Missoula’s Poverello Center has received additional grant monies to support the development of the former Clark Fork Inn into transitional housing for homeless Missoula area veterans.

KGVO News got the numbers from Grants Administrator Sindie Kennedy on Wednesday.

“The Poverello Center purchased the Clark Fork Inn when it went on the market last year in 2021 and they purchased it with the plans of converting it to veterans transitional housing for their ‘Housing Montana Heroes’ program,” began Kennedy.

Grants totaling over $1.4 million have been approved for the project.

“That million dollars started the process of applying for additional funding,” she said. “Missoula County was also supporting the project with $833,000 that was originally American Rescue Plan Act funding, and then we applied to the state of Montana for community development block grant funding for another $600,000. I know the city has also contributed some funds for that project.”

There are currently people housed in the Clark Fork Inn who will eventually be displaced for the new veterans transitional housing, however, because federal monies are involved, there is a major caveat.

“Because there are federal funds in this project, we're required by federal law to re-house the folks that are living there currently for up to three years,” she said. “Otherwise, if a private entity would have purchased that property and decided they didn't want the tenants there anymore, those tenants would have been on their own trying to find housing in this really challenging market.”

Now, the county itself will also be attempting to find housing in this very challenging rental market.

Kennedy said once that goal has been achieved and the new veterans’ transitional housing has been built, each tenant at the Clark Fork Inn will pay a very low subsidized rent for up to two years.

“It's transitional housing, so what that means is that the client can live there for up to 24 months,” she said. “However, within that 24 months, they will be receiving a lot of case management, a lot of support, and we will be getting them into permanent housing. So that concept of transitional housing is the idea of providing that support to help folks get into permanent housing.”

The overall project is estimated to cost nearly $4.8 million, and the Poverello Center is working to raise the remaining funds through other grants and charitable donations.

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