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Find the Help You Need

By | News, News Position 1

With COVID-19, our communities find themselves in a time of crisis. NeighborWorks Montana and our many statewide partners want you to know that you are not alone. While we may be working remotely, we are still here for you!

We are creating this space to help you access resources that you may find helpful, so please check back often as we continue to add content.

Quick Reference Guide

This document lists NeighborWorks Montana and their housing counselor partners, in addition to statewide and national organizations for services you may be seeking due to our current situation. Please note that emails and website addresses are linked for ease of use.

Be resourceful, reach out when you have questions, have patience, and above all, be kind!

More Resources:

How to Reach Us Right Now

By | News, News Position 3

With much consideration given to the safety of our staff and communities, NeighborWorks Montana offices are currently closed to in-person traffic and our staff is working remotely. Please be assured that our services are still here for you as we will continue to work via phone and web conferencing.

Please feel free to contact at (406) 604-4540 or [email protected] if you have questions or concerns. You can also find direct contact information for staff by visiting https://www.nwmt.org/meet-our-staff/.

 

webinar

Montana Housing Partnership Conference Going Virtual

By | News, News Position 2

Montana Housing Partnership Conference Going Virtual

To protect against the spread of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 the Montana Housing Partnership has decided to move to a one-day virtual format for the annual housing partnership conference originally scheduled for June 15-17. We will postpone the in-person content to June of 2021.

While we are incredibly disappointed we won’t be gathering in person this year, the health and safety of our sponsors and attendees is our number one priority. We are excited to announce that we will be holding a one-day virtual conference on Tuesday, June 16th, 2020.  Please stay tuned for further details regarding our virtual day together – MTHOUSINGPARTNERSHIP.ORG.

In the coming weeks we will be refunding registration fees for those who had already registered. We will let you know when this process has been completed. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out and we will be happy to answer them.

 

Resident Owned Communities – Preserving Homes for Montanans

By | News, News Position 1

We are often asked what it means when we say “NeighborWorks Montana works to preserve housing.” Preserving homes means that homes are not torn down, that the land is not repurposed or redeveloped, that Montanans can continue to have access to homes they can afford and have opportunities to thrive. There are many ways we work to preserve homes, but through our Resident Owned Community (ROC) program we help homeowners purchase and learn to manage their manufactured home parks.

Manufactured homes are a viable, low-cost option for anyone earning an average or below-average wage. Preservation of these homes is especially vital when you consider the increased home purchase costs, steep rental costs, and stunted availability of housing stock.

How does becoming resident owned help? By becoming a cooperative, these communities can regulate lot fees and management of their park while building a tight-knit community of residents who are invested. Making decisions as a cohesive unit, residents are no longer “surprised” with lot fees increases and can create an action plan for repairs or upgrades that make sense for the entire community. Becoming a tight-knit community offers the benefits of comradery and security, as well.

How does NeighborWorks Montana (NWMT) do this work? NWMT partnered with ROC USA®, a national non-profit, that has partnered with affiliates since 1984 to help more than 17,000 manufactured homeowners in 17 states become cooperatives. As one of their affiliates since 2009, NeighborWorks Montana has helped 13 Montana manufactured home properties become cooperatives, preserving 527 homes. These are homes in cities and towns across Montana where the residents can remain working, buying, and supporting the area instead of possibly having to relocate.

NWMT works to research the property and negotiate a purchase. We also work with the residents to form a cooperative, complete real estate due diligence, and secure financing. Once purchase of the community is complete, NWMT continues to offer support to the members and board by providing technical assistance for ten years after the purchase to ensure they have the tools and skills needed for success.

The Financial Times recently published a great story about the Clackamas River Community Co-op in Clackamas, Oregon, shedding a bright light on their success working with another technical assistance partner of ROC USA®, CASA of Oregon.

CLICK HERE  to view the article, provided by ROC USA®.

If you are a park resident or park owner who is interested in learning more, please contact Danielle Maiden at 406-407-6444 or [email protected].

