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New Team Members

Welcome to Our New Team Members!

By | News, News Position 1

This month we have welcomed two new additions to our NWMT family – Kristen Bernard and Logan Smith!

Kristen joins us an Administrative Assistant in our Great Falls office. Kristen has an extensive customer service background and we are excited to have her as part of the NWMT team!

Logan was formerly with NWMT as an AmeriCorps Vista, and she is excited to make her way back to housing. As the Housing Network Assistant, Logan will be working closely with our network of housing counselors and educators across the state.

Please join us in giving them both a warm welcome!

Maureen retirement

Executive Director Transition Underway

By | News, News Position 1

Dear Friends,

What a year 2019 has been. Our organization has seen many changes and a lot of growth. It is exciting to see what Neighbor- Works Montana (NWMT) has become, especially having been part of the committee that created the Montana Homeownership Network (still our legal name) back in the late 1990’s. As many of you may know already, this summer I decided that I needed to step down as Executive Director and retire due to my personal and family situation. This was a wrenching decision for me as I love NeighborWorks Montana and all that it does, the people it serves, the organizations that are part of the network, and especially the employees. However, it is time for new ideas and a fresh outlook. When I came to NWMT in 2008, I was the first full-time staff person and we had about $2 million in assets. At the end of October 2019 assets are at nearly $28 million and there are 17 staff members. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) NWMT can get grants from the Treasury which help leverage other types of investments, all of which has been put to work financing projects and homeownership in Montana. The growth is amazing, and with that growth comes a higher bar for both program outcomes and financial expertise. We have worked to develop both technical and leadership skills of the staff, and they are remarkable!

I was so pleased the Board took swift action and appointed Kaia Peterson as my successor in September. Kaia has been with the organization nearly seven years and has the brains, keen business sense, and most importantly the passion to take the organization where it needs to go in the future. Kaia and I have worked closely together during her tenure, and because of the board’s action we have been able to work on a smooth transition. I have such confidence in Kaia as a leader, for the organization and also for the state and our work nationally. It was clear when we hired her, and she has demonstrated throughout her time with us that she can and will succeed, which means the organization will succeed under her leadership.

I have loved my career in housing. It allowed me to take my finance brain and my bleeding heart and put them together into work that was meaningful. It mattered to me to contribute to the lives of the people we served, and the programs I have worked with have done that. NWMT will always hold a special place in my heart because the programs were developed to fill gaps in what is available through governmental programs and private financial institutions. As I say goodbye to the organization and its work at the end of the year, I leave knowing it is in good hands and will continue to provide valuable services and financial programs for housing in Montana.

I have chosen not to have a retirement party. If you would like to do something, please contribute to NWMT or make an investment in the loan fund! Contributions and investments are the best way to make sure NWMT can continue to grow and help house Montanans in the future.

All the best,

Maureen Rude


2020 Housing Partnership Conference. Save the Date!

By | News, News Position 2

You won’t want to miss the 2020 Montana Housing Conference in Helena! This is the premier conference that brings together everyone from across that state who works with housing, healthcare, community development and revitalization, and human services.

Planning has begun and this year’s conference promises to be packed with opportunities for networking, professional growth, and in-depth discussions. Sessions will include helpful information about housing, homelessness, health and housing, strengthening our communities, and so much more.

Watch for upcoming announcements about conference registration, lodging, and event activities.


Giving Tuesday Project

By | News, News Position 1

Please join us in supporting a very special project at the Missouri Meadows resident owned community (ROC), in Great Falls, Montana. Our goal is to raise $4,000 to create a building where co-op meetings can be held, and community engagement activities can be centered at.

In 2011, Missouri Meadows took the exciting steps to become a ROC, but what does that mean? By working with NeighborWorks Montana through the ROC USA network, the residents of Missouri Meadows were able to purchase the park. This ownership gives the residents housing stability and eliminates the fear of being evicted without cause. Resident-owned communities preserve an important source of unsubsidized affordable housing for working families, seniors and people with low incomes. In most places in Montana, owning a home in such a community is about half as expensive as renting an apartment.

