MISSOULA - Three months after signing a contract to buy the Clark Fork Inn for its Housing Montana Heros program, the Poverello Center is now hoping to land a state grant to help fund the effort.
Missoula County last week signed off on a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant application to the Montana Department of Commerce. The funding would assist the Veteran Housing Program at the Poverllo, which carries a $4.2 million price tag.
The funding includes the Poverello’s $1.5 million purchase of the Clark Fork Inn on West Broadway.
“It will rehabilitate and construct new apartments for the Housing Montana Heros program,” said Sindie Kennedy, a grants administrator with the county. “It will serve as non-congregant transitional housing for veterans experiencing homelessness.”
The Clark Fork Inn has provided low-cost housing to residents for many years, and it’s often full. The Poverello signed a contract last December to buy the property and will move its transitional housing program for veterans into the facility after renovations.
The transitional housing program is currently located within the Poverello shelter. But it’s tight and changes within the VA have necessitated the move.
“They (Poverello) currently have funding from the VA to support 20 vets in their congregant shelter,” said Kennedy. “But the VA has asked the Poverello and any facility that has this program to transition to non-congregant living. They have to continue to support 20 vets, because that’s what they’re funded by the VA to support.”
If approved by the state, the $600,000 grant would be added to other funding sources to pay for the program and its shift to the Clark Fork Inn. The VA provided a $1 million capital grant to the effort, and the city committed more than $800,000 in funding from its share of the American Rescue Plan.
The county provided a similar amount.
“A congregate setting is difficult for anyone, but it’s extremely difficult for veterans to interact with 100 people in a building,” said Jill Bonny, the shelter’s executive director. “Being able to be in a quieter setting is really helpful for them.”