Homeword uses sustainable methods to provide safe, healthy homes people can afford and strengthens community through housing counseling and education for those in need.

Financial Resilience - Increase Your Cash

Katie Sadowski, our Financial Educator, compiled these tips to help you increase your cash and boost your financial resilience.

  1. Sell something - Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or consignment stores are all good local options. Look around to see if there are any household items you don’t use anymore.
  2. Return recent purchases - Consider those needs versus wants, and if you made any recent purchases that you don’t need consider returning.
  3. Cut living expenses - Track spending and cut down
  4. Think about getting a trusted roommate if possible
  5. No income requirements to use the Missoula Food Bank
  6. Ask for an employer advance - You don’t know what is possible till you ask!
  7. Apply for a credit card  - Having a credit card for emergencies is better than an unacceptable high interest pay day loan (can be up to 600% APR). See if you qualify for a credit card if you don’t already have one. Explore options with no or low fees and keep your balance below 30% so you don’t negatively impact your credit. Shop Credit Cards by category.
  8. Look for a second job - Especially right now, some folks are dealing with job suspension due to restaurant and bar closures. Check out your local grocery stores as many of them are dealing with a huge influx of customers and need support. Also, contact your local temp agency to see if anyone is hiring.
  9. File your tax return. Montana property tax assistance helps homeowners on a fixed or limited income by reducing the property tax rate on their home. 
  10. Modify wage withholding with your employer - Ask your payroll department what route is best to do this
  11. Apply for unemployment insurance if your hours are cut by even 3 hours a week - Use the online portal to start a claim. You MUST report every week and if you don’t you might have to wait another “waiting period” week.
  12. Ask for a family loan or gift
  13. Take loan out on 401K Retirement, ROTH Basis Distribution

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Financial Resilience - Paying Bills

  • posted by Jessica Burson
Financial Resilience - Paying Bills

If you're worried you can’t pay your bills or are current unable to pay bills, here are some tips to help boost your financial resilience.

Action Step 1: Take an inventory of what you own and what you owe. Homeword’s Personal Financial Statement (available via our Financial Fitness class) includes a review of your net monthly income (what are you actually bringing home in a paycheck) and vehicles, real estate, cash value on life insurance, etc.

Action Step 2: Look at what life costs your household per month. Print out last month’s transactions from your checking account and or credit cards. Homeword’s Monthly Budget (available via our Financial Fitness class) encourages you to track what you actually spent each month on things like groceries, fun money, heat, etc. This helps you be realistic about your costs and get creative about where you can cut.

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Building Healthy Places, Hearts and Minds

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
Building Healthy Places, Hearts and Minds

Thank you for helping us strengthen Montana Communities over the past 25 years! Our journey began with women and families expressing their need for homes they could afford, built to live lightly on the earth. And for empowering those living with lower wages, some while raising children, all with the goal of obtaining a good life.  

We started as a program in Missoula with one staff person. Now we are a statewide organization with 12 dedicated team members and a $1 million operating budget. You’ve helped us create more than 1,100 homes in 11 communities where 2,000 people, including 622 children, sleep each night. You’ve also helped empower 15,500 people through homebuyer education and financial skill building. Wow! And thank you!

Our 25-year timeline shows our strategies have changed, yet the importance of empowering our neighbors has not. The pressure on our neighbors and demand for our work continues to grow. Thanks to you, we’ve been at the table, helping lead the conversation to find solutions that strengthen our communities. You help us undertake innovative projects and programs that build healthy places, hearts and minds.

Homeword persistently elevates the conversation about the challenges created by high costs of living and the benefits of people being able to afford their homes. This is an unprecedented time of recognition that the ability to afford a home and other costs of living is essential to the health and stability of our communities.

That said, collectively we all have much to do to ensure policymakers and those with financial influence embrace policies and initiatives that create equitable opportunities for all.

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25 Years of Changing the Lives of Montanans

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
25 Years of Changing the Lives of Montanans

This October we celebrated our 25th Anniversary at the beautiful Ten Spoon Winery in Missoula. Past and current staff, board members and supporters gathered to raise a glass and toast to the successes we’ve had together in strengthening Montana communities. 

Ren Essene, our founding Director, joined us along with Maureen Rude from NeighborWorks Montana. Together, we shared Homeword’s origin story and set the stage for Homeword’s path to continue creating sustainable communities for all. 

We also had the honor of hearing Karsten Campbell share about her confident decision to purchase a Montana Street home for her family because of opportunities you helped make possible.

This timeline illustrates our history and shows that, while our strategies have changed, the importance of empowering our neighbors has not. 

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Celebrating 25 Years

  • posted by Andrea Davis
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Celebrating 25 Years

Ah, the fall season. A time that allows us to slow down from the fervor of summer activities. To reflect and rejuvenate. Our staff and Board have been engaging in strategic planning, taking this time to reflect on our past 25 years and envision our future.

This year we celebrated reaching over 1,000 homes across Montana (1,102!). We’re also under construction in Livingston and Whitefish, the 12th and 13th communities where we’ve built or preserved homes Montanans can afford.

Our Regional HomeOwnership Center in Missoula celebrated empowering more than 15,000 people to better their financial futures through knowledge and skills they’ve gained.

25 years ago, we were a staff of one and began a project through which women living on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) were empowered through education and counseling to purchase one of four townhomes in Missoula as part of a lease to own program.

We’ve celebrated many successes since then, now with 12 employees, thanks to people like you who recognize the strength in joining together to create a brighter future for all.

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Homes for our Veterans, seniors, workers and children

Sitting down to write this letter after one of the coldest February’s I can remember, I am so grateful I have a warm home of my own, a good job and healthy food to eat. A weather episode like that – that we’re still in as I write this - is a reminder to me of how vulnerable life can be, but also how interdependent we are. And that certainly is a reminder of why this work that you help make possible is so incredibly important. 

Collectively, we’ve gone beyond identifying we have a problem. There is more dialog than ever before about why our real estate market is out of reach and what we can do about it. Thanks to you, Homeword has been at the table, helping lead the conversation to find solutions that make our communities strong. Your support helps us continue to undertake innovative projects and programs that build healthy places, hearts and minds.

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2018 Reflections

  • posted by Andrea Davis
  • Featured Posts
2018 Reflections

My heart is full thinking about all the people who make this work possible and the impact they have daily in the lives of thousands of Montanans.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work in a field where I know my efforts make a difference.

The staff and Board of Homeword, the people who support us and those who participate with us are community heroes.

As 2018 ends, we celebrate Brendan’s wide-spread contributions and recognize his passion for helping people smartly buy their first home. We wish Brendan and Chester all the best in their next adventure and welcome new members to the Homeword family - Julie Pavlish as Homebuyer Educator and new Board Members Bryan Flaherty and Cola Rowley.

We also acknowledge the contributions of many in our 2018 Annual Report.

Thank you for all you do improve the lives of Montana workers, seniors, Veterans and children.

Wishing you a healthy and abundant 2019!

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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
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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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