Tester secures funding to provide beds for homeless vets in Missoula

Sen. Jon Tester

The Poverello Center and Missoula Housing Authority will receive funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help homeless veterans find a place to sleep and access services, Sen. Jon Tester said Wednesday.

Tester, a ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, secured funding for five Montana nonprofits in Missoula, Billings, Kalispell and Poplar to provide housing, job training and career services for an additional 63 homeless veterans.

“After putting their lives on the line, Montana veterans have earned every resource to help them get back on their feet,” said Tester. “This grant will provide more veterans with a safe and warm place to call home, as well as guidance and support as they apply for jobs and get the health care they need.”

The grant is part of the VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem program.

Tester said the funding will fund a certain number of beds at each organization, including 17 beds and support services at the Missoula Housing Authority, and 20 beds at the Poverello Center. A veteran staying in one of the beds gains access to housing, counseling and career services.

Tester said the funds will provide organizations with money for 63 beds through September 2018. Over the course of the year, successful veterans will be discharged from the program, allowing new veterans to enter.

That could result in hundreds of veterans being served throughout the year, Tester said.

Since 2012, Tester has helped secure over $6.4 million to improve and expand housing and transitional assistance for Montana veterans.