Why is this project important? Part of what makes ROCs so successful is the comradery and sense of belonging that comes with being part of a group. This ROC has had many hurdles to overcome since becoming a co-op, and they have not had a great deal of time to focus on tools that can strengthen the bonds of their community. Having what has been named the “Community Cottage” would provide them a place of their own to hold confidential meetings, enjoy events that bring the residents together, and have secure storage for shared park resources.

This is a great group of folks who value their homes, neighbors, and community. Over the years they have improved their park by adding a community garden, outdoor community bulletin board, and they are currently working to complete a playground and replace their septic system. Now NWMT is working with them to create this space and take steps to ensure the sustainability of their community. With your partnership, we can get them started on this project, and give the residents of Missouri Meadows the tools for a strong neighborhood.

We will be keeping this fundraiser open through December 17, 2019 to give everyone plenty of time to participate.

There are two easy ways to give: OUR WEBSITE OR FACEBOOK

NeighborWorks Montana Receives Grant from HUD for Housing Counseling and Education

By | News, News Position 2

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded NeighborWorks Montana $443,184. NeighborWorks Montana is the only direct HUD grantee in the state of Montana receiving the HUD housing counseling grant and will disburse that money to its partner network of 15 community organizations across the state delivering housing education and counseling services to Montanans.

The HUD housing counseling and education money benefits Montanans who might not otherwise be able to achieve the goal of homeownership. In 2011, at 33 years old, Lori found herself in a situation she never thought she would be in – she was a single mom of three young boys with a significant amount of debt and a lack of hope for her future. She realized she wanted more for herself than living with her kids in a basement apartment. This realization set her on an 8-year journey toward homeownership. Lori got a couple of jobs and did everything she could to make ends meet. It took several years, but she paid off $20,000 of debt, got a 2-bedroom apartment, and continued to save as much as she possibly could. Earlier this year, Lori found herself in a position where she was finally able to start thinking about purchasing a home. Her lender Lynn Stenerson at Stockman Bank recommended the first-time homebuyer class at Homeword. Lori said, “Between my lender Lynn, and Julie Pavlish at Homeword, owning a home became an attainable goal. I suppose I just needed it broken into manageable pieces, and that’s what my homebuyer education class did for me. It’s been 8 years since I started out with less than nothing, and now here I am. I own my own home. For me, buying this house is a very tangible marker of how far I’ve come, and what I am capable of. I think we all need those tangible markers sometimes and a few people to help us along the way.”

Kaia Peterson, NeighborWorks Montana’s Assistant Director said, “As the price of homes in many Montana markets continues to rise, homeownership feels increasingly out of reach. Fortunately, with quality education and counseling, and affordable financing homeownership is actually still within reach for people like Lori and so many others across the state. Housing counseling and education is vital to keeping homeownership accessible, available and attainable for all Montanans, and this funding is critical to sustain that program. We encourage anyone interested in becoming a homeowner to contact one of our housing partners and access all of the great resources available to anyone working toward achieving this goal.”

Learn more about our partner network.

Current Positions Open at NWMT

By | News, News Position 1

NeighborWorks Montana (NWMT) is looking for two new teams members to join our work family! Both positions require someone who is detail-oriented, has excellent customer service skills, and is motivated to help others. When you work for NWMT, you help change lives across our state!

Click here to check out both of these great opportunities! 

Administrative Assistant
This position is located in Great Falls.

Housing Network Assistant
This position is open, preferably in Missoula, but other Montana locations will be considered.


Check Out the Dall Townhomes!

By | News, News Position 3

There are great two homes currently available for purchase in Billings.

Both homes include:

  • 1,120 square feet
  • Zero entry (no steps)
  • Two bedrooms with walk-in master closet
  • Two bathrooms
  • Oversized single car garage
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Patio with small backyard
  • Many energy efficient and durable components
  • Disability accessible and adaptable
  • Developed specifically for first-time homebuyers
  • Sweat equity will help bring down the cost of the home
  • Downpayment and mortgage buydown assistance available for eligible buyers

Take a virtual tour:

Come check these amazing towns homes out, and be sure to ask about available loan programs, as well how the sweat equity works!

