I would like to update you regarding the flooding repairs here at the Poverello Center. As a reminder, in early May we suffered a catastrophic sewage flood that impacted our kitchen and shut down our men’s dorm. After we thought we had addressed the cause of the first flood and were about to reopen our men’s dorm, we suffered a second flood at the end of June, after a month of repair work. This second flood undid much of the repairs we had made to the men’s dorm, forcing the dorm to remain closed.
The good news is that because of procedures put in place after the first flood, and the quick actions of our staff, the impact of the second flood on the kitchen was much more limited and we were able to re-open the kitchen to normal use within days after the flood. The bad news is that the investigation of the cause of the flooding, which we conducted after the first flood, did not reveal all the issues facing our plumbing system.
We, the Poverello Center board and management, are currently taking our time and working at a deliberate pace with multiple engineering firms and plumbing contractors to identify deficits in our plumbing system so that we may address those deficits. What we have learned so far is that there are some aspects of the plumbing system that, although they are up to building codes, are subjected to an amount and type of use it is unable to handle.
Until we have a comprehensive fix to the plumbing issue, we are delaying any further repairs to the men’s dorm. We do not want to repeat the mistake of making a bunch of repairs to ceilings and walls to then see those repairs undone by another flood.
Currently, the Poverello Center can use all areas of our building, excluding the men’s dorm. This means we can house our normal capacity of 150 guests in our main building at this time. Our kitchen is also fully functional, aside from some limits to our storage capacity. We can continue to feed the 400 to 600 meals a day we provide people experiencing food insecurity in our community. Space is tight here at the Poverello Center, however; our clients and staff are creative and resilient, working together to make sure we fulfill our mission of providing food, shelter, help and hope to Missoulians in need.
The trust of our supporters and the wider community is incredibly important to us and critical to our future success. Together, our board and management team will take their time to work to fix our plumbing system, ensuring we get it right this time. As we do so, we will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
In closing, I just want to take a minute to thank the whole Missoula community for your outpouring of support over these incredibly hard two and a half months. The most common question I hear when out in the community is “How can I help?” The Poverello Center is only able to do the work we do because of this support. Thank you Missoula!
Amy Allison Thompson, LCSW