Institutional Panhandling While Real Estate Purchasing And Grant Gobbling

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!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to Institutional Panhandling While Real Estate Purchasing And Grant Gobbling

  1. webdoodle says:

    Back in 2008ish that hotel was the single largest domicile listed in the Montana Sex Offender database in Missoula. It always had 20-40 listed sex offenders, the Pov, which at the time was still across from the Missoula Police Department was second. When the then Missoula City Council decided to move the Pov, any attempt to point this out was immediately ignored, even though Lowell Elementary is only a few short blocks away.

    That was back when they re-drew the West Side ward to include Grant Creek, so they could oust the West Side Councilwoman who opposed the plan, Pam Walzer. The Missoula Police Department put the nail in the coffin that election year when they followed Walzer around and eventually arrested her for a DUI. Ironically, this is right after she herself voted to make refusing a DUI blow test grounds for suspending the accused drivers license for a year. However, it didn’t take affect until after her arrest, so she refused and didn’t lose her license. This hypocrisy of course, led to her losing her city council seat to a Grant Creek ass, that didn’t care 2 shits for the West Side. Political hit job or coincidence?

  2. webdoodle says:

    Let me return the thanks. You’re one of the only true journalists in Missoula, home of the University of Montana whose slogan is Lux et veritas (light and truth). The rest of the Missoula MSM are money taking liars who only promote the news they are given money for, and don’t do any actual journalism. Thank you, and keep up the great work!

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