Neighborworks Montana

Northwood Fundraiser

By | News

This year during Giving Tuesday, please join us in completing a very special project at our resident owned community (ROC), Northwood, in Pablo, Montana. Our goal is to raise $6,000 to complete their community center which will include electrical work, insulation, drywall, and flooring.

Why is this project so important? Resident, Mary Sherman explains, “The community center is the heart of our community. It is the place we go to build relationships, hold our community functions, and where all of the ideas for our community are created.”

In 2014, Northwood 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 Northwood were able to take control over their community by purchasing the park from the previous owner. This ownership eliminated the fear of rent increases or 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.

This is a great group of folks who value their homes and each other. They have already done a lot of work to their park by adding a playground, speed bumps, fencing and a community garden. Now NWMT is working with them to complete this building and take steps to ensure the sustainability of their community. With your partnership, we can complete this project and give the people of Northwood the tools for a strong neighborhood.

To donate: or you can give through our Facebook page at Donations made through Facebook early on Tuesday, November 27 may be matched by Facebook & Paypal this year!

Neighborworks Montana

New Sign For Morning Star Co-Op Big Hit In Community

By | News

Posted by Melissa Proulx on Thursday, October 11 th, 2018

KALISPELL, Mont. — A new sign marks more than just the entrance of the Morning Star Community.

“It completes the community,” said Laurie Westendorf, President of the democratically elected Board of Directors for the resident-owned community.

Before the sign was installed, those looking to get to the co-op are taken to the community next door if they enter the address into the GPS. Since there isn’t any signage at the moment to let them know they are in the wrong place, it could be confusing.

“We really needed it so people could find us,” she said.

With one sign already installed, a second one was set to be installed earlier this week. New speed limit and row number signs will also be put up. Residents were able to weigh in on the design.

These changes help to create a sense of belonging for Morning Star residents by dressing up the neighborhood. It shows pride of ownership and many have given positive feedback on the new sign, Westendorf said.

The $2,000 project was funded through a grant from NeighborWorks® Montana, the ROC USA affiliate for the state. Westendorf said she learned about the possibility of getting the grant while attending the Community Leadership Institute in Los Angeles, Calif. in 2017.

“It was the very first grant that we’ve received,” she said.

This was not the only one they’ve recently received though.

Morning Star was also awarded $1,500 from the Better Together Community Grant Program earlier this summer. This money was used to fix the asphalt around their mailboxes so water will drain away from the area. This will be safer for residents, particularly in the cold months when ice can build up and make it slick in that area.

The signs were created by Signs Now, a local company in Kalispell. Westendorf said the team there did an amazing job and was incredibly helpful throughout the process.


Montana Tribe Surpasses National Homeownership Rate

By | News

The work we do is both a privilege and a passion for us, and this story is an example of just one of the many reasons we love our work! Seeing lives transformed and getting to work with others around the state to accomplish these transformations is rewarding beyond belief. We give special thanks to Salish & Kootenai Housing Authority and Glacier Bank for working with us and sharing our same passion for homeownership in Montana! To read the full article, visit

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.