The effort to provide affordable housing for any community in Montana is complicated.
The Housing Coordinating Team offers the following step-by-step process to you. We believe it will empower you with a better understanding of the tools available to you, it will save you time and money by avoiding costly mistakes, it will help you reach your ultimate goal of providing quality affordable housing as quickly as possible.
Please remember, you are welcome to stop and contact the Technical Assistance Team at any time during this process for advice and guidance. Send questions to housingTA@mt.gov
Review the vast array of programs, resources and financing options available to you.
This can be a daunting task to attempt alone; this guided tour will make sure you find all the information you need. After you learn what is available, you will be better equipped to ask for specific guidance to put your affordable housing plan together.
Find existing housing information for your community.
Determine what is happening now; are there any other housing projects under way? Determine what has been tried recently; have other projects tried and failed? Why? What is the first, initial reaction of key local leaders and groups in response to a plan to address the community's affordable housing needs?
Meet with key local officials and organizations.
Determine what local support you can expect; your project will not succeed without community support.
Undertake a conference call or meeting with the Technical Assistance Team.
At this point you are going to be better informed about the task ahead of you. It may seem overwhelming, but we will answer any questions you have, correct any misconceptions, suggest additional possibilities, and help you see your way forward.
Conduct a Housing Needs Survey and Analysis for your community.
Housing is expensive to build, you can't afford to build housing that will not sell or rent. Also, the housing program applications will ask you to prove an assessment of the need for and the demand for your housing.
Share the results of your Housing Needs Survey with your community.
Consider presenting the results of your housing needs survey to the public - starting with local elected officials and other key community leaders. Sponsoring a community "open house", publishing articles in your local newspaper, or making presentations to your local community groups and service organizations are some methods by which the results of your survey can be shared with your community.
Prepare a detailed Feasibility Analysis for the housing activity that you might undertake.
The Feasibility Analysis is where approximate project cost estimates are put down on paper and compared to anticipated project revenues (if applicable). This stage of the process will begin to give you an idea of the level of public subsidy (grants or low interest loans) that will be necessary to complete your project.
Contact the Technical Assistance Team for sample formats that would be applicable to your project.
Share the results of your Project Feasibility Study with local officials.
This step speaks for itself. Keep local, elected officials informed! Many housing assistance programs require formal sponsorship by a unit of general local government.
Establish the housing and project priorities for your community. Prepare a Housing Assistance Plan.
Here is the stage to pull everything together. By now you should be able to pull together your Housing Assistance Plan:
a) identifying your community affordable housing goals and objectives;
b) summarizing the existing affordable housing situation in your community
c) identifying particular housing needs
d) proposing possible affordable housing projects and related activities
e) identifying possible project grant and low interest loan funding sources, application timelines, and construction timetables, as applicable.
Apply to federal and state programs for funding assistance, as necessary.
Montana agencies have cooperated together to prepare a Uniform Application for Housing Assistance which contains "core" application elements common to all housing programs. Additional information must be added to the Uniform Application specific to each program.
Re-evalute the process for your community.
Re-evaluate and re-assess your progress! If the process appears to meet a stumbling block, re-examine the steps completed earlier. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat some of the steps or expand upon the efforts already completed.
Contact the Technical Assistance Team for advice, at any time.