Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A number of affordable housing projects and programs in Missoula have been recommended for funding from federal and local sources, including $330,000 to help the owners of a River Road community begin a community land trust.

City staff on Monday night said they received 11 applications and are recommending eight of them for funding. The source of that funding dictates how and where it can be spent.

“All of these projects will have a lasting, positive outcome for our community with the support of approximately 225 affordable units,” said grants administrator Karen Gasvoda. “And more than an estimated 1,200 people will be helped through the financial homeowners education program.”

This year's recommendations include $330,000 to the North Missoula Community Development Corp. (NMCDC) to purchase the land under 14 homes near River Road and convert it into a community land trust.

The trust ensures the homes remain affordable now and into the future. This year's recommendations would also award NMCDC an additional $40,000 to help it fund a new coordinator position to manage its growing land trust program.

“Our program is growing and at scale the community land trust ground-lease fees can really support the salary of a staff person to run the thing,” said Brittany Palmer, executive director of NMCDC. “But we're not at that scale yet, so we need support in the meantime for this service.”

The local nonprofit Homeward will also receive funding, including $348,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $530,000 from HOME funds to help rehabilitate the Creekside Apartments.

Last year, the organization also received Low Income Housing Tax Credits to help with the project, which will rehabilitate 161 apartments in the Creekside development. The total cost of the project is estimated at $9 million.

“Their recent capital needs assessment showed most of the overall building systems are nearing or have passed their useful lives,” said grants administrator Colleen Kane. “The buildings are now 27 years old. All new siding, roofing, windows, mechanical systems and plumbing is needed.”

Under the recommendations, Homeward will also receive $230,000 to rehabilitate three affordable Missoula properties within its portfolio, including its Equinox property and Lenox Flats.