The Montana Department of Commerce announced Feb. 11 that four towns will receive state funding to support development and rehabilitation of affordable rental homes.
Since December, the state’s new Multifamily Coal Trust Homes Program has been accepting applications from non-profits, for-profits and government agencies on a rolling basis for low interest loans from its $15 million pool of funding.
The Department of Commerce announced the first round of approved projects in Belt, Cascade, Livingston and Havre.
Department Director Tara Rice says the state’s supply of affordable rental units is not keeping up with demand, which makes it harder to retain and attract workers.
“This is something that is really at the core of a growing economy around the state. It looks a little bit different from one community to the next, but it’s an issue in all corners," Rice says.
In Cascade County, nearly $1.7 million will be used to buy and preserve 42 affordable rental homes for seniors and people living with disabilities at Golden Valley Homes in Belt and Quiet Day Manor in Cascade.
Over a million dollars will go toward relocating a dozen modular homes from the Bakken region to the Livingston Land Trust Cottages location. In Havre, around a half a million dollars will be used to buy and preserve 32 affordable rental homes for individuals and families at Highland Manor.
Rice says the Multifamily Coal Trust Homes Program is unique because the funds can support the rehabilitation of affordable rental units, rather than just new construction.
“In some places, and this is often in rural areas, maintaining existing housing structure is one of the core housing challenges. So that’s the neat thing about this program," Rice says.
The funding can also be used to buy land for multifamily rentals and land trusts for rental and mobile or manufactured homes.
The Multifamily Coal Trust Homes Program is a result of House Bill 16 that was passed during the 2019 legislative session.