Jul 26, 2022
Affordable Housing: A Strong Foundation for Community Health
“When it comes down to it, the health and wellbeing of all of our families, and our communities, our businesses, and our economy rely on affordable and attainable housing.” – Governor Gianforte, First Meeting of Housing Task Force, July 20, 2022
We at Headwaters Foundation wholeheartedly agree with this quote from Governor Gianforte! Our neighborhoods – the places we live, work, and play – serve as the foundation for our individual health and wellbeing. That foundation starts with access to safe, stable, and affordable housing.
In our conversations with partners, one of the most consistent messages we hear in every community is the need for affordable housing. In Headwaters Foundation’s service area, population growth during the pandemic has been especially acute – Western Montana has 45% of the state population but experienced 70% of the in-migration to Montana from 2020 to 2021, which has exacerbated pressures on home affordability
Headwaters Foundation applauds Governor Gianforte’s leadership in establishing the Housing Task Force and his charge to ‘leave no stone unturned’ as the Task Force looks at causes of and solutions to the housing crisis in Montana and drafts its recommendations to the Governor and Legislature, due this fall.
At Headwaters, we believe that the people living and working in our communities have the answers to the deepest issues facing Western Montana’s children and families. We encourage the Task Force members to listen to community and seek out the expertise of local organizations and community leaders who have been working on these issues for decades. Headwaters is proud to support community organizations doing the hard work on-the-ground to give all Montanans an opportunity for safe, stable, and affordable housing.
- The North Missoula Community Development Corporation develops affordable housing and communities of opportunity in Missoula using innovative approaches including community land trusts, housing cooperatives, and neighborhood organizing.
- The Poverello Center is the largest homeless shelter in the state and currently exploring ways to provide permanent supportive housing to transition individuals to safe, stable, and affordable housing.
- For a helpful summary and examples of strategies used in other communities, check out the Montana Budget & Policy Center’s 2018 summary of strategies to improve housing affordability.
If you missed the first meeting of the Task Force, you can view a recording and sign up for notifications of future meetings on the Task Force website. Do you want to raise your voice about housing in your community? You can share your thoughts with the Task Force through their public comment form.