Our Place Peers Collaborate for a Downtown Cleanup

Late morning marked the beginning of our community cleanups, and despite the  heat, the atmosphere remained positive. The effort kicked off at Cruise Park, moved behind God’s Love, and concluded at the tunnel near Anchor Park.

This event was a remarkable display of camaraderie and interdepartmental cooperation. Leading the charge were Jacqueline, Our Place Program Manager, and Mikayla, Peer Support Specialist from Our Place, who kept everything running smoothly. Alongside our dedicated staff were numerous volunteers, many of whom are Our Place Peers and have experienced or are currently experiencing homelessness. In fact, the idea for Our Place’s participation in the cleanups came from these Peers!

The cleanup crew also included members of the Helena Police Department (HPD) and the Parks Department, with the latter providing trucks for trash removal. Both HPD and Parks Department staff worked alongside the volunteers. hese cleanups are not about displacing people but about making parks and public areas clean and safe for everyone, including our unhoused neighbors. We do not discard personal belongings—only trash. In fact, the tunnel cleanup had started well before our arrival, with the temporary residents leading by example!

For years, the Parks Department has been organizing these cleanups. Pat from the Parks Department mentioned that in the last 4-5 years, the number of people trying to set up more permanent residences in the parks has skyrocketed. With the addition of the Our Place team, we can help address this issue by connecting people with resources to get off the streets and into supportive environments.

Throughout the morning, Mikayla and Jacqueline frequently reminded people to collect their mail from Our Place—an essential service for those without a permanent address and encouraged folks to head down to Our Place for food and more. They knew everyone by name, as did the HPD and Parks Department staff, and provided compassionate support during the cleanup. They balanced firm instructions, like “Yes, you have to clean this up,” with genuine concern, asking, “How are you doing?” and “What do you need?”

This event was a kind and collaborative effort from all parties involved. While there were a few dissenting voices, the gratitude from those helped far outweighed the negativity. We recognize that there is no perfect solution to this complex issue. People deserve a safe place to sleep, and everyone deserves clean parks to enjoy—whether they are housed or not. We are committed to expanding our reach and programs to connect those in need with the help they require.

We extend a special thank you to the Our Place Peers who volunteered—Brandon, Stuart, William, and Jay (some preferred to remain unnamed)—as well as the staff at Our Place, the Helena Police Department, the Parks Department, and the Sanitation Department. This is the third cleanup Our Place Peers have participated in, and these events have become a huge part of their recovery group, giving them a sense of purpose and vital community connection.

We would also like to extend a huge thank you to Judge Peterson for providing a reduction in fines to those who participated in the cleanup.

If you have questions about these cleanups, how to get involved with our Ministries, or have a suggestion of a place to clean up please feel free to reach out at: [email protected]


Greater Helena Gives: Ensure Our Place Stays a Beacon of Hope

This Greater Helena Gives Day, we urge you to consider supporting Our Place —a vital resource in our community for individuals who are experiencing houselessness or are in need of immediate support.

At Our Place, we operate on the principle that kindness, dignity, and respect are fundamental to helping individuals create a stable, violence-free environment for themselves and their families. It’s not just a place; it’s a community where people can come together to find solace, support, and the resources necessary to improve their lives.

Services Provided at Our Place:

  • Personal outreach and engagement
  • Peer recovery and mental health services
  • Socialization opportunities and community group activities
  • Crisis mitigation and quality of life improvements
  • Essential aid including housing, transportation, job application support, and more

Since taking management in December 2019, Good Samaritan Ministries has significantly expanded the capabilities of Our Place. We now serve an average of 1,100 people per month—a doubling of our outreach—while increasing the services we offer by 85%.

Your Support Is Crucial:

As we continue to grow and serve more individuals in need, the importance of community support becomes ever clearer. Your donations help sustain and expand our services, ensuring that everyone who comes through our doors finds the help they need to stabilize and succeed.

This #GreaterHelenaGives, please consider making a donation to Good Samaritan Ministries. Your contribution will directly support our efforts to empower individuals, foster community, and provide critical services that can change lives.

Together, we can make a significant impact and ensure that no one in our community has to face their challenges alone.

To donate follow this link:


Helena shelter residents aim to ‘change public perception’ with city block clean-up

Clients of Our Place, the Good Samaritan Ministries-run addiction recovery drop-in center, spent much of Tuesday morning cleaning up the block in an effort to change public perception.

Good Samaritan Ministries and United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area were granted a conditional use permit by the Helena City Commission Monday night, allowing them to open a 25-bed emergency shelter for women at 649 Jackson St.

