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Neighborworks Montana

Rockcress Commons

By | News

Rockcress Commons is another great project that NeighborWorks Montana has the privilege of being a part of through our Real Estate Development lending program! We provided pre-development funding to NeighborWorks Great Falls and GMD Development. We also provided a loan, in equal partnership with NeighborWorks Capital, for the purchase of the land which will remain until the completion of the project.

The Rockcress apartment complex will offer Great Falls much-needed quality housing that is affordable. This will be a 124-unit apartment complex located near Benefis and Great Falls College MSU. Units will be 1, 2 and 3 bedroom, with rents ranging from $554 – $954.

Stay tuned for more news about this project as it develops!

Neighborworks Montana

NWMT Awarded $700,000 In Financial Assistance

By | News

We were one of three organizations in Montana to be awarded a CDFI Grant from the U.S.Treasury. NWMT was awarded $700,000 of financial assistance funds that we will use toward our lending programs. This award will make a great impact in helping us achieve our mission of creating housing opportunities across our great state, and nothing makes us happier! For more information about CDFI Grants, visit

Missoula blog post

State Board Denies Funds for Missoula Affordable Housing Project at Former Trailer Park Site

By | News

The Skyview Trailer Park in Missoula was demolished this summer. An affordable housing project proposed for the site was denied federal tax credits by the state Board of Housing.  KURT WILSON, Missoulian file photo

by DAVID ERICKSON [email protected]
Nov 28, 2018. Updated Dec 1, 2018

A Missoula affordable housing developer says he’s ”extremely shocked and disappointed after the Montana Board of Housing denied his request for federal tax credits, putting the project on hold at least another year or longer.

The Missoula project, called Skyview, would have provided 102 units for seniors with limited incomes and needed $7.6 million in tax credits to move forward. Last week, the Board of Housing denied the request and instead chose other projects around the state, including approving $8 million for a 50-unit project in Billings.

“They funded a project that is half as many units for the same number of dollars, actually more dollars,” said developer Alex Burkhalter of Housing Solutions in Missoula. “Stuff like that makes it hard to swallow. We’d have been able to deliver twice the units for less money.”

His project would have been built on a parcel of land in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood which was recently occupied by Skyview Trailer Park until the tenants were evicted and the site razed.

On Nov. 19, the Board of Housing approved a total of $30.6 million in tax credits for projects in Havre, Helena, Billings, Ronan, and Whitefish while denying four projects, including Burkhalter’s proposal.

Because of Missoula’s significant need for affordable housing and because Burkhalter believed his financing provided more “bang for the buck” than other proposals, he was confident going into the meeting that his application would be approved.

“It’s really hard to understand what happened,” Burkhalter said. “Even some of my peer developers, those who were and weren’t successful, expressed shock. We all believed Missoula was a sure thing.”

Bruce Brensdal, the executive director of Montana Board of Housing, said he couldn’t speak to the particular reasoning made by each member of the board, of which he isn’t a part.

“We had 17 projects that came to us at the beginning of this round and many different communities have extreme housing needs like Missoula,” he said. “I’m not discounting the needs of Missoula at all, but as the board works through this process and makes choices on the projects that did get funded, unfortunately Missoula fell below the funding level.”

Bender said he and the board, ideally, would like to fund all the projects that applied.

“If we had more money, quite frankly, we’d have funded all 17 as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “It wasn’t, in my mind listening to the process, Missoula against Billings. All of these communities have such a great need and that’s where the line got drawn.”

Brensdal said the board considers a variety of factors when assessing projects, such as how often certain communities have been awarded money in the past. According to data from the Board of Housing, Missoula County has received 13 percent of all funding in the last decade compared to 9 percent of all funding for Yellowstone County. Cascade County has received the most, at 19 percent, while Gallatin has received 9 percent and Flathead has received 8 percent.

missoula chart

Missoula County has received 13 percent of all federal housing tax credits in Montana over the last decade.

Montana Dept. of Commerce

Burkhalter said Billings projects have been awarded tax credits for the past three years in a row.

“Part of the reason why we thought we’d be successful is because Billings had awards the last three years,” Burkhalter said. “We’re extremely shocked and disappointed. I’m not sure of the board’s reasoning. They said the need is great everywhere.”

Burkhalter said he’s still in discussions with the Skyview landowner about purchasing the land, but the purchase agreement they had in place was contingent on getting the tax credits. Burkhalter’s not sure whether the affordable housing complex can move forward or not.

“We still think there’s a huge need in Missoula and we’d like to continue to try,” he said. “We’re just not sure what the priority of the board is, or if Missoula needs to wait until the ratios (of which county has received more tax credits) are more in line. I just don’t know.”

Missoula’s housing prices have risen nearly 40 percent since 2010and are on pace to see the largest annual spike this year, while wages have stagnated. According to the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the ratio of Missoula’s housing prices to median household income is higher than places like Denver, Portland, Miami and Seattle. Missoula also has the highest percentage of people, 32 percent, who spend more than 30 percent of their income on their mortgage.



Neighborworks Montana

NeighborWorks To Use 1.75 Million Grant To Expand It’s Lending Services

By | Press

NeighborWorks Montana, a statewide housing nonprofit organization, was awarded $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. NeighborWorks Montana will use the money to expand a popular lending program and increase its impact on communities throughout the state.

The organization also will use the CDFI funds to support its 20+ Community Second and multifamily lending programs, to help purchase real estate for low-income housing developments and to help expand its Resident Owned Community programs. Read More

Neighborworks Montana

NeighborWorks Organizations Make Leadership Changes

By | Press

Beginning in January 2016, Maureen Rude of Helena will take over as executive director of the statewide housing organization NeighborWorks Montana.

NeighborWorks Montana is affiliated with The Home Center in Billings, a one-stop shop for renters, homebuyers and homeowners.

Rude has been with NeighborWorks Montana for nearly eight years. She was previously employed as director of the Montana Fannie Mae Partnership office and executive director of the Montana Board of Housing.

In 2000, in response to requests from around the state, the Great Falls organization created NeighborWorks Montana to offer secondary lending and homebuyer education and counseling throughout the state through a local partner network. Since 2000, NeighborWorks Montana has helped more than 5,000 families become homeowners, financed the homes of more than 1,000 families through multifamily loans and formation of manufactured housing cooperatives and worked with more than 7,000 families during the foreclosure crisis.

Read on
Neighborworks Montana

NeighborWorks Montana Awarded Federal Grant

By | Press

NeighborWorks Montana will receive $459,160 in grant money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which awarded more than $50 million in housing counseling grants to hundreds of national, regional, and local organizations.

NeighborWorks Montana, a service provider for homebuyer education and services, was the only grant recipient in the state.

NeighborWorks will distribute the money with a partner network of 15 housing and counseling organizations across Montana.

According to Kaia Peterson, Assistant Director of NeighborWorks Montana, HUD provides core funding for housing education.

“Housing counseling and education helps people make good housing and financial decisions,” she said. “Clients who utilize these programs are more likely to successfully maintain their housing, and are less likely to default on their mortgage.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the grants were smart investments in helping families find and keep their homes.

“Quite simply, knowledge is power,” he said. “We know that armed with the information they need, those who receive counseling services are far more successful in buying, renting, or avoiding foreclosure.”

The grants were announced July 6, 2017.