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.

Building Community

  • posted by Andrea Davis
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Building Community

Thanks to you, we are in the stride of our 21st year and growing as an organization. I want to take this opportunity to share with you about the impact we are having together throughout Montana as well as our strategy, financing and vision. Your support contributes to the overall strength of Homeword and, ultimately, the health of Montana families. Since 1994, we’ve developed nearly 700 units of affordable housing that are home to thousands of Montanans and served over 11,000 people through our HomeOwnership Center programs. Both of these have incredible ripple effects throughout our state. The investments we make today will not only build essential housing with sustainable methods, but will also teach people skills that will help make their way of life one that can be sustained well into the future. This is how we create sustainable communities.

 

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Affordable housing – what does that really mean?

  • posted by Jessica Burson
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Affordable housing – what does that really mean?

Do you think it’s affordable to spend more than 30% of your gross income on your housing? Neither does HUD. Which is why HUD defines affordable housing as not spending more than 30% of gross income on housing.

Mortgage lenders recommend about 30% as a cap for people looking to buy a home for the same reason. They want to be sure the people they’re loaning to can afford to pay back their mortgage and not go into foreclosure, which could be detrimental for business, homeowners and the local economy.

It only stands to reason that all people, whether renters or homeowners, should be able to afford their housing as well as other necessities.

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10 Years of Partnership with Garden City Harvest

  • posted by Andrea Davis
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10 Years of Partnership with Garden City Harvest

This September we will celebrate a ten year partnership with Garden City Harvest at our Orchard Gardens property. It’s hard to believe that a decade has gone by but I can remember Homeword visioning this project starting back in 2001.

Through our community design charrette (brainstorming session) we listened to the concerns and ideas of neighbors and the greater community. This valuable input influenced the unique design and special zoning district applied to this four (4) acre parcel where we appropriately increased the density to match districts nearby and permanently protected open space and agriculture. Orchard Gardens is built in the Orchard Homes neighborhood – a neighborhood rich in agricultural history.

We wanted to model appropriate development at the edge of urban services. We desired to demonstrate a project that provided both housing and food security because often people struggle to provide both for their families when living with limited incomes.

We found the right partner in Garden City Harvest (GCH). They are as dedicated as Homeword is in building community.

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HOME Funds in Jeopardy

  • posted by Andrea Davis
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HOME Funds in Jeopardy

Critical funding for affordable housing in Montana and across the country is on the chopping block.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed an average 93% decrease of HOME funds in June. If this bill is passed by the full Senate, and with Montana slated to receive a 95% cut, it could be disastrous for millions across the nation as well as thousands of people in our state.

Did you know that Montana’s budget doesn’t include funds for building affordable housing and that the HOME program administered by HUD provides the bulk of gap funding for affordable housing for Montanans? As an illustration, HOME funds are projected to cover a gap of approximately $1,000,000 for Sweetgrass Commons, our upcoming 26-unit affordable housing project in Missoula. A 95% reduction in support for affordable housing like Sweetgrass Commons, for instance, would leave only $50,000 in HOME funds for much-needed housing. There’s no way, as generous as they are, that our donors can fill a $950,000 gap in one, two or even five years.

Without sufficient HOME funds, Homeword will be forced to greatly reduce the number and rate of safe, affordable homes we provide to Montanans. This comes at a time when community leaders are pleading for us to increase our affordable housing around the state because their communities lack safe, decent places for people to live.

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Celebrating HomeOwnership Month

  • posted by Jessica Burson
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Celebrating HomeOwnership Month

Listening to Ann Quirk share her homebuying story during our annual Donor Appreciation Luncheon on June 16, we were struck by how much pride she had in accomplishing her dream of homeownership and how she intentionally upgraded her home using sustainable materials.

June is National Homeownership Month. We are celebrating the success of many people like Ann who have achieved their dream of homeownership. We believe that everyone deserves access to good quality, affordable housing. Use of sustainable materials and methods is also something we greatly value, because it impacts the world around us. Whether you rent or own, your home provides a solid foundation to build a brighter future, from building assets to having a safe place to live and spend time with friends and family.

Ann said of her experience with our Get Ready for HomeOwnership class, “My story of becoming a homeowner is a pretty unique one. I actually started out in this very room, presenting to the first time homebuyers before I became a homeowner myself.

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Give Local on May 5

  • posted by Jessica Burson
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Give Local on May 5

Give Local on May 5 and help domestic violence survivors, single moms and other parents in our community!

There is a need to support unfunded financial literacy workshops for people in the Missoula community who are most at risk so that they can also have hope for themselves and their families.

Every day, a domestic violence survivor wonders how to move forward with her life. Her abuser had control over her home, her security and her finances. Our free financial literacy workshops can teach her how to make smart decisions with her money and give her hope for the future.

Each morning, parents send their kids to local schools. Faced with housing, utility, food and other expenses, they must learn to make the most of their limited resources. Our free financial literacy workshops can teach them how to create realistic budgets so they can provide for their families.

Every night, single moms kiss their babies good night and dream of making the world a better place for their children. Our free financial literacy workshops can teach them how to budget, create a savings plan and build their credit.

You can help with a gift to Homeword’s free financial literacy workshops. We teach these free workshops onsite at local agencies where people are already receiving services, such as Mountain Home Montana and Lowell School. They learn how to budget, create a savings plan, build or repair their credit and avoid predatory lending.

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Helping Montanans achieve financial and family stability

Homeword has been a member of the Montana Financial Education Coalition (MFEC) for many years. The MFEC began in 2004. It is a collection of Montana’s financial institutions, government and nonprofit organizations, businesses and interested community members who believe that financial literacy is essential to self-sufficiency and economic advancement.

People who have more confidence in managing their money, balancing their budget and building a realistic plan for homeownership see many benefits. They can use these skills to achieve financial and family stability. They’re able to keep from losing their homes to foreclosure. They can create a clear path to save for future goals, while providing for their children.

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My Project Homeless Connect Experience

I was honored to be a part of Project Homeless Connect in Missoula on January 30. This 9th annual event put on by the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative provided people who are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless with about 75 resources in a central location on one day. From identification cards to haircuts, dental exams, credit reports and pet vaccinations, it was wonderful to see so many service organizations reaching out in significant ways to people most in need during this event in addition to the work they do on a daily basis.

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A Season of Thankfulness

  • posted by Andrea Davis
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A Season of Thankfulness

Kim Skufca and Andrea Davis pictured at Homeword's 20th Celebration

There is much to look back on and be thankful for after 20 years, most of all the people we've met along the way. I’m thankful for the clients and residents we’ve served. Like my friend, Kim Skufca, who first lived in our affordable housing 16 years ago. It’s been our pleasure to offer people like Kim housing and education. And they’ve helped us better understand the needs of working Montanans.

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Celebrating Homeword’s 20th

  • posted by Andrea Davis
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Celebrating Homeword’s 20th

You have been a part of Homeword's history over the last 20 years and we're excited to celebrate our 20th anniversary with you.

This important milestone is a big deal for any business or organization. In 1994 we started out building two strawbale homes on a ground lease and sold those to people earning moderate wages. Shortly after, in 1997 we began providing homebuyer education and housing counseling to help people make one of the biggest decisions - and investments - of their lives.

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