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Flathead Warming Center preps for a busy winter amid area housing crisis

The Flathead Warming Center in Kalispell is set to open its doors next week for its second season after an extensive remodel. The shelter expects a busy winter season due in part to the Flathead Valley’s housing crisis.

Flathead Warming Center Executive Director Tonya Horn is standing in the shelter’s still unfinished entryway.

“We moved into this last December, into a garage. So this is a vast difference than before.” she says.

Horn says the newly revamped warming center will provide more than just overnight shelter during the winter months. People will have access to showers, secure storage for guests, a mailing address and even medical and dental services.

The shelter is set up to provide space for 40 people.

“We believe that we may see more than 40 with the housing crisis where it is right now,” Horn says.

Horn says the skyrocketing prices of homes in the Flathead Valley have forced people to live in their vehicles or campers without utilities, and her staff are fielding calls daily from people looking for a place to go.

The center will open Wednesday, and Horn expects to well-exceed the 207 individuals it served during its inaugural season last year.

Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.