MISSOULA — The Missoula City Council approved the purchase of the Sleepy Inn Motel for $1.1 million late Monday evening on a 9-to-3 vote.
The facility will act as an emergency non-congregant shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Located on the corner of West Broadway and Russell Street, the Sleepy Inn will offer shelter for a number of populations needing to quarantine, including the homeless, those unable to isolate at home, and those over 65 with underlying conditions.
The motel will be purchased using tax increment finance dollars, and FEMA will cover 75% of the costs to operate, clean and maintain the facility.
During the virtual city council meeting, Missoula City-County Department Health Officer Ellen Leahy expressed what she called “an essential need” to obtain the property for quarantine purposes.
"I need to tell you that we need it now. I recognize that we have work to do if you purchase this location, but quarantine and isolation is absolutely essential for controlling this pandemic."
While proponents of the purchase were met with backlash from individuals during the public comment period,Leahyassures the community that this facility will be critical even as the city gradually begins to open back up.