by Travis Mateer
This post will be a quickie and is being put up late because I had to watch the Chiefs break my kids heart.
Anyway, I wanted to highlight two organizations that recently panhandled the Missoula community, then contrast those incidents of panhandling with examples of doing other money-related things.
Lets begin with my former employer, the Poverello Center. Last November the Pov needed money for the winter shelter, then MORE money to incentivize employees to actually work there.
Calling it an investment in Missoula, members of the City Council this week agreed to provide another $125,000 in financial incentives to help the emergency winter shelter recruit and retain workers.
With the added contribution, the city has now paid $436,000 to the Poverello Center to open and operate the winter shelter on Johnson Street. It represents roughly half of the shelter’s $866,000 seasonal cost.
Two months later, the Pov is buying a motel for $1.5 million.
The state’s largest homeless shelter just got larger. Missoula’s Poverello Center bought the Clark Fork Inn last December. It is about a half block east of the shelter on Broadway.
We’re told the 17 units will be used for transitional housing for veterans. The program is called Housing Montana Heroes.
The $1.5 million purchase price is paid for by taxpayer dollars. Here’s the breakdown: the national Veterans Administration provided a $1 million grant, and both the city and county committed over $800,000 of COVID-19 relief funds.
Cool! And also nice that this expansion probably won’t require additional staff and therefore additional financial incentives.
The other organization I’d like to highlight is one of my favorites, and that’s the United Way.
When United Way get grants–like the money from the housing trust fund and federal dollars from the Project Safe Neighborhood program, you’d think that would mean the Executive Director wouldn’t have to go to the media to panhandle for blankets, but that is exactly what Susan Patrick apparently had to do at the end of last year.
“Currently, the 20 individuals staying at the TSOS are really struggling to keep warm in their tents,” said United Way CEO Susan Hay Patrick. “We’re hoping that generous Missoulians may have blankets they’re not using that they would donate, or that folks would consider buying blankets for their unhoused neighbors.”
All this money and then institutions asking for more money and resources makes me wonder if generosity in this town is an inexhaustible resource.
Thanks for reading!