Seeing the Need in Our Community

Our vision for the Flathead Warming Center is to provide a warm, safe, low barrier facility.

You don’t have to go very far in our beautiful valley to see the need around us and those working on the front line in our community speak to that growing need.  We have listened to several different offices within KRMC, to including the emergency room. We have met with the Kalispell Police Chief, and the Flathead Sheriff. We have heard from the social worker with the Public Defender’s Office. We have listened to Western Montana Mental Health Services and Sunburst Community Services Foundation, Feed The Flathead, The Salvation Army, and others. Those working with individuals in crisis within our community state clearly, with first hand knowledge… There are individuals within our community that do not have shelter; sleeping in their vehicle, in the lobby of the Kalispell Police Station, or even outside throughout the winter. Reported barriers for individuals and families in our community who need access to shelter include: lack of availability, the need for an ID, limited facility check-in times, mandatory interviews, no return lists, treasured animals, mandatory sobriety/ chemical dependency, criminal background histories, and acute symptoms of mental illness. To those on the front line taking care of our neighbors without homes, we say, Thank you! We are listening and we will continue to listen.

Safety Requires Great Responsibility
Safety is Priority.  It is a good thing to have the heart and desire to help our neighbors without homes, but to do so safely requires great responsibility. Equally important to a warm shelter is a safe shelter! The Flathead Warming Center is a well thought out project. Tonya Horn is a social worker in our community, working with individuals who suffer from severe and disabling mental illness. Through her experience in directing the Bozeman Warming Center, Tonya has the knowledge and experience to open and maintain a safe low barrier shelter. She not only knows how to do it, she knows how to do it right! We have policies and procedures that safeguard staff, volunteers, the guests, and the facility. We have clear behavior expectations and standards that lead to consequences. It is a person’s behavior that determines their stay.  As individuals are treated with respect and a culture of dignity and community is built inside the center, there grows a sense of responsibility and accountability. While the Flathead Warming Center is low barrier, we have high standards for staff and volunteers, as well as high standards in safety procedures. Safety is priority!
Not just a word but a culture

We are purposeful in protecting dignity. Dignity is a driving force behind the development of all services.  Policies and procedures are designed to safeguard guests, volunteers, staff, and the facility; created with our standard of dignity. We do not just treat individuals with dignity, we allow everyone to hold their own dignity.

As we move beyond “welfare” to COMMUNITY inside the Warming Center, Dignity is preserved.  Dignity is the first step for a safe shelter.

Dignity is the first step in building community inside our center. 

Dignity… not just a word in the Flathead Warming Center, but a culture. We value our culture of Dignity in the Flathead Warming Center!