Homeword is committed to providing safe, healthy affordable homes using sustainable methods and promoting strong communities through housing counseling and education for those most in need.

Montana Solutions

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
Montana Solutions

Story after story about high home prices and low wages can be discouraging. But it’s important to remember that there are Montana solutions to these Montana challenges that we can be a part of.

Montana’s real estate market can be one of opportunity for everybody. Our communities can be welcoming places where Veterans returning from service can have homes and raise their families. They can be supportive places where our elders can continue to live healthily. And they can be safe places where kids eat dinner, learn, spend time with family and play with neighbors.

When people can afford their homes, the economic and social return provides benefit for us all.  People living within their means can become more involved in local groups, associations and neighborhoods. Small businesses reap the benefit of stable workers and people spending locally.

Effective community planning and policy needs our engagement to best serve Montanans. I urge you to seek out those engagement opportunities in your community so that each Montana child, Veteran and senior has a safe place to call home.

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Changing the lives of Montanans

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
Changing the lives of Montanans

I never cease to be reminded of why we do this work that you help make possible. Recently I struck up a conversation with a man and learned he was about to get knee surgery through the Veterans Administration. Through years of service and work, his knee wore out. He later fell on hard times when he returned from serving our country, eventually becoming homeless. But that all changed – largely because he was fortunate to receive a Section 8 housing voucher and find a home he could afford. He was glowing as he told me about his current job, the second job he’s about to apply for and his “family” of neighbors at the apartment building he calls home. This kind of story we hear often. The work we do changes lives – the lives of Veterans, children, seniors – the lives of Montanans. Thank you!

Demand for our services and expertise is at an all-time high. I'm writing you at a time when people’s ability to afford their homes is a pressing concern for communities across our region. I find myself in conversation with CEO's of hospitals, Executive Directors of nonprofits serving abused and neglected kids, and small business owners – to name a few. They all point to a lack of homes people can afford as a critical issue affecting their client base, their workforce and business growth. The good news is there are important steps we can take together to change this in Montana.

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Fighting for Montana Families

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
Fighting for Montana Families

I am thankful for the positive outcomes that many Montana families experienced through our successful programs and developments over the past year. Grandparents, parents and kids – whole families and single people – are positively affected every day by having a dignified home they can afford and having confidence and knowledge to make wise financial decisions for their future.

As major Federal Tax Reform is being considered, the tax credit programs we use to leverage private dollars to fund this work are at risk of being cut entirely, which will inhibit our ability to continue to provide homes Montanans can afford. We have shared with our Representative and Senators how these federal programs spur economic development in Montana, and without them hard working people will be negatively impacted. We can’t do it alone and encourage you to share your opinion by contacting your representatives.

In Montana, that includes Representative Greg Gianforte, Senator Steve Daines, and Senator Jon Tester.

We are going to continue to fight for what’s right for Montana families and hope you’ll do the same. Thank you!

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Vote for Homeword daily through June 20!

Missoula Federal Credit Union is giving back through its annual Giving Together contest, which we are thrilled to be a part of. Now through June 20, MFCU members can vote once a day to help us win $25,000. With that we can serve over 300 people through homebuyer education and one-on-one counseling as they determine whether purchase a home. The prize money could also help build a safe playground for children who live at one of our beautiful, affordable rental properties. 

If you're an MFCU member, please vote each day and encourage others to join you.

Your vote for Homeword will help people like Jessa and her family have stable finances and safe places to call home.

Email jessica@homeword.org to sign up for daily email reminders to vote.

Thank you!

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The Importance of Education

  • posted by Jessica Burson
The Importance of Education

- by guest writer Lisa Swallow

I have been involved with Homeword since 2005, when a dear old college friend, Josh Slotnick, asked me to join the Board of Directors. As a professor in both sustainable business and accounting, and an advocate for homes people can afford, the fit was immediately apparent. I am a big believer in education around financial fitness and asset building, and strongly support the connection between security in one’s home (and life) and learning how to budget, save, set goals and the like. I was involved with the earliest Financial Fitness classes and really enjoyed watching our clients prosper and become empowered around taking charge of their own finances. I continue to support Homeword both personally and professionally, celebrating the success their clients experience and knowing it will benefit them for years to come.

