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Missoula County secures $1.4M for veterans transitional housing

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Poverello Veterans

The Clark Fork Inn on West Broadway has been purchased by the Poverello Center as a home for houseless military veterans.

Missoula County recently secured $1.4 million for the Poverello Center to provide veterans transitional housing.

The new funding comes from a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant through the Montana Department of Commerce and $833,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Missoula County’s contribution joins $834,000 in ARPA funding committed by the city of Missoula and $1 million from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The commissioners and the Poverello Center are committed to serving Missoula’s most vulnerable populations,” said county grants administrator Sindie Kennedy in a press release. “The stars aligned, allowing the opportunity to apply for the Community Development Block Grant and leverage American Rescue Plan Act funding.”

The Poverello Center’s Housing Montana Heroes veterans transitional housing program is estimated to cost a total of $4.8 million. The Pov hopes to raise the remaining funds through other grants and charitable donations.    

The $4.8 million encompasses property acquisition, rehousing current residents of that property and rehabilitating the space to serve local veterans.

The Poverello Center bought the Clark Fork Inn motel on West Broadway in December 2021 for $1.57 million.

Under the Uniform Relocation Act, the Pov is required to relocate the residents living in the motel’s 17 units, including providing for moving costs and three years of rent.

“It sounds like a lot, but it’s good,” said Kennedy.

If a private entity purchased the motel, she explained, there would be no obligation to cover moving or housing expenses for the people living at the Clark Fork Inn.

“Those folks would have no recourse,” Kennedy said.

Before any of the Pov’s 20 resident veterans can move into the non-congregate transitional housing, the space needs to be rehabilitated, checked for environmental concerns like asbestos and lead paint and reconstructed to add three additional rooms to the facility.

The next step for the Pov is to find an architect and determine the exact costs of the construction work.

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