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.
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.