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Guest opinion: Montana Rescue Mission needs your help
GUEST OPINION

Guest opinion: Montana Rescue Mission needs your help

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Artist rendering

A rendering shows plans for the Montana Rescue Mission in Billings.

Montana Rescue Mission has been offering hope and housing for the homeless and ending hunger for the hungry in Billings and the larger Eastern Montana region since 1947.

Through the ongoing generosity of our community, we have helped thousands of guests achieve housing and life stability. Many of our former guests now serve as business owners, teachers, nurses, pastors, mothers, fathers and leaders in our community.

These overcomers are giving back by serving as volunteers and board members because of the help they received while in our care. During the holidays, many of us are quick to remember the less fortunate and to direct our charitable donations to help our community. This year will be no exception — with an unprecedented pandemic and the unforeseen consequences this will bring.

In these difficult times, Montana Rescue Mission is stepping forward to answer the community need just as we did in 1947 and every day since. We are pleased to announce a $6 million capital campaign to extensively remodel and update our shelters and to augment our recent $6 million low income housing tax credit award to provide apartments on our downtown campus.

The capital campaign will allow us to design a state of the art space to make homelessness brief, rare and non-reoccurring. This will be accomplished by remodeling our shelter spaces for women, children, families and men to place separate shelters under one roof at our “Granny’s Attic” property on Minnesota Ave. Our campaign will also provide for life changing programs at another building on our campus. This space will house a childcare center for children up to 3 years old, a clinic for physical and mental health needs, a vocational skills training center, a barber shop/hair salon, an exercise facility and a spiritual care hub that includes space for our chaplains and a chapel. By providing all of these services on one Unified Campus, we will be more effective in ensuring our guests find pathways out of homelessness and poverty and into God’s plan for their lives.

This $12 million project is both exciting and overdue. Our current buildings do not offer the room sizes that social distancing requires, elevators for those with mobility issues or private bathrooms, and as a result we find ourselves challenged to serve all the people needing our care. With the new campus, these barriers will be removed, additional dignity will be provided and a more inclusive range of guests will be able to access our services. Combined, both the larger physical space of brick and mortar and the robust programming will effectively allow for guests to move out of homelessness and into a productive role in our community.

I am happy to report that our generous community, along with the tax credit award, has already helped us reach 60% of our total funding goal. $7 million of the $12 million is already raised. We are so thankful for this initial outpouring of support! I am calling on you, my friends and neighbors in Billings to help us reach our goal and raise the final $5 million. I am certain that together we can care for our neighbors who are needy and disconnected to offer a hand up rather than a hand out. Recent capital projects at other local non-profits show us that each of us in Billings cares. I invite you to show you care for the most underserved at this exceptional time of need in our community when more people are unemployed and losing their housing and where shelter numbers are increasing.

Would you please participate in our capital campaign? Please send donations earmarked for the “Unified Campus” to Montana Rescue Mission P.O. Box 3232 Billings MT 59103-3232, or give your gift online at www.montanarescuemission.org today. Together, we can make Billings a home for all of our residents and a place where everyone knows we care for them and where all our residents experience God’s love.

Rev. Matthew Lundgren is executive director of the Montana Rescue Mission.

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