Missoula Community Comes Together to Help Poverello Center Recover from Floods

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Missoula Community Comes Together to Help Poverello Center Recover from Floods

Press Contact: Jesse Jaeger, 406-207-3372, jjaeger@thepoverellocenter.org

Missoula, MT –  The Poverello Center will be re-opening their men’s dorm by Friday, September 13th after being closed for 4 months due to damage caused by two sewage floods. The Poverello Center’s men’s dorm has been closed since May 8th as they have worked to recover from two separate sewage floods and make improvements to the plumbing system to prevent future floods.

“It has been a challenging summer here at the Poverello Center,” says Amy Allison Thompson, Poverello Center Executive Director. “Not having access to 56 sleeping spaces has meant we have had to be creative about how to continue to serve all our guests and space has been really tight. But I am really proud of how resilient our staff and guests have been as we have worked through this difficult situation.”

Over the summer the Poverello Center management and board worked with individuals and companies who were involved with the original building construction, as well as many other engineering and plumbing companies to identify what caused the flood and make improvements to the plumbing system to prevent future floods.

What was found is that, even though the plumbing was up to code, parts of the plumbing system could not keep up with the amount and type of use the building experiences. The Poverello Center’s building opened almost 5 years ago with 120 beds, as well as several other spaces in the building that could be used for overflow. Now the Poverello Center regularly sleeps 150 people during warm weather months and 175 when it is cold.

“Our building was built with a certain amount of growth in the homeless population in mind,” continues Allison Thompson. “But in recent years that growth has exploded well beyond what anyone who was involved with developing this building expected. This was especially true after 2016 when cuts were made to case management services across Montana. Suddenly we had people who were stably housed with case management services coming through our door because they could not maintain housing.”

The total cost to repair damages caused by the flood and make improvements to the plumbing system was $240,000. Improvements included increasing the size of some sewer lines, replacing all 90 degree turns in the plumbing line with 45 degree turns and adding a sewer line back up detection system along with an emergency shut off. $60,000 was paid for by insurance so the Poverello Center needed to raise $180,000 to pay for the rest.

“The Missoula community really rallied to support us,” adds Jesse Jaeger, Director of Development & Advocacy for the Poverello Center. “We received over 100 donations ranging from $10 to $36,000 from all across our community. It is humbling to have so much generosity come our way and it is a testament to how caring our community really is.”

Major donors include the Washington Foundation, Clearwater Credit Union, First Interstate Bank, the United Way, Wells Fargo, St Patrick Providence Hospital, Missoula County, Stockmans Bank as well as several individual donors.