Go Local donates 3% of each issue’s advertising revenue to a local nonprofit organization. This issue supports the Samaritan House.
The Samaritan House
Q&A with Morgan Winchester, associate director of the Samaritan House
What is the mission statement of Samaritan House?
Our mission is to provide shelter and basic needs for homeless people, while fostering self-respect and human dignity.
What services and programs do you provide?
We provide shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing opportunities for the homeless and vulnerable populations of Flathead Valley. Our clients have access to clothing, food, case management, and community. Our case management team meets with clients in the shelter and transitional housing, creating measurable goals to ensure forward momentum from their current circumstances and increase their success in maintaining income, long-term employment, and permanent housing.
What’s your backstory?
Samaritan House was started in the late 1980s as a temporary shelter with help from the city of Kalispell and a strong group of generous volunteers. In 1998, Samaritan House expanded to add transitional housing and permanent housing. In 2008, Samaritan House added its administrative campus. We are currently working toward constructing additional housing and veteran housing.
How have you seen the need for your services change?
Over the last 10 years, the need has changed drastically. Homelessness has increased in the valley, as well as in Montana and across the nation. We’ve seen an increase in people come through our doors and the need for creating sustainable income and affordable housing, broad goals that aren’t quickly achievable. We are working toward community-wide solutions while also providing services to people who need a safe place to build the foundation to their life back now.
What’s something you’ve learned from your work that you wish more people knew?
Homelessness is not a “one size fits all” label. Every person who walks through our doors has a different story. Whether they lost everything in a house fire, domestic violence forced them to flee, mental health hindered their employment, substance abuse took over their life, or the fact they simply cannot find affordable housing with the current working wages. Our services have to be organic to mold and fit to each person’s circumstances.
What kinds of assistance would help your organization?
As a small non-profit, we are always in need of support, which can take the form of meal donations, gear supplies, monetary support, or volunteering. Please reach out to us directly to see what our current needs are!
How would you ideally like to affect the Flathead Valley?
Our ultimate goal is to be a key part of ending homelessness in Flathead Valley altogether. We are working hard to expand and create affordable housing for families and transitional housing for veterans. We know there is a need for support and shelter in this community and we are striving to meet the demands!
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