The New Poverello Center, One of the State’s Largest Homeless Shelters, Weeks Away From Opening
It's been six years in the making and with the past three years spent raising money, finding a location, and working hard on design plans, the Poverello Center in Missoula is about 6 to 7 weeks away from opening.
Executive Director of the Poverello Center Eran Fowler Pehan told NBC Montana that the nearly 21,000 square foot homeless shelter has a lot more space than the Pov's current building on Ryman Street.
"It's humbling for our staff, and our board, and those who access our services," Fowler Pehan said. "Right now, we have up to 40 people sleeping on the floor every night because we simply don't have bed space for them and so in our new building, everyone will have access to sleep on a bed, we also have increased space for programming like GED support, vocational training, job search that we don't have now, things like a computer lab to help people build resumes."
Fowler Pehan said it was designed to meet the growing number of those in need.
"We do hope that more people will come off the streets who were reluctant to stay in our prior facility due to the state of the facility," Fowler Pehan said. "People are milling about on the street and in the ally way and that's simply because they have no place to congregate."
In addition to all of the extra space, NBC Montana said the building will have energy efficient components and a dishwasher. The current center doesn't have one. Fowler Pehan said they serve food up to 100 people per day.
The new Poverello Center will open sometime in mid-December. The total project cost $4.7 million, funded primarily through private donations, state and federal grants.