In 2019, Providence St. Patrick Hospital partnered with Missoula Interfaith Collaborative in its work to shelter families experiencing homelessness and to improve our community’s response to families during a housing crisis. About fifty families in our community are homeless at any given time, including 110 children.
Missoula Interfaith Collaborative’s mission to empower congregations and community organizations to work together, leveraging strengths to address community challenges aligns with the value Providence places in community partnerships. Family Promise, a program of Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, shelters families in local churches.
“While in Family Promise, families take steps to work toward stable housing with support from volunteers and staff who assist in navigating barriers the families may face,” explains Emma Flanagan, Family Promise coordinator. Barriers can include employment, housing, childcare and transportation. Teams of volunteers provide meals and stay with the families as “overnight hosts,” which rotate among churches on a weekly basis.
Last fall, Providence St. Patrick Hospital caregivers and their families volunteered with the Family Promise program by providing meals, overnight hosting, cleaning the church and moving equipment and supplies at the end of the week.
Corrie Rogers, a medication assistance coordinator, along with her husband and two children, prepared a full lasagna meal and dined with the families.
“When we signed up to host dinner, we had no idea what to expect,” Corrie reports. “We found the experience to be very valuable for our whole family, particularly our kids. Sharing dinner with the residents was a great way to break down barriers and enjoy the time together.”
Kristal Lemke, who works in lab support services, organized a group of lab support caregivers and their families to make hearty homemade soups, and spent the evening chatting with the other families and playing cards.
Leanna Ross, clinical education coordinator, and her son, Cash, volunteered for overnight hosting and enjoyed pumpkin carving after dinner one evening.
Beyond the significant investment of time by caregivers to provide meals and stay with these vulnerable families, Providence St. Patrick Hospital is proud to contribute to the new single-site emergency family housing and domestic violence shelter that Missoula Interfaith Collaborative and YWCA of Missoula have partnered to build. The Meadowlark, an initiative of YWCA of Missoula partnering with Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, will provide a home-base for up to 31 families, as well as up to 13 domestic violence survivors and their children.
Joyce Dombrouski, chief executive for Providence Montana, explains why these issues are priorities: “Family homelessness is a complex issue, and it will take our whole community working toward solutions. Providence is proud to partner with Missoula Interfaith Collaborative and YWCA of Missoula in serving and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
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