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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.

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!

Whole Community Health

Focusing on Whole Community Health

By | News

NeighborWorks Montana staff participated in a national conversation last week in New Orleans called Connecting Health, Home, and Community. While many of us in the housing industry have long given thought to connections within our communities between housing and other issues, there is a growing movement toward understanding how where we live affects our overall health.

According to a recent report by NeighborWorks America and Enterprise Community Partners, 80% of an individuals’ health is determined by their behaviors and the social and environmental conditions in which they live, work and play. “It is telling that only 20% of our health is shaped by clinical care, while 50% is determined by social and economic factors and the physical environment, and 30% by our individual behaviors.” (

“In Montana, 13% of households spend more than half of their income on housing costs.” ( Rising housing costs, rental or ownership, certainly don’t leave much room in our budgets for other items such as healthcare and quality food.

Giving thought to budgets and knowing that chronic illnesses are on the rise, how can we restructure our communities to lessen the effects of the stresses causing the chronic illnesses? How do we adjust our lens to the ‘we’ and realize that we all have an obligation to make life better?

It is becoming clear that organizations must collaborate to switch from serving in segments to serving communities as a whole. Offering education and leadership will be vital as we go forward with this movement. NeighborWorks Montana will be watching this closely and giving thought to it in terms of our connections across Montana, and the nation.

Read more:

nwmt webinar sepyember 24

NWMT Webinar: Education & Counseling Services

By | News

Join Hanna Tester, Network and Compliance Specialist and Lori Yurko, Loan Specialist as we take an in-depth look at our statewide partner network. NWMT’s network of 15 partners provide housing counseling and education services that can open your clients up to great down-payment assistance loans, which we will also touch on.

This webinar will be great for mortgage lenders, real estate professionals, and those who work in the housing and human resource industries.

We will be joined by one of our housing counselors, as well as a real estate professional and lender, who can give you first-hand customer accounts and answer any questions you may have.


Montana Losing Valuable Housing

By | News

The story of a trailer park closing to be redeveloped is not new.  What is new, is the current state of our housing market, and the challenges the residents being displaced are likely to face as they seek different housing.

As more and more are priced out of homes, the need to preserve homes that Montanans can afford is vital.

Through our resident-owned community (ROC) program at NeighborWorks Montana, we help residents purchase the land on which their homes sit, and that they have previously rented.  Many of these residents have lived in their homes in their communities for over 20 years.

More on this:

montata shares raffle

Support Montana Shares for a Chance to Win!

By | News

The 2019 Montana Shares raffle is open, and you won’t want to miss the chance to win some of the great prizes. The raffle will be held on Friday, September 13 and you need not be present to win.

There are 39 awesome prizes, including nine prize packages! Click HERE to read more about each of the prizes and to print the raffle tickets. Please mail your check and the raffle tickets to:

Montana Shares
PO Box 883
Helena, MT 59624

NeighborWorks Montana is a participant with Montana Shares, a partnership of Montana-based nonprofit groups devoted to improving the quality of life in communities throughout Montana. To learn more about Montana Shares, visit, and connect with them on Facebook.


lotto montana shares


Attention Montana ROC Members – Join Us At This Year’s Summit!

By | News

NeighborWorks Montana and ROC USA are hosting this year’s Montana ROC Summit in Missoula. The event will be held on Friday, September 27, and Saturday, September 28 at the NWMT Missoula office.

All members of a Montana ROC are encouraged to attend to network with other ROC members, tour area ROCs, and participate in educational presentations and discussions.

Last year’s summit attendees felt that trainings like this are a vital resource and the experience of hearing how other communities do things was invaluable.

Representatives from the 10 ROCs and 330 households came out to Kalispell for a two-day regional training hosted by NeighborWorks® Montana, the ROC USA® Network affiliate in the state.

NeighborWorks Montana will be providing lodging at the Comfort Inn University for residents traveling from outside of Missoula. All lodging, travel, and food are covered by sponsors. Please note that childcare is not available.

The deadline to register is Monday, August 19. Completed registration forms should be mailed to:

NeighborWorks Montana
Attn: Autumn
PO Box 1025
Great Falls, MT 59403

Autumn is also the contact if you have any questions. She can be reached at 406.604.4503 or [email protected].

We look forward to seeing everyone there!


Groundbreaking: Homes that Teachers Can Afford

By | News

Earlier this year NeighborWorks Montana was able to provide acquisition and infrastructure financing to Habitat for Humanity of Gallatin Valley to purchase vacant land in the town of Ennis.

Madison County and the town of Ennis are always seeking employees to support the services offered in the area. Madison County is full of seasonal and recreational potential that brings a major influx of tourists every year, which creates an issue for those living in the area year-round when many houses are marketed for vacation rentals. The project will provide 8-10 homes for the workforce in Ennis and surrounding area of Madison County to provide employees in the area a safe place to call home.

Read more about the recent groundbreaking of this project.

Newest ROC Enjoys Partnership

By | News

C & C Community in Billings is 11th resident owned community (ROC) in the state. NeighborWorks Montana is proud to offer assistance to manufactured home parks around the state because our mission is to preserve homes, but a special partnership was unveiled during a housing conference tour that has us very excited!

Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley has purchased two homes in the park and is currently renovating them for families in their program. Family Promise helps homeless families access the tools and time they need to achieve safe housing and become sustainable for their futures. The home we toured will soon be home to a single father and his son.

Once a park becomes a ROC, the rents are controlled by the residents so Family Promise can assure that their families will be able to continue to afford their homes. Community is another reason this partnership is so exciting. The families placed in these homes will know their neighbors and have a network of friends who will welcome them.

More to come on these homes as they near completion, stay tuned!

2019 Housing Partnership Conference a Success

By | News

The 2019 Housing Partnership Conference, held June 17-19 in Billings, was a huge success with a record number of attendees and sponsors!

This annual conference is a collaborative event of the Montana Housing Partnership group. The purpose of the conference is to promote a collaborative effort between organizations who work toward making home possible for all Montanans, whether that be homeownership or rentals. The Partnership also hopes to raise awareness for the link between health and housing.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s conference:

  • 293 people in attendance
  • 78 presenters
  • 39 sessions to choose from
  • $4,670 raised through the silent auction for the Yellowstone County Continuum of Care, with another $2,000 given to them thanks to the Community Give Back Sponsor GMD
  • 31 sponsors who donated $51,000 toward the conference
  • 19 states were represented
  • 3 Tribal Nations were represented
  • New this year – a special training for lenders and realtors on what housing programs and loan products are available
  • New this year – Extreme Bingo! Everyone had a blast with this musical version of bingo

NeighborWorks Montana gave out two awards during the Housing Conference in June to honor the top producing lenders (within our program) in the Billings area for 2018. Award recipients were Teresa Gilreath and Ian Ullman, both of First Interstate Bank in Billings. Thank you both for your work and dedication in helping Montanans become homeowners!

from left to right: Teresa Gilreath and Ian Ullman in the front row; Lori Yurko, Loan Specialist with NWMT; Tara Rice, Montana Department of Commerce; and Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney.

We can’t talk about the conference without giving a shout out to our great sponsors who went above and beyond this year to ensure the event was a success!

This event is also an excellent opportunity to network with others who share your same passions. It is estimated that each attendee made an average of 3.5 new contacts while at the conference.

If you missed this year’s conference, you won’t want to miss next year’s conference! It will be held June 15-18 in Helena, so please SAVE THE DATE!