Missoulian: Missoula Housing Authority gets federal money for veterans

by David Erickson

The Missoula Housing Authority has been awarded $158,911 to create housing vouchers for roughly 20 homeless veterans and their families.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Missoula Housing Authority is thankful for this award of HUD-VASH vouchers that allows us to seamlessly complete our conversion of our long-standing Valor House project from transitional housing to permanent housing for homeless veterans,” said Jim McGrath, Director of HUD Programs, Missoula Housing Authority. “We have seen for some time that the most effective solution to veteran homelessness is permanent housing, and it is what MHA does best. We are all very excited to dedicate Valor House as a permanent resource for homeless veterans, and to continue and strengthen our partnership with the VA.”

Since 2005, the Missoula Housing Authority has operated Valor House, Montana’s first transitional apartments for homeless veterans, in partnership with the Veterans Administration and the Poverello Center.

According to McGrath, Valor House’s goals are to “help homeless veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and/or income, and obtain greater self-determination.”

Program participants live at Valor House for up to 2 years while accessing supportive services addressing the issues that led to homelessness, with the goal of transitioning into sustainable permanent housing.

Because the Poverello Center is building a new complex for its Housing Montana Heroes program, the Missoula Housing Authority can return the Valor House to permanent housing instead of transitional housing.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., touted the Building Solutions for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021, which allowed the Missoula Housing Authority to convert the Valor House from temporary housing to permanent housing.

“Ensuring Montanans’ access to housing is one of the most pressing issues facing our state, and it is particularly important when it comes to our veterans and their families who are facing homelessness,” said Tester, who is chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “That’s why I fought to cut bureaucratic red tape and secure these resources to make sure veterans and their families can find and keep permanent, safe housing in the Missoula area, and I’ll keep working to improve all Montanans’ access to affordable housing.”