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Government & Politics

Bozeman's housing levy failed. Local leaders face challenges ahead to continue funding affordable housing

Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
Bozeman's housing fund has supported affordable housing projects such as the Perennial and Arrowleaf Park development.

After a property tax levy that would have funded affordable housing in Bozeman failed in Tuesday's election by a thin margin of 276 votes, local leaders say they'll continue to look for new funding sources — but it will be a challenge.

The levy would have added up to $1 million per year to Bozeman’s community housing fund, which in the past has subsidized affordable housing developments and supported the city’s tiny home village and warming shelter.

Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham, who won the Bozeman mayoral race, says not having a separate funding stream means affordable housing will continue to be funded from the general fund.

“It makes it more challenging because it puts it back into the arena of our most competitive funding source, which is the general fund," he said. "Affordable housing competes in the same arena with police, with fire, with parks."

Heather Grenier, CEO of the Human Resource Development Council, says it will be important to find more funding opportunities for affordable housing.

“Everybody wants to solve the problem, it’s just not an easy solution," she said. "So we’re going to have to really pull some community leaders and employers together and figure out ways that we can come up with alternative solutions for our community."

Cunningham says the city will continue using the tools they have available to bring affordable housing to Bozeman.