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Grants at Work: West Mont

In Helena, Montana, one nonprofit is giving low-income adults who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity for inclusion and participation in the community, safe and comfortable homes and residential care, meaningful and fulfilling work and the empowerment to make choices for their lives. West Mont has been a staple in Helena for 45 years, originally serving new mothers, and now focusing exclusively on serving those who experience disability.

West Mont runs 14 different facilities in order to serve the wide range of client needs, from a flower shop to provide employment opportunities, to residential homes, to respite care. As time went on, West Mont realized that its long-term, medically fragile clients needed specialized care and built the Caldwell House in 2011 to fill this critical need. When the home reached maximum capacity with 11 residents, West Mont decided to build a second home next door to meet the needs of its clients and to help alleviate the statewide waitlist for placement in a facility of this sort. A Murdock Trust grant helped fund the construction of the new home, named Ron’s Place.

Ron’s Place is a home for West Mont’s most medically fragile residents with critical health issues. This home allows them to stay in the comfort of their West Mont family while receiving the 24-hour nursing care and attention they require for their medical needs. Providing an alternative to nursing homes is a valuable service, as West Mont residents who need this type of care are typically not seniors, and many need more individualized and specialized attention than a nursing home would provide. Ron’s Place has individual rooms for six clients, and it features a homey atmosphere, community spaces, indoor recreational, social and therapeutic spaces, assistive equipment to move clients throughout the home, and an outdoor patio.

Without homes like Caldwell House and Ron’s Place, low-income clients would be limited to a state institution, which could not provide the homey atmosphere or specialized care needed, or to a nursing home, which is not suitable for younger, medically fragile people with unique needs. Most importantly, Ron’s Place allows West Mont clients to stay within their “family,” as most clients who live there have been with West Mont for years, even decades. The impact of Ron’s Place is invaluable, and the Murdock Trust is proud to have had a small part in making this important project a reality.