The United Way of Missoula donated $10,000 to the Poverello Center Monday as the homeless shelter struggles to repair damages done by a sewage leak on May 8.
Susan Hay Patrick, United Way’s chief executive officer, said that after she learned that insurance is expected to cover only about $30,000 of the estimated $150,000 in damages, her board decided to dip into an emergency fund to help the nonprofit reopen.
“We have an emergency fund that is replenished annually to $20,000 for capital emergencies at our local health and human services nonprofits,” Hay Patrick said. “It seemed like such an urgent need for our longtime United Way partner, so our decision makers approved the $10,000 grant for the necessary improvements.”
A clog in a plumbing pipe caused sewage to back up, which flooded the Pov’s main floor kitchen, then soaked into the basement ceiling tiles and damaged the men’s main sleeping quarters. A remediation company has replaced the sheetrock on the dorm walls, but it still needs to be replaced on the ceiling.
Contractors also had to disconnect the HVAC and sprinkler systems in the entire basement, leaving those spaces unavailable for the staff and clients. That posed not only sleeping challenges, but also took out the bulk of the men’s bathroom, lockers, showers and laundry facilities.
Typically, 56 men sleep in one basement dorm and another 40 in the downstairs overflow room; the Salvation Army has been able to accommodate about 50 of those clients. Center officials had hoped to allow clients back into the building’s basement sleeping quarters by June 7, but have pushed that back by two weeks.
The kitchen is back to serving three meals a day, but is unable to store many of the food staples because of the ongoing construction work.
Amy Allison Thompson, the Poverello Center’s executive director, told the Missoulian Friday that they’re using every available floor space on the main floor for sleeping, and are accommodating about 140 people each night.
She couldn’t be reached for comment Monday regarding other donations that had come in, but Hay Patrick encourages other organizations in Missoula to consider stepping up to help out.
“Missoula is such a generous community that I know local funders will want to help,” she said.
Financial donations can be made online at www.thepoverellocenter.org/donate or by mail to P.O. Box 7644, Missoula, MT 59807. The center always is in need of toiletries, towels, blankets, soap, shampoo and cleaning supplies; those can be dropped off at the shelter at 1110 W. Broadway St.