,000 budget gap.
Located near the busy corner of North 27th Street and Sixth Avenue North, the HUB offers help to the homeless, with a variety of mental health support services and meals.
Board Chair Carl Seilstad told MTN News the decision to close the HUB was difficult but was made to protect the organization as it deals with an on-going budget shortfall.
Seilstad said services provided at the HUB will move to other agencies in town, but drop-in service and noon meals will be discontinued.
The Health Center Board plans to discuss future plans for the HUB building at its meeting in August. Seilstad says selling the property is one option under consideration.
Fees from 13 south-central Montana counties support the Regional Mental Health Center budget.
Yellowstone County Commissioner Denis Pitman, a former member of the Health Center Board, told MTN News that Yellowstone County has committed its per-capita fees to support the Regional Mental Health Center. At the same time, Pitman explained that the county is taking a renewed look at the services it provides, and how those services are delivered.
"We want to look at the big picture, and see if co-locating these services in a single location may be a better way to provide this service," said Pitman.
Yellowstone County plans to issue a request for proposal this fall to evaluate what services the county can provide to homeless residents, and see what proposals come forward to meet that need.
"We want to make sure we're using our tax dollars in the most effective way," said Pitman.