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Missoula to provide Habitat for Humanity $190K from Affordable Housing Trust Fund

Members of Habitat for Humanity construct a home in East Missoula. (Courtesy photo)

With more questions that time allotted, members of the City Council on Wednesday approved $190,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to support the placement of two module homes on foundations in East Missoula.

The project, proposed by Habitat for Humanity, was recommended for funding by the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Resident Oversight Committee, and it preempted the collective announcement of projects approved for this year’s funding round.

But Emily Harrison Sheers, administrator of the Housing Trust Fund, said Habitat for Humanity was up against a deadline and couldn’t wait.

“They have an urgency to move these out of storage that’s city owned. That’s part of why they weren’t able to wait until June or July when the contracts would start,” said Harris-Sheers. “It was really an exception because of their project needs.”

The unified funding round opened in December and applications were due in February. The Housing Trust has roughly $1.04 million available while $1.08 million is available in Community Development Block Grants.

The HOME Investment program has around $308,000.

Qualified housing organizations can apply for funding from various pools and are scored on a standard application process. In this funding round, Harris-Sheers said six applicants applied for funding from the Trust Fund seeking a total of $1.4 million, or roughly $300,000 more than what’s available.

Habitat for Humanity was recommended for $190,250, though members of the council had other questions that weren’t immediately answered, including how Habitat was financing its portion of the project and ownership of the two modular homes.

“It was elevated for funding because it leverages community partnerships and resources, and it prevents housing displacement for two households with incomes under 80% AMI,” Harris-Sheers said of Habitat’s project. “There’s a readiness and ability to implement this quickly.”

In the first funding round last year, the United Way of Missoula County was awarded $26,000 for its “consumer housing services” project. That effort provides flexible financial assistance to help those who are housing stay in the homes.

Awards in the next funding round are expected to be announced next month and will likely amount to around $832,000 for new housing construction, according to a vote by the oversight committee over the winter.

The second funding round later this year is expected to total $1.19 million.