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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 Tanya 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.”

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 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.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.