Missoula to Get New Center for the Homeless

[Photo: Groundbreaking for the new Joseph Residence]
Groundbreaking for the new Joseph Residence

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Joseph Residence recently took place in Missoula, Montana. The new Joseph Residence will replace the existing Joseph Residence Center and is just off Reserve Street and behind the Sterling Savings Bank.

There was always a long waiting list to get into the Joseph Residence Center, a temporary shelter for families that once served as a nursing home. The Center always seemed to be full, but conditions were not ideal. Eight families had to share the same living quarters with limited kitchen and shower facilities. Joel Bischof, Director of the Poverello Center that operates Joseph Residence, spoke proudly at the groundbreaking about the opportunity to "build something so much better".

The Missoula Housing Authority (MHA) is donating land that they purchased in 1996 for the new facility. MHA will also assign 16 Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers to the residents of the development. The vouchers will allow persons with little or no income to live in the Center, as well as help pay the operational and maintenance costs.

The new facility will feature eight two-story duplexes, housing 16 families. The ground-floor apartments will be handicap accessible. The units will have basic furnishings along with washer-dryers, dishwashers, microwaves and full kitchens. Families will now have more privacy, and access to a 2,000 square foot Community Center that will provide job counseling, training, parenting classes and after-school activities for kids. The Center will also include a computer classroom, administrative offices for the Poverello Center, a large meeting/event room that can be subdivided into three classrooms, a nurse's station, a full community kitchen and a daycare.

Staying at Joseph Residence will be limited to two years. Although there is no typical situation, some residents will stay for several weeks or several months, others will be there full term. It is hoped that when residents leave, many will be eligible for a voucher from the Missoula Housing Authority, enabling them to move into other rental units of their choosing, or maybe even purchase a home.

Applications are now being taken. The New Joseph Residence will be completed around February 1, 2006. For more information, contact Joel Bischof at (406) 728-1809.


Content Archived: April 12, 2011