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

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
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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
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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
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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
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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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