KALISPELL - The Flathead Warming Center is a low barrier access homeless shelter in Kalispell providing a warm safe place to sleep during the coldest months of the year.
The new warming center building at 889 North Meridian Road officially opens its door to those in need Wednesday night.
“It’s absolutely been incredible, and it speaks to the compassion of the Flathead Community,” Flathead Warming Center Executive Director Tonya Horn told MTN News.
Horn said the center raised more than $750,000 in just over four months to open the new permanent building.
“When we bring people inside to warmth and safety it makes the whole community safer, and it makes the whole community stronger and so we’re so grateful to our community that has really supported this,” said Horn.
The new shelter can sleep up to 40 residents per night, more than doubling the capacity of temporary shelters used in the past. Horn said the new building offers a variety of resources to help those in need.
“Showers, laundry, mail service, refrigerator space, but we’re also able to offer wrap-around services to help the overall individual, we’re making serious plans for a medical and dental clinic on site, and haircuts onsite as well,” added Horn.
Horn said a displaced individual can stay at the new warming shelter as long as they need if they follow common decency and kindness protocols.
“So, if an individual comes in and meets the expectations that’s put in front of them, they can stay every single night through the wintertime, and we want to provide that because people need shelter in order to move out of homelessness." - Flathead Warming Center Executive Director Tonya Horn
Horn said the new shelter comes at an important time in the Flathead as the rate of homelessness continues to rise.
“We’re seeing more families, we’re seeing more of the working that are homeless and struggling with homelessness, absolutely we’ve had an increase in homelessness,” added Horn.
She said close to 100 volunteers have already signed up to take on shifts at the warming shelter during the cold winter months.
“I think that this effort here speaks to who we are as a community and that we take care of each other in the Flathead,” said Horn.