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The Gallatin City-County Health Department is working with the Human Resource Development Council to use a former hotel on Wheat Drive to house those who need to isolate or quarantine due to the coronavirus but don’t have a place to do so.

The Gallatin County Commission unanimously approved the partnership at a meeting on Tuesday.

The county has received money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reserve 10 rooms per day in the former hotel.

The rooms will be used for those who have COVID-19 symptoms and are awaiting test results, those who have tested positive and those who may have been exposed to the virus but are not able to quarantine or isolate at home.

Since Gallatin County’s first COVID-19 case in March, the health department has provided hotel rooms on a case-by-case basis, but the HRDC facility is a more dependable option, said health department accountant Keith Wilson.

In recent weeks, HRDC has been using the former hotel to provide housing for those who are older than 65 or who have preexisting health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 in compliance with the state’s reopening plan, which says that those groups must continue to stay home.

Now, some rooms will be set aside for those who need space to isolate or quarantine.

“It’s a public health concern when there are people in the community who don’t have a clean, safe place to stay,” said HRDC CEO and president Heather Grenier.

HRDC also plans to use the former hotel as an overflow location for its winter emergency shelter, which typically opens in November.

Initially, HRDC had planned to use another Wheat Drive building as its sole shelter this winter, but with the virus, it is likely more space will be needed to facilitate social distancing.

“Having both locations will allow us to be flexible as we respond to the needs of our community during this time,” Grenier said.

Before it can be used as an emergency shelter, the Wheat Drive building needs repairs. In April, the Bozeman City Commission gave HRDC $300,000 to help pay for improvements, including adding bathrooms and a fire suppression system.

The building will replace the existing Warming Center on Industrial Drive and will likely only be used for a few years while HRDC works to construct the city’s first year-round shelter.

On Tuesday, HRDC announced it has received a $500,000 donation from commonFont, a Bozeman-based technology services company, to develop the year-round shelter and provide space for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Fork & Spoon and the House First Village, a tiny house community for the chronically homeless.

“We’re not able to respond to our community’s needs with our current facilities,” Grenier said. “This change is about doing better for our community.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.