Please Mary Lou Affleck with NeighborWorks Montana at 406-670-9100, or by email [email protected]. You can also contact our listing agent, Ryan Auer with Montana Real Estate Brokers, at 406-850-2011 or [email protected].

first home

Congratulations to Matt on Finding His First Home

By | News

NeighborWorks Montana received this great story from Diane Pennell who works at our partner organization, Snowy Mountain Development Corporation in Lewistown. While Matt’s story is not our typical story of “I took the class and wanted to be a homeowner right away,” we felt it was important to share his story to show how quickly life can change. Having already taken the homebuyer education class, Matt was well-informed and prepared for his unexpected change of heart and is now very happy in his new home.

We offer Homebuyer Education to help you be a successful homeowner so you can enjoy your home and community for many years to come. The class includes information such as:


  • Assessing your readiness to buy a home
  • Budgeting and credit
  • Financing a home
  • Maintaining home finances
  • Selecting a home
  • How to maintain your home
  • Financial tips and resources


If you have been thinking about purchasing a home, be sure to visit or call us at 406-604-4540 to learn more and to find a provider in your area.

After taking the First Time Homebuyer Class, Matt felt more confident that he did NOT want to buy a home. “I was averse to complicating my life with the responsibilities of homeownership and I did not see paying rent as a waste of money, I saw it as paying a fair price for a simple and relaxed lifestyle,” stated Matt.  He also assumed that he would buy a run-down house that would need a lot of work and be no more comfortable than his doublewide rental house. “I saw that homes in my price range were selling overnight if they were any good, and it seemed absurd to make such a big decision so quickly, basically on impulse,” added Matt. Admittedly, Matt explains, “Emotion plays a major role in my decision making, but I try to mitigate that with plenty of analysis.”

But all that changed when he heard about a house for sale by owner; in this case, the seller was an acquaintance who offered an opportunity to preview the house before it was listed.  “I had more time to carefully consider the biggest purchase of my life,” explained Matt. And that time along with seeing the home convinced Matt to take the plunge. He purchased the house in June of this year and could not be happier. “My quality of life improved not only overnight, but continues to improve,” added Matt. The payment is hardly more than his rent, and Matt says, “This home is multiple times better than my rental situation thanks to house features including a dishwasher, basement, storage, porches, a big yard with shade trees for my dogs and a better neighborhood.”

“Take the opportunity to prioritize your values in light of what you can afford and give yourself time to find the right house for you,” Matt advises first-time homebuyers. In doing just that, Matt gained not only the physical and financial benefits of homeownership but says Matt, “I now appreciate the intangible benefits of feeling more invested in the community. At first, I didn’t want to give up the carefree feeling of renting, but once I purchased my home and moved in, a new feeling emerged – a feeling of being planted.”

Congratulations to Matt on finding his first home!

Two-Part Series in Missoula: Addressing the Housing Crisis in Missoula

By | News

In the Missoula area? Mark your calendar for this two-part series of free meetings. Hosted by the League of Women Voters and co-sponsored by the Missoula Home Coalition, the meetings will take a deep dive into the question, “How do we finance housing to bring down the cost, and where do we put it?” The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

NeighborWorks Montana Assistant Director, Kaia Peterson, will be speaking at the Part One event on Wednesday, October 30. This first event will take place at the Missoula Public Library from 7-8 PM.

Part Two of the series will be held on Wednesday, November 6, also at the Missoula Public Library from 7-8:30 PM.

For more information, be sure to read

2019 roc summit

Partnering Together for Progress 2019 Montana ROC Summit

By | News

This annual summit is designed to be ongoing training for community leaders, as well as the opportunity to network together. Presentation topics included:

  • Telling Your Story by NWMT staff member, Michelle Rogers
  • Police Partnerships & Community Safety by Crime Prevention Officer, Ethan Smith, of the Missoula Police Department
  • Governance Training by Ned Cooney

Our time together also included a tour of the local resident-owned communities, River Acres and Buena Vista. The two-day event is a great opportunity to hear and see what the communities have been up to and helps promote a sense of family with this statewide program.

We must also thank our amazing sponsors who helped make this event such a great experience!

roc summit sponsors


Be sure to connect with us on to see all the great photos from the event.