Voices: Missoula needs inclusionary zoning, renter protection, developer regulations

Earlier this year, Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty announced that in the face of Missoula’s housing crisis, they would ditch traditional bidding in favor of a brand new approach. To preserve “fair access” to housing, they’ve adopted a drawing process, where eligible Missoulians must rely on luck to get their shot at one of nineteen homes off of Mullan Road. At that moment I realized I will never be able to buy a home in Missoula in my lifetime.

Our lack of city regulations on housing has slowly eroded our access to affordable, adequate, and secure housing. In the past decade the median housing price in Missoula has increased 57%, leaving the median home price at over $320,000. If we allow this trend to continue, Missoula will no longer be the beautiful and diverse city that we all know and love.

We must start viewing housing as a human right. My name is Daniel Carlino, and I’m running for City Council to ensure we take bold immediate action on our steadily worsening housing crisis.

As it stands, our city’s budget and policies fail to prioritize housing solutions that work for Missoulians of all walks of life. The City Council needs to do much more than push for a token amount of affordable housing developments. I am committed to passing city ordinances and zoning regulations that will address the roots of this housing crisis. On City Council we must take the following actions:

  • Implement Inclusionary Zoning ordinances to mandate that developers build a portion of affordable housing for low-income Missoulians on all new housing developments 
  • Prevent out-of-state developers from controlling Missoula’s housing market 
  • Regulate vacation rentals to prevent the loss of residential neighborhoods to AirBnB
  • Fully fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Reform our TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds to fund housing instead of the Council continuing to fund more big businesses
  • Create renter protections to lower barriers to renting and to help people stay in their rentals

  Missoulians looking for places to live are intimately aware of our housing crisis, being more dire now than ever before. 53% of Missoulians are renters, while our City Council is made up of almost entirely homeowners. As a renter, I feel the pressure of all of the barriers for renting in Missoula, and I intend to do everything we can to ensure we pass bold solutions to these barriers. If elected, I will likely be the only renter to represent us on City Council.

Affordable, adequate, and secure housing is a building block for the health of our community. We have a moral obligation to ensure Missoulians can keep their housing and to ensure unhoused Missoulians have access to secure and adequate housing. Our City Council must decide that housing is a human right worth that investment. Our community has the compassion and drive to solve our housing crisis, and we need City Council members who are willing to make these policy solutions a reality. 

Missoula can’t wait any longer to take the necessary steps; our time for action is now. I am asking for your support in the City Council election this year.