BILLINGS — The Montana Rescue Mission broke ground on its new Unified Campus Tuesday, which has the primary goal of ending homelessness in Billings.
After two years of hard work, rescue mission board members, partners and community members gathered at the new location as plans became a reality.
“This is really unique for Montana. This, a campus approach with everything under one roof,” said Montana Rescue Mission Executive Director Matt Lundgren on Tuesday.
The new location will be located on the same block as the existing Montana Rescue Mission building on First Avenue South. Once the Unified Campus is finished, Lundgren says people will no longer have to go all over town to receive the help they may need.
“So literally people can go from on the street in addiction and brokenness, to our program in healing and then on to living in their own place,” he said.
The campus will include an emergency shelter, a long-term program for recovery and 29 affordable apartments.
“There’s a huge need for affordable housing in this town. Safe, secure housing at a price that people can afford,” said President and CEO of Mountain Plains Equity Group Don Sterhan.
Once finished, those using the campus will also have access to healthcare, counseling and job training opportunities.
“We’ll have an automotive trade center, welding trade center, woodworking trade center, culinary trade center, clerical trade center and retail trade center. All on this one campus under one roof,” said Lundgren.
The existing rescue mission building will also be renovated as a part of the Unified Campus project. The goal is to finish work in December 2023— a big task to complete in 16 months, but one that Lundgren says could change Billings.
“Homelessness is exploding. What we want to do is make it virtually nonexistent here in Billings,” said Lundgren.