Governor Hopes COVID Money Can Help Montana Housing Crisis
Everyone knows about the shortage of housing in Montana. You'd have to be living in a cave for the past couple of years to not see the skyrocketing costs. Rentals (affordable or otherwise) are in tight supply in much of the state. $500,000 is now barely considered a starter home price in cities like Bozeman, and even the Billings area has seen home values and rental prices climb dramatically.
In a Tweet today (11/16) Governor Greg Gianforte addressed the issue of housing demand in the Treasure State and sent a letter to Congress requesting modifications to the Emergency Rental Assistance fund to better help Montanans struggling with housing.
Nearly $180 million remains in the fund for Montana.
The Emergency Rental Assistance program was money allotted to help renters pay their rent if they lost their jobs or wages due to COVID. Montana received $200 million and launched our State ERA program in April 2021. Around 7,000 Montanan's utilized the program, to the tune of $22.5 million. Leaving a lot of federal cash on the table.
Gianforte hopes to ease access to ERA funds.
In his letter to Senator Steve Daines, Senator Jon Tester, and Representative Matt Rosendale, the Governor hopes Congress relaxes some of the restrictions and requirements currently needed to access the money for housing purposes in Montana. He wrote,
Specifically, the State asks for expanded eligible uses of ERA funds, to address the long-standing shortage of affordable housing and workforce housing.
Examples of what the State has in mind to help with the housing shortage were not outlined in the letter. An email to the Governor's Office requesting additional information was not immediately returned.
What do you think Montana should do with the funds?
- Offer more incentives to builders who provide affordable homes and rentals?
- Offer more/better first-time homebuyer assistance?
- Offer better homeownership opportunities for Natives?
- All of the above?
- None of the above?
Drop a Comment!