 

NeighborWorks Montana Deploying New Funds For Affordable Housing

By | News, News Position 3

NeighborWorks Montana received $650,000 from the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund to create a new loan product to complement the State Coal Trust Funds approved for housing during the 2019 legislative session. House Bill 16 made available $15 million of coal tax trust fund dollars to develop affordable rental homes in Montana, making this the first state funding dedicated specifically to affordable housing. The program provides developers with low-interest rates on long-term loans for affordable housing acquisition and development. The new NeighborWorks Montana funds will be paired with the Coal Trust Funds for projects that need additional financing.

Since 2008 NeighborWorks Montana has been lending to housing developers in Montana, providing loans to fill gaps between other financing sources and the total costs of any given project. Traditionally NeighborWorks Montana loans have been available to fill short term needs. The new loan product is unique in that it allows for much longer terms, up to 30 years, to match the first mortgage. Interest rates will also be much lower for these loans than what typically is offered by NeighborWorks Montana. Lower rates and longer terms create more affordability for residents as projects have lower overall debt costs and cash needs, and therefore can charge lower rents.

“The legislature made significant strides in 2019 by recognizing the importance of and need for more homes Montanans can afford. The Coal Trust funds are supporting the health and vitality of our communities by creating homes for working families, seniors, and others for whom safe and stable homes would otherwise be out of reach.” said Kaia Peterson, NeighborWorks Montana’s Executive Director. “We at NeighborWorks Montana are thrilled to be able to build on the State’s commitment with our new loan program, enhancing the viability and contributing to the affordability of these projects.”

The Multifamily Coal Trust Homes Program is targeted towards projects in rural communities, which often go unfunded and are difficult to build and maintain. NeighborWorks Montana is looking forward to working with developers who have successfully secured funding from the Multifamily Coal Trust Homes Program to grow the availability of safe, secure homes that Montanans can afford. There are currently 13 ROCs in the state with 527 home sites.

For inquiries about applying for funds for your project, please contact Larry Phillips at [email protected] or 406-604-4551.

View Vista Community Becomes Resident Owned

By | News, News Position 1

The homeowners who live in View Vista Community in Livingston, Montana, have bought the community from the previous owner, preserving 49 homes and 33 apartment units that are affordable to low-income residents. View Vista Community is now a resident owned community (ROC) – the residents now own and manage their own community.

NeighborWorks Montana guided residents through the purchase process and continues to support them as they build the skills and leadership they need to manage their community. In most manufactured-home parks, homeowners own their homes and pay lot rent to the park owner for the use of the land. In resident owned communities the lot rent goes to the resident cooperative and is managed to meet community needs and maintain affordability.

Safe and stable homes are increasingly out of reach for working and low-income families in Montana. ROCs preserve an important source of unsubsidized affordable housing for working families, seniors and people with low incomes. Owning a home in a ROC is typically half as expensive as renting an apartment.

“The residential units at View Vista Community are crucial to the workforce housing stock in Park County, providing safe housing that is affordable near the heart of Livingston,” said Danielle Maiden, ROC Program Manager for NeighborWorks Montana. “This community provides both homeownership and rental opportunities to working families.”

George Nikolakakos owned View Vista Community for six years. He felt the community was key to the city of Livingston with over 200 people living in the community between View Vista Community Apartments and the homes in the community. When Nikolakakos started thinking about selling, he immediately reached out to NeighborWorks Montana.

“Resident ownership is good for the community, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the residents, it’s good for the seller. It’s just a way to feel good about closing the transaction out in a way that is ethical, and I’d like to think it’s a little bit about leaving a legacy for the residents,” Nikolakakos said. “I can’t wait to go back to Livingston in 10 years and watch that place develop and see what they do with it.”

The purchase was financed by Opportunity Bank and NeighborWorks Montana. View Vista Community is the 13th resident owned community in the state of Montana and the first in Park County. There are over 250 ROCs nationwide. NeighborWorks Montana provides the ROC program in Montana as part of the ROC USA® Network. The ROC USA® Network is made up of nine non-profit affiliates across the country. The ROC program helps to provide safe, secure and affordable housing in perpetuity, and it eliminates the risks for residents of rent increases or being evicted without cause.

