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Thanks to the Billings Library the unhoused now have a private, accessible “community cabinet”



Billings, Montana – This year, a covert location will open up where the city homeless can obtain free toiletries and other hygiene supplies.

“I guess we just take for granted a lot of basic items or necessities,” said Taylor Arnold, a library service specialist at the Billings Public Library, where the community cabinet is located.

For people in our community who are homeless or in transition, he claims that even a small item like a pair of clean socks, some sunscreen, or a toothbrush may make all the difference.

“I mean things are expensive,” said Arnold. “Making it more accessible is what’s important.”

Arnold, who has only been employed by the library for a little over a year, immediately got to work, spending the summer advertising what the library has to offer.

“I was going to the skatepark on the bike library handing out resources, like water, when it was 100 degrees outside,” he said. “I got the idea to start bringing hygiene kits to those hanging out at the skatepark and the surrounding areas.”

And because the response was favorable, he persisted. As donations poured in for the hygiene kits, he decided to turn the extra funds into a permanent installation in the library lobby.

His heart is warmed by the deed. “I think it makes anyone feel good helping others,” he said. “It’s just a really good feeling in general.”

But according to him, it goes well beyond that. Anyone who needs hygiene or comfort products can visit the cupboard at the library without being asked any questions.

Things like this frequently make a significant difference in easing minor tensions, enhancing health, and regaining confidence.

He hopes that those who are able will contribute to the communal cabinet’s expansion and that those in need would use it.

“It’s not about being some saving grace, it’s more, hey here are some resources we have they are for the community, you are a part of the community. They are for you,” he said.

For the community cabinet, which contains items like tampons, socks, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, the library is asking for contributions of items that have never been used or opened.