An affordable housing project set for completion next summer will include wrap-around services for those in need and, when it opens, All Nations Health Service will provide the care.
Members of the Missoula City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved an agreement with the organization to work with the city as partners in designing and staffing the Trinity Navigation Center.
City housing officials said they selected All Nations after a wide search, saying it provided the best fit for Missoula and its goals for the navigation center and its homeless efforts.
Sky McGinty, executive director of All Nations, said the organization has grown over the last 50 years to serve a diverse inter-tribal population that includes all eight tribal nations in Montana, along with nearly 60 other tribal nations across the U.S., particularly those in the Pacific Northwest.
All Nations began by providing a suite of behavioral health services to Missoula patients, primarily focused on outpatient chemical dependency and substance abuse services. McGinty said that was largely tied to the funding it was receiving at the time.
Now, behavioral health services remain at the organization’s core, and its psychotherapy sessions are highly utilized. It currently serves more than 2,000 registered clients in Missoula and Ravalli counties and offers primary care as well.
McGinty said the center’s care blends indigenous knowledge and Western medicine to address “whole-person health” including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
“We really try to wrap all our comprehensive services under that lens, under this trauma-informed lens of resilience,” said McGinty. “Whoever that person is that comes through our door, Native or non-Native, they come in with a host of different personal and cultural and inter-generational traumas we want to help them heal from.”
As of 2018, All Nation’s brought in an indigenous medical team that performs everything from newborn to elderly care. They recently added dental and continue to offer cultural classes as well, McGinty said.
With its approach to medicine and culture, she believes the center will be a good fit to run the Trinity Navigation Center.
“We try to do a number of different things. Whether that’s berry- and root-harvesting field trips, regalia making or moccasin making, we’re really just trying to tap into that cultural connectivity,” she said. “We try to be holistic as a one-stop-shop for all our customers.”
Currently, around 70% of All Nation’s patient population is Native and 30% is non-Native. On the indigenous side, Blackfeet represent 44% of the clients followed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes at 13% and Chippewa Cree at 8%.
The culturally based care stands as the organization’s most attractive product, McGinty said.
“It really is at the core of all our service delivery,” she said. “We get feedback from our Native and non-Native patients. We have a blend of traditional indigenous knowledge with Western medicine you can’t access anywhere else in Missoula.”
The Trinity project includes 200 affordable housing units at two different sites, with around 130 of them located at Mullan Road and West Broadway. That building will also include the on-site navigation center, where the All Nations Health Service will provide a number of intensive services.
Housing experts believe the navigation center will likely serve a disproportionate number of Native individuals when it opens, though it will be open to all who qualify for care.
City Council member Heidi West said more details will emerge down the road, including a potential request for funding.
“It will obviously take funding to operate this center,” West said.