 

NeighborWorks Montana’s Mission: Together we strengthen our communities by providing education and financing that gives every Montanan the opportunity to live in a home where they can thrive.

About NeighborWorks Montana: NeighborWorks Montana is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that works with a network of statewide partners to deliver HUD-approved homebuyer education and counseling. NWMT provides home loans for individual homebuyers and financing for affordable housing developers. And, NWMT helps homeowners purchase and successfully manage mobile home parks (ROCs). There are currently 13 ROCs in the state with 527 home sites. LEARN MORE

About ROC USA: ROC USA® is a non-profit social venture scaling resident ownership of manufactured home communities since 2008. Together with ROC USA® network, a group of nine regional non-profit affiliates, and ROC USA® Capital, a CDFI lending subsidiary, we work with 250 resident owned communities in 16 states. LEARN MORE

Welcome New Executive Director, Kaia Peterson

By | News, News Position 3

The Board of Directors for NeighborWorks Montana (NWMT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kaia Peterson as the organization’s Executive Director following the retirement of long-time Executive Director, Maureen Rude. Kaia officially took the reigns at the start of the New Year.

“We’re exceptionally pleased that Kaia has taken on this leadership role,” said Burt Hurwitz, Board President. “Her work as Assistant Director of NWMT for the last 7 years and her knowledge and involvement with affordable housing issues, both in Montana and nationally, make her a fantastic executive director for our statewide, partner-focused organization.”

Peterson is passionate about the power of Community Development Financial Institutions creating opportunities for people and communities who wouldn’t otherwise have access to safe, quality homes they can afford. She brings many years of experience in the housing industry, a keen business sense and unparalleled passion for Montanans.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead NWMT. The organization is poised to really build on the momentum created by my predecessor, Maureen Rude. I look forward to making a difference in the lives of even more Montanans looking to find homes they can afford,” said Peterson.

Kaia has a BA from Bates College and an MBA from the University of Washington and is a member of the Missoula Housing Authority board and Providence St. Patrick’s Hospital Western Montana Service Area Community Ministry board. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

With the start of the New Year and her first month as Executive Director, Kaia reflects, “We are off to a great start in 2020 and excited for the year ahead with lending, our partner network, ROC work and so much more.”

Stay tuned as we will continue to follow Kaia’s first year!

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

2020conference

2020 Housing Partnership Conference, June 15-17

By | News, News Position 2

This conference is a collaborative effort of the Montana Housing Partnership which is a group of housing professionals in business and government across the state. It is a great networking and training event that brings housing organizations, developers, government agency representatives, and other housing stakeholders together to focus on solutions for Montana. The goal is to share information and experiences while creating opportunities for peer exchange and collaboration.

This year’s plenary speakers are booked, and we are excited for them to share their knowledge and ideas with all of you. We will be joined by Rural Sociologist and Senior Research Fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension, Ben Winchester; Senior Vice President of Artspace, Greg Handberg; and Communication Coach and Owner of Elkins Consulting, Sarah Elkins. On Tuesday afternoon we are thrilled to offer four tours for you to choose from, each with a different area of focus. We will also have a wonderful opportunity to network with one another while appreciating our state’s history during the Networking Reception, being held at the Montana Historical Society.

Learn more and get registered! CLICK HERE to visit the event website.

Impacts Under the Big Sky Exhibit

At this year’s Montana Housing Partnership Conference, we are offering a special exhibit to highlight projects, initiatives, programs, and research occurring across Montana. The Impacts Under the Big Sky Exhibit will include a poster display at the conference and information shared on our website.

Submissions are due by March 25. We invite you to submit your information for consideration by visiting the CONFERENCE WEBSITE. Submissions do need to have a housing focus, please.

There is no cost to participate in the exhibit and all posters and materials will be done by Montana Housing Partnership.

Want to be more involved in the conference? Consider being a sponsor! Contact Michelle Rogers at [email protected] or at 406-604-4547 for more details.