(Missoula Current) A Missoula housing program headed by the YWCA received a $2.5 million grant to help house families under the organization's Housing Program.

The grant, awarded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, represents the Day 1 Families Fund, which focuses on top organizations that help families move from unsheltered and homeless conditions to permanent housing.

“The recent affordable housing crisis in Montana has led to a significant rise in family homelessness, and so this generous grant comes at the perfect time to help us meet the urgent need in our community,” Cindy Weese, executive director of YWCA Missoula, said in a statement announcing the award.

Weese said the one-time grant will help the YWCA Missoula’s Housing Program in its work to support families struggling against rising rents and insufficient incomes.

The YWCA will use the funding to help children, families and expectant mothers who are experiencing homelessness find safe and stable housing, and support them with resources and care tailored to their individual needs.

That includes mental health care, substance use treatment, legal aid and support for survivors of domestic violence.

“The flexibility of this grant will allow us to find creative solutions to the challenges faced by the families and individuals in our care, including a large number of children, for whom we will be able to help process the trauma of homelessness and find opportunities for a better future,” Weese said.

Over the past five years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 170 grants totaling more than $520 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability.

This year, the Bezo's fund awarded $123 million to several dozen organizations. YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs was selected by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision.

For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.