Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley has closed on two new properties to expand its Transitional Housing program. A new six-plex is being funded through grants from the Gianforte Family Foundation and Fortin Family Foundation, and community donations. Family Promise also closed on the purchase of an adjacent duplex. Together, the two properties will triple the nonprofit’s transitional housing capacity, from four to 12 units. The expansion was made possible through the organization’s capital campaign that ended July 31, raising a total of $1.2 million.

According to Lisa Donnot, executive director of the organization, the new properties are ideally located in the Grand Avenue corridor. “The properties are near our current transitional housing on Avenue C, close to schools, services, grocery stores, and the bus line,” she says.

Donnot says that more than 600 Billings children face homelessness each year and that the problem is growing. “In the last year, we’ve been contacted by twice as many people as in the past. Approximately 60 percent are families in need of housing due to sales of their homes.” Rising home prices in Billings have led to increases in rent, Donnot explains. “Once a house is sold, the tenants are often unable to find housing at an affordable rate.”

Gianforte Family Foundation Executive Director Catherine Koenen adds, “A lack of adequate, affordable housing puts our most vulnerable children and families at even greater risk. We’re pleased to help Family Promise expand its capacity to safely shelter more Billings-area residents and provide the tools they need to succeed in raising their families.”

Family Promise helps homeless families through emergency shelter, food, and essential services, including a diaper bank, furniture, and motor vehicle donations. The organization’s case managers work closely with families to ensure they can live independently and successfully, through hard work, goal setting, budgeting, and sound decision making.

More than 90 percent of families served by Family Promise attain long-term independence from homelessness, Donnot says. “Our case managers assess what barriers the families need to overcome in order to be successful,” Donnot says. “People in crisis likely have other challenges apart from housing, such as credit issues. Our goal is to help them achieve sustainable independence.”

Donnot says that Family Promise welcomes both volunteers and donors. “We need about 1,400 volunteers a year to keep our program going, so we are always looking for people to help.” For more information or to donate time or money to Family Promise, contact Donnot at or 406-294-7432.


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