Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Montana Department of Commerce has issued grants totaling nearly $5 million for nonprofit organizations to support homeless shelters with new construction, capital improvements, and shelter space acquisition for Montanans who are experiencing homelessness.

KGVO News spoke with Cheryl Cohen, Montana Housing Division Administrator with the Montana Department of Commerce about the grant awards.

Missoula and other Montana Communities Received Grants to Help Shelters

“In Montana House Bill 5 that was passed in the last legislative session and signed by Governor Gianforte included nearly $5 million for emergency shelter facility grants to support nonprofits and providing emergency shelter or warming centers to our unhoused neighbors,” began Cohen. “This was really a unique opportunity with a one time source of funds, and our team worked really quickly to get good all the logistics in place for the bureaucracy so we could open up for applications.”

Cohen said these competitive grants were sought by several community organizations throughout the state.

There were 11 Applications and 3 of the grants went to Missoula

“We received 11 applications from seven communities that totaled just shy of $6 million and requests,” she said. “The announcement that came out this morning revealed the awardees for those funds and we were able to give out nearly all of that $5 million save for a tiny amount we had to use for legal administrative rules. We wanted to get these monies out into communities where they can be best used.”

Cohen was asked specifically about the awardees in Missoula.

The Poverello Center and Johnson Street Shelters Received Funding

“The Missoula area received three separate awards,” she said. Montana Mountain Home received almost $370,000 for rehabilitation and expansion of their mountain home site hillside property,” she said. The Poverello Center’s award was to include funds for both the Broadway Street (Poverello Center) and the Johnson Street Shelter to provide accessibility and safety improvements for both of those sites. In addition, the YWCA Missoula received about $91,000 for the rehabilitation of their Missoula family housing centers.”

Other communities receiving funding include Billings, Butte, Bozeman, Kalispell and Hamilton.

The funding is through the Commerce Department’s Emergency Shelter Facility Grant Program.

Inside Look at the New TSOS Shelters

The Temporary Safe Outdoor Space new hard-sided shelter facility officially opened on Thursday, January 5. The TSOS is just off West Broadway near the new Trinity affordable housing complex.

Gallery Credit: Nick Chrestenson

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