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Kalispell's Samaritan House eyes expansion

Samaritan House
Posted at 5:01 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 19:05:54-04

KALISPELL — A homeless shelter and transitional living program in Kalispell are looking to expand by adding affordable housing for single-income families and displaced veterans.

“It includes 16-to-18, two and three-bedroom apartments. We’re hoping to keep them priced super affordable such that a single-income family can afford it,” Samaritan House Executive Director Chris Krager told MTN News.

Krager said the homeless shelter is looking to expand after recent housing studies and surveys show a major need in the Flathead. “So, the program is directly designed to address gaps in the community."

Under the proposal, single-income apartment units would be built on 2½ acres of property currently owned by the Samaritan House off 2nd street west in Kalispell.

The proposal also includes 10 to 15 housing units dedicated solely for veterans.

“Kalispell is one of the largest cities in Montana with no dedicated veteran housing, so we hope to address that as well,” said Krager.

Krager said the Samaritan House is still at the beginning stage of the process recently conducting a feasibility study and submitting a zone change request to the City of Kalispell.

“I do hold a strongly held belief that people in the Flathead Valley really come out to help people that are in need and we’re looking to create a project that help’s our neighbors that are just houseless, so this would hopefully be a great spot for that,” said Krager.

He says the next step is to receive community feedback on the project before they can move forward.

“So, we’re just making ourselves available to answer questions and work with neighbors and everybody involved,” added Krager.

Krager said the project would cost roughly $9-to-10 million with money raised coming through grants and community fundraising. If the project is approved, construction could start as early as the summer of 2023.

“We’re going to fund it through a mixture of grants, and donations, foundations, when it’s all said and done, I will probably owe everybody 20 push-ups, with gratefulness in my heart, we’re looking to do this project,” said Krager.

Krager said the Samaritan House typically provides shelter for up to 1,300 people a year, serving close to 40,000 meals.

A decision on the proposed zone change request is expected from Kalispell City Council this December.