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Find the Help You Need

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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:

Resident Owned Communities – Preserving Homes for Montanans

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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].

 

View Vista Community Becomes Resident Owned

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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

New Team Members

Welcome to Our New Team Members!

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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

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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

Giving Tuesday Project

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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

Current Positions Open at NWMT

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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.