HELENA — Family Promise of Greater Helena is expanding its services to Townsend, and Broadwater County, to address challenges faced by families and children at-risk of homelessness.
Family Promise is a non-profit that works to help families and children facing homelessness. That includes help with temporary shelter, food, and other essential services.
They started their homelessness diversion program in Helena in 2021, which is now expanding into Townsend, where Leslie Heisey, Broadwater's Program Administrator for Family Promise.
"The expansion was conceived to help this community... We're not Helena and we're not Bozeman. We're a bedroom community to the both of them. And to get services, for most people, you have to go to Helena," said Heisey.
According to census data, the population of Broadwater County grew by more than 20 percent between 2010 and 2020.
The non-profit says as home prices have risen in Helena and Bozeman more people are seeking housing in Broadwater County and that has created a population vulnerable to rising costs, low wages and limited employment opportunities.
"Being aware that we have families in crisis, families that are on the edge all the time making it difficult. That is important to me. But you don't ever see them. You have to just know about them," said Heisey.
The program's goal is to stabilize families that may be struggling before they become homeless.
"Our objective here is to keep them in their homes so that they don't become homeless because most people are a paycheck short of homelessness. They don't they can't meet the rent, they can't buy the groceries. They have to go find a new job. And we're here to try to stop that cycle," said Heisey
Family Promise's Broadwater County office is at the United Methodist Church in Townsend.
"There was a need, basically," said Heisey, "That's what it was. There was a need. And I really didn't know whether I could fill that need. I'm hoping that I can, you know, but I believe I am."