Poverello Center buys nearby motel for $1.57M to house homeless veterans | Local News
A new home for homeless military veterans in Missoula is under construction.
The Poverello Center, Montana’s largest homeless shelter, has purchased the 17-room Clark Fork Inn property at 1010 W. Broadway, just down the street from the Poverello’s headquarters.
“On December 8, the Poverello Center entered into a contract to purchase the Clark Fork Inn for our Housing Montana Heroes program,” said Jill Bonny, Executive Director of Pov. “This is our transitional housing program for homeless veterans.”
This program has been located on the second floor of the Poverello Center since 2015.
“We serve about 35 veterans each year in this program,” Bonny said. “We are excited about the opportunity to expand our services. This new space will help transform lives and provide more veterans with safe housing during the COVID pandemic and beyond.
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The Poverello Center has room on the second floor for 20 veterans in shared rooms, and the Clark Fork Inn has 17 rooms.
“We will be working over the next 18 months to renovate the current building and also add three additional units,” Bonny said. “We look forward to releasing more details and finalizing a timeline.”
For many years, the Clark Fork Inn was used as long-term apartment housing by Missoula residents and has almost no vacancy. Bonny said the Pov is committed to ensuring that all current residents are relocated to housing.
“Because we use federal dollars, we are required by federal law to have a strong relocation protocol and to ensure rental assistance is available to all tenants,” she said. “We have been in communication with them.”
The hotel was listed on the Multiple Listing Service and could have been purchased by a private developer. The Pov bought the property for $1.57 million.
“The Pov is the best buyer because our staff is committed to ensuring current residents find stable housing,” Bonny said. She was in charge of Veterans Services at POV for many years before becoming Executive Director.
The Poverello Center secured a $1 million capital grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the project. The city also committed $834,000 from its U.S. federal Rescue Plan Act allocation to help POV purchase the building, and Missoula County offered a similar amount.
“This was really made possible by the national effort (by the Department of Veterans Affairs) to move services for homeless veterans from congregate (group) shelters to apartment-type or at least single-occupancy housing,” said said Bonny. “When we heard it was a possibility we decided to apply and were delighted when we received it.”
A bonus to the project is that it will create additional room in the Pov, which had to reduce capacity during the pandemic for security reasons and is often full.
“This will free up space at our current main shelter location, so we hope to be able to serve more customers this way,” Bonny said. “That’s another plus.”
Sen. Jon Tester, chairman of the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, welcomed the purchase in an email to Missoulian.
“The Poverello Center does an incredible job of helping Montana veterans and their families find reliable housing across the state, and that’s why I’m proud to have led the effort in Congress to cut red tape. on funding to help them continue their mission here in Missoula,” the tester said. “This new space will help transform many lives in the area – giving more veterans a safe place to call home. during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
Montana James, deputy director of the city’s community development division, said Mayor John Engen and city council approved federal funding for the project last year as part of the city’s budgeting process. the 2022 financial year.
“We have no role to play other than making sure the project complies with the regulations that come with our funding,” James said.
James confirmed that there is a stipulation with federal funding that requires the Pov to work with existing residents to ensure they can find comparable housing.
“Pov and other community organizations have submitted letters asking for funds, and those are sort of filed in departments where it makes sense,” James said. “The city and county have invested heavily in expanding resources and housing options for homeless residents over the past year, and the city was truly interested in committing ARPA funds to this project.”
James said the project aligns with the city’s larger goal of reducing homelessness.
“We know that our residents without housing and stable housing are among the hardest hit due to the pandemic, and this supports the larger goal we have of providing resources to support those in need of shelter. and support,” James said.