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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!

Manufactured Housing and NeighborWorks

By | News

NWMT has been ecstatic with all the exposure manufactured housing has been receiving and we feel honored to have been mentioned, as well!

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently had a segment about manufactured housing where he highlighted the benefits of becoming a co-op, and featured the logos for both NWMT and ROC USA!

A few days after this segment aired, the piece was then featured in the Rolling Stone!

Please note, the video does contain adult language and themes.

Watch the Video Episode

To read the Rolling Stone article by Ryan Reed

C & C Website

Montana ROC Family Grows!

By | News

We are happy to announce that the 11th Montana ROC just closed on March 29! Join us in welcoming C & C Community, a 60-home community located at 307 South Billings Boulevard in Billings.

NWMT staff had a chance to talk with Chuck Barrett who owned the park for over 40 years. When he was considering selling the park, he had no desire to displace the current residents, and being able to sell to his residents allowed him to keep the people living there.

Chuck went on to say, “It’s now the residents’ – the fact that it is staying a mobile home park was my biggest priority. We didn’t want to displace everyone that we had grown to know and some that had turned into family for us. We just felt good about that.”

For NWMT, preserving homes that families and seniors can afford is a high priority. When we have a home that allows us to live a good life within our means, we are healthier, and our neighborhoods grow stronger. We are thrilled to welcome C & C to the ROC family and look forward to seeing them grow as a community.

save the date

2019 Statewide Montana Housing Partnership Conference

By | News

Join us in Billings for Montana’s premier conference and networking experience. This event is custom-made for policymakers, housing authorities, community development agencies and affordable housing developers in Montana.

This year’s event is a collaboration between the Montana Housing Partnership and Mountain Plains NAHRO. The Montana Housing Partnership is a group of housing professionals in business and government across the state, Mountain Plains NAHRO is the regional association of public housing authorities. We will have folks from Montana and a five-state region that includes Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

A full slate of national, regional and local experts will address a variety of issues that impact the availability of homes in Montana including:

  • links between infrastructure & workforce development
  • public housing authorities
  • housing choice vouchers
  • development of apartment-style rental homes
  • homeownership
  • the relationship between health & home
  • community revitalization & development
  • national and state legislative priorities
  • organizational management
  • professional development

Conference registration is now open and early bird discounts are available until May 22.

MIC Zeke Campfield

Groups Strategize Solutions to Missoula’s Housing Crisis

By | News

The Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, along with other local organizations, individual churches and nonprofits, met Tuesday night to discuss specific solutions to the city’s affordable housing crisis, including a housing trust fund, building density and strategies around barriers to renting.

The meeting follows a Voices 4 Housing February housing assembly where the public discussed the many issues Missoulians face in finding affordable housing.

A few members of the Missoula City Council and the mayor took an oath at that earlier session to find solutions and implement them as part of the city’s upcoming housing policy.

Interfaith group hopes to build momentum for affordable housing

Now, groups are finalizing specific strategies to introduce to the City Council.

Three areas of interest include creating a housing trust fund, adjusting zoning and building requirements to increase density, and providing resources to those who face rental barriers.

“When we did the small group sharing at the assembly, those were the three main concerns that came up for folks,” said Voices 4 Housing organizer Stacey Siebrasse.

That’s the point of MIC is really to garner relational power, get people connected and talking about these issues, get them informed and be able to generate the public will to stand behind these things.”The housing trust fund would pay for things like permanent affordable housing, the preservation and rehab of existing affordable units and assistance for first-time homebuyers.

The fund needs to be recurring and specifically designated for affordable housing. One way that the fund could be supported is through a bond issue, but Kaia Peterson, assistant director of NeighborWorks Montana and a member of the Missoula Housing Coalition, said that a bond could work against what a trust fund was created to achieve.

If the city were to levy a bond, Peterson explained, protections would need to be in place for people whose housing stability might be threatened by the higher property taxes necessitated by the bond itself. Other forms of funding include a local option or resort tax, gas tax, private investments, or a required percentage of tax increment funding, or TIF. In addition, commercial linkage fees charge developers of commercial developments a fee that can be used for affordable housing.

“We’re not going to advocate for a bond as the core funding source or the only funding source. We would need diverse funding sources that aren’t immediately tied to housing affordability,” she said. The group talked about adding a time-sensitive residency requirement and allowing the trust fund to span outside the city limits, which could require looking into a countywide funding measure.

Increasing housing density in Missoula is another potential strategy. Initiating a community conversation about how to increase density while balancing open space, historic preservation and transportation is important to maintaining Missoula’s character, group participants agreed.

Eliminating single-family zoning and replacing it with zoning policies that conform across all neighborhoods is another goal, while also ensuring affordability measures when building density increases. Implementing inclusionary zoning, which requires a certain percentage of new housing to be available at affordable rates, is also in the works and should be determined using a feasibility study.

“We as a community need to take a serious look at an inclusionary zoning policy and actually initiate a feasibility study on if inclusionary zoning is a right way forward for Missoula and if so, what parameters and incentives would be included in that,” said Casey Dunning, director of MIC.

Those who have been previously incarcerated or have poor rental history or credit struggle with housing, having to pay multiple application fees to compete for apartments they won’t get approved for. Having a rent guarantee fund as insurance to landlords and hiring a liaison to coordinate conversations between tenants and renters were two solutions that were widely accepted by group participants, said MIC’s housing advocate program manager Zeke Campfield.

Streamlining a single application process, including credit and background checks, would also drive down costs when applying for housing. Starting a “Gold Star Landlords” list is also a possibility.

“How do we get the landlords to do it? We can’t force them to comply and we don’t want to necessarily shame those who don’t comply. But providing a ‘Gold Star Landlord’ list, we’d be publicly lifting up those landlords which acknowledge the rent guarantee fund, the landlord liaison and accept the uniform background-credit check that comes from a centralized form,” Campfield said.

The second Voices 4 Housing assembly will take place May 2 after the city’s housing policy is published. These strategies will be introduced to the city and county for further discussion and improvements. Missoula County Commissioner Josh Slotnick and City Councilwoman Gwen Jones attended Tuesday night’s event and were impressed with the amount of civic involvement. Slotnick said the commissioners will address housing but isn’t sure what that looks like yet.

“There’s a time of year where we set budgets and we look at work plans for our departments, and we’re going to figure out how to fold affordable housing into those things,” Slotnick said.

Slotnick said funding these solutions to housing is the biggest obstacle. Passing bonds on Missoula amenities, such as the Missoula Public Library and the new park at Fort Missoula, make the city a great place to live.

However, demand for housing and increased property taxes drive up housing costs.

“We didn’t make the wrong choice by voting for those things, we’ve just accidentally created something that really no one wants, and that’s this hyper-precious, super expensive community where regular people can’t afford to live,” Slotnick said. “Nobody wants that, and we sort of have yet to come together and say, ‘This is a vision of how we really want to be, and let’s figure out how to get there.’ Groups like this are beginning to do that.”

Groups like the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative and others that meet to formulate these strategies add to the conversation, which results in a better understanding of what Missoula needs, Jones said.

“I think affordable housing is a big issue in Missoula and the more the community starts to discuss it and understand it and ponder what measures should be taken, the better off we are,” she said. “I think it’s very reflective of Missoula, and it’s a very Missoula thing to do.”

Written by Mari Hall reporting for the Missoula Current


Photo: Housing advocate program manager with MIC Zeke Campfield counts how many participants agree to “ratify” certain solutions that address rental barriers. These solutions will be presented to the city council in May for further discussion.  (photo credit: Mari Hall/Missoula Current)