While federal funding earmarked for local housing efforts has stayed relatively consistent over the past decade, inflation has reduced how far those dollars will go, housing experts said Monday night.
Members of the City Council opened their public hearing on this year’s allocation of Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds, both made available annually from U.S. Housing and Urban Development.
The combined funds amount to around $800,000 annually – a figure that hasn’t changed in around 11 years. The city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund also receives an annual allocation from local taxpayers of around $1.1 million each year.
Together, the three pools of money are allocated to various housing efforts across Missoula, and each come with their own strings attached.
The CDBG and HOME funds, for example, go to support projects for those earning 80% of the area medium income. Funding from the city’s Trust Fund can support projects for those earning 120% AMI.
“In 2022, Missoula’s area median income for family of four is around $80,200, which means our HUD funds can help families making less than $65,000,” said Kendra Lisum, a grants administrator for the city. “Our Trust Fund can help families making less than $97,000.”
With funding limited, deciding who gets what can be a tricky matter, housing experts have said. This year, the Affordable Housing Resident Oversight Committee received 11 applications that exceeded available funding by roughly $513,500.
Eight applications were ultimately recommended for funding, including one from the Community Development Block Grant. In that category, the North Missoula Community Development Corp. will receive $324,000 to purchase one home and two adjacent lots.
“The project will help with the cost of purchasing a single-family residence and two adjacent lots,” said Karen Gasvoda, a city grants administrator. “The properties will be converted to a community land trust to ensure permanent affordability.”
Recommendations for HOME funding includes $360,000 for Homeword and its Trinity apartment project. Once completed, the development will include 202 affordable housing units. The project has received funding in the past.
So too has BlueLine and its Villagio apartment project. The oversight committee recommended the development receive $475,700 dollars. Once it opens, Villagio will offer 200 affordable housing units at the end of Scott Street.
Both the Trinity and Villagio projects have been heavily subsidized by Missoula taxpayers.
“They’ve been funded with HOME dollars in the past, and they’ve come back this year to ask for additional funding,” Gasvoda said of the two projects.
Projects recommended for funding from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund also include the North Missoula Community Development Corp. and its Wolf Street project. The $340,000 in funding will help purchase land under two apartment buildings and an adjacent house, also to be converted to a land trust or housing co-op.
Homeword will receive $15,000 in the Trust Fund category for financial and housing education while Ravara Development will receive $501,000 for its Scott Street project. That project represents a partnership with the city that will result in 78 affordable homes on a community land trust.
“These projects will have lasting positive outcomes for our community,” Gasvoda said.