Missoula’s affordable housing committee taking shape with new county appointment

The newly created Affordable Housing Resident Oversight Committee continued to take shape this week after Missoula County announced its appointment to the panel.

On Tuesday, the county named Christine Littig to a three-year term. She represents the county’s only appointment to the 10-member committee charged with making recommendations around housing in Missoula.

“It was the most competitive board I’ve ever had anything to do with,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick. “She has tons of a experience for housing, both as a business person and as a resident. She demonstrated a true fluency in the issues in her interview.”

Last week, the Missoula City Council announced its five appointments to the committee, which included Laura Bird – a community member with experience seeking housing assistance – and community member Will Sebern.

Littig is also a community member, which is one of the categories named in the resolution that created the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The other categories include banking and finance, and housing and real estate.

So far, only one member from banking and real estate has been appointed. Missoula Mayor John Engen still has three appointments which, once made, will will round out the new committee.

The group will recommend allocating funding from the trust fund toward certain housing needs and projects. The city’s new housing policy called for the creation of a housing trust fund and a committee to oversee it. 

The county also is working on a housing policy.

“It will compliment the city’s efforts,” Slotnick said. “To what that looks like, it’s premature to say, but we’re interested in complimenting efforts.”

Emily Harris Shears, the city’s trust fund administrator, said the recruitment process netted 44 applicants. After some attrition, 33 applicants were interviewed.

Of those interviews, 14 applicants represented general community members and seven represented community members with experience seeking housing assistance.

Two interviews were held with members of a housing nonprofit, seven with members of the real estate community, and two from members of the banking industry. The committee bylaws require a mix of all categories.

“This was a priority to all of them (selection committee) to find members who were dedicated,” said Shears. “Any of the 33 members would have been excellent members of the community.”

Missoula City Council appoints housing committee members, tweaks bylaws