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Making a Difference for Montanans

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
Making a Difference for Montanans

Thank you for another great year of creating significant impacts and providing hope to Montanans! Together we brought 163 healthy, affordable homes to Missoula and Bozeman. We launched a rental education and counseling program that addressed a serious bottleneck of need. Our HomeOwnership Center has now served over 12,000 people – 930 of those during the last fiscal year. Homeword has properties in 11 communities around the state and over 850 Montanans live in beautiful, dignified housing as a result. 39% of those are children, 13% are seniors and 1 in 6 is living with a disability. The real message here is not the data; but the knowledge we are making a big difference for everyone.

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A Season of Thankfulness

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
A Season of Thankfulness

Looking back on what we've accomplished this year, our hearts are full of gratitude for your support and partnership that helps us serve Montanans.

The November issue of our newsletter a powerful as we reflect on the past year and recognize the positive outcomes you have helped create for people across Montana.

And Jessa’s story in our Annual Report is an example of how safe, healthy housing that people can afford helped create a community that empowered her to make decisions which ultimately improved her health and family and advanced her career.

Additionally, our housing and education programs provide people with a foundation that empowers them to create a path to brighter futures.

I believe that, when given the opportunity, people strive to flourish. When we flourish, we add value to the world.

Thank you for making these things possible for our friends and neighbors and for standing with us as we create sustainable communities for all!

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Missoula Property Management Information

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
Missoula Property Management Information

Friends,

You may have read or heard about this article in Wednesday's Missoulian newspaper: http://bit.ly/2bKhZXS

I want you to know that Homeword remains steadfast in its commitment to provide Montanans with safe, healthy, affordable housing.

We own several affordable housing properties in Missoula, which Tamarack manages. Under the terms of the management contract, Tamarack is responsible for ensuring resident compliance with the lease, inclusive of collecting rents, late fees and other assessed charges in a timely manner.

We take these concerns of our residents very seriously. We have been working closely with Tamarack to ensure that each resident who received a notice from the Tamarack office this week clearly understands the reason for the communication.

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Who lives in affordable housing?

  • posted by Jessica Burson
  • Featured Posts
Who lives in affordable housing?

People often ask, “Who lives at your affordable housing properties?” It’s an excellent question and one we’re happy to answer.

It’s pretty simple - community members live there. Mothers. Fathers. Sons. Daughters. Grandparents. They are part of our communities just as you are. Our housing is home to a variety of people. Many work jobs that pay low to moderate wages, such as teachers, nurses, law enforcement, retail workers and bus drivers. Others are retired, veterans or have disabilities and are living on fixed incomes such as Social Security, which is often $1,200 per month or less. About 1/3 of the residents who live at our properties in Missoula are children. For all of these people, safe and healthy housing that they can afford provides a platform for the other areas of their lives.

Residents of our properties enjoy having their friends and family over for dinner. They celebrate special occasions together in the community rooms. They walk their service animals around the property and use the bike and walking trails to get around.They grow tomatoes and strawberries, go to school, volunteer for local causes and help their kids with homework. They value community and are active and integrated into the areas where they live.

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The Cost of Living Challenge

  • posted by Jessica Burson
  • Featured Posts
The Cost of Living Challenge

With a minimum wage of $8.05 an hour and many jobs offering $10.00 an hour, it’s easy to see how Missoula’s mean wage is $9.65 an hour. What’s perhaps not as apparent is the challenge people living on $10.00 an hour face in an area with high housing and other living costs.

Did you know that HUD defines housing costs as affordable when you spend 30% or less of your income on housing? Yet 42% of Missoulians spend more than 30%. And 21% of them spend over 50% of their income on housing. How is this possible? Because at the mean wage of $9.65 (which we’ve rounded to $10.00 on the worksheet), housing costs would have to be $502.00 per month to be “affordable”. Yet the average 2 bedroom apartment in Missoula is $905.00. And even studios and 1 bedrooms average $700.00-$800.00 per month – much more than affordable for someone earning $10.00 an hour.

Let’s take the Cost of Living Challenge, shall we?

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