The final pieces of the Affordable Housing Resident Oversight Committee fell into place this week after Mayor John Engen named three appointments to the panel.

Nominations for the committee were presented by a subgroup of City Council members and county officials after conducting 33 interviews with separate applicants.

“Through their vetting, they made recommendations for appointments to council members, and also recommendations to me,” Engen said. “I am trusting this committee, and do trust this committee, to do the thoughtful work they did to make sure the committee was well rounded and ready to provide us with advice moving forward.”

Engen's three appointments round out the committee, which is represented largely by housing officials, community members and those who have sought help with housing assistance. One member of the development community also has been appointed to the group.

Once seated, the Affordable Housing Resident Oversight Committee will oversee key functions of the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, including suggestions to the city on where it should invest funding.

The committee will not make funding decisions for every project supported by the trust fund, according the resolution creating the committee. The City Council and Missoula County have already named their appointments.

“These folks, vetted through this committee, further add to what I think is a remarkably represented collection of folks to work with staff and council and me as we move forward in investing in housing for the future of this community, and to make sure our residents have safe and decent places to live,” Engen said.

Missoula Mayor John Engen.
Missoula Mayor John Engen.

The mayor's appointments include Gerri Stiffarm, who was appointed as a community member with experience seeking housing assistance. It also includes Mistee Brown and Riley Jacobsen as members of a housing nonprofit.

Council member Heidi West will also serve as the City Council's committee representative.

“The process was designed and created to make sure we have a good cross section of our community represented on this committee,” said council member Mirtha Becerra. “I think the appointments the mayor brings forward will bring a unique perspective and be valuable to the committee when they have to make decisions and provide feedback.”

The appointments take effect on June 1 and the first meeting is planned for later that month.