The commission heard hours of public comment ahead of the vote, some of which was in opposition to the proposed shelter. Those opposed cited littering and vandalism among their concerns.

“We are working very hard to humanize our unsheltered neighbors and get the message across that these people are not all criminals,” local United Way Director of Community Impact Jeff Buscher said Tuesday morning.

He said some of the Our Place clients came up with the idea of cleaning up the block during a group meeting.

“We’re giving them the tools to do what they want to do and that is clean up the neighborhood,” he said.

“We have to show them that we want to be good neighbors, but they have to understand that the status quo isn’t working,” CJ said while sweeping dirt off a Last Chance Gulch sidewalk ramp.

Rachell, another Our Place client, said her participation in the clean up helps her out. Rachell said she has been diagnosed with growing calcifications in her brain. She called them “brain stones” and said they have manifested obsessive compulsive tendencies in her.

“It’s nice to have my feet on the ground,” she said.

She said she has noticed many of the unsheltered in Helena do have mental health problems like her.

“They’re not trying to be disrespectful,” she said. “They are unable to make the right choices.”

Buscher said he hopes the clean-up will become a regular occurrence, but that it will take some encouragement.

Thank You to Supporters of the St. Francis Dinner

Thank you to everyone who donated to the St. Francis Dinner fundraiser! We appreciate your support and contribution to Street Outreach programming. With the funds raised, we will be able to purchase tents, blankets, food, and clothes for our homeless neighbors this winter. Thank you for your continued kindness and generosity towards our mission!


St. Francis Dinner is Back!!!

Good Samaritan Ministries Series 900 LLC is Proud to Announce… St. Francis Dinner is Back!!!

A Free, Goodwill offering, dinner with the Knights of Columbus, Helena Hibernians, and Good Samaritan Ministries to share a simple meal in solidarity with those less fortunate.

September 21, 2023
Knights of Columbus Hall
1867 Washington St.
Helena, MT 59601

Goodwill offering online: Click Here

Call for information: 406-442-0780
Doors open at 5:45
Dinner at 6:15
Short Program starts at 6:40


Rough Sleepers: A Community Conversation about the Unsheltered in Helena

Rough Sleepers: A Community Conversation about the Unsheltered in Helena

Plymouth Church – UCC, in partnership with the Lewis and Clark Library, United Way, the Montana Jewish Project, Good Samaritan and the Helena United Methodist Churches, invite the public to participate in the reading and five-week discussion of “Rough Sleepers” by Pulitzer-prize winning author, Tracy Kidder. The origins of housing shortages, education, medical care, and substance abuse are a few of the topics that will be featured each week and explored by leaders in our community, from Wednesday August 30 through Wednesday September 27. All discussions will be held at 12 noon; sack lunches encouraged. The Lewis and Clark Library hosts the first gathering in the meeting room, though each week the discussion will move to other locations. No reservations required; all are invited whether or not you have read the book.


August 30 at Lewis and Clark County Library, 120 S. Last Chance Gulch

“Why Now? Historical Origins of the Housing Crisis”, (discussion about why homelessness seems like a national crisis now) facilitated by Dr. Pat Christian, Carroll College


September 6 at Our Place, 631 N. Last Chance Gulch

“Who Is My Neighbor?” (Stories of people who are homeless), facilitated by Theresa Ortega, Good Samaritan, and Rev. Dr. Jeff Buscher, United Way


September 13 at the Montana Jewish Project Temple Emanu-El, 515 N. Ewing

“What’s Education Got to Do with It?” (Information from an educator, social

worker and a parent interacting with unsheltered children and adults),

participants include Siobhan Hathhorn, Chair of the Helena School Board

Trustees, Jaymie Sheldahl, Family and Community Partnerships for Rocky

Mountain Development Council Head Start with Jennifer Hedges


September 20 at Covenant United Methodist Church, 2330 E. Broadway

“Practical Considerations and Overwhelming Needs” (a perspective from local government regarding low-income housing and the challenges the city and county face) facilitated County Commissioner Andy Hunthausen and Mayor Wilmot Collins


September 27 at Plymouth Church – UCC, 400 S. Oakes (lunch provided)

“What About Drugs, Addictions, Mental Health and Other Life Threatening Concerns on the Streets”, facilitated by Teresa KelleyBrewer, Pure View Clinic

January is Poverty Awareness Month!

January is Poverty Awareness Month. More than 1.5 million children experience homelessness in a year and over 37 million Americans live in poverty. Our Street Outreach Program is always in need of hats, gloves, socks, blankets, sleeping bags, and tents for our unsheltered neighbors if you have any of these items to donate please drop them off at Good Samaritan or Our Place.

Become a Monthly Donor