New developments aim to ease Bozeman’s affordable housing crisis

June 20, 2022

Montana Lending

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The Perennial Park development recently opened behind Lowe’s just off North 19th Ave. (Frank Eltman/MTFP)

BOZEMAN — The first time Anna Stone met “Randy” in 2019, he was sleeping under a bridge. She recalled that he seemed to have psychological problems and was not interested in help from a stranger. Their introduction did not go well.

They met again in May 2020 when Stone, the housing case coordinator at the Human Resources Development Council, found him at a hotel for people over 65 who might be vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Randy,” who didn’t want his full name used for this story, slowly built a relationship of trust with Stone, who for two years worked with him to transition from homelessness.

Il sera bientôt le dernier résident à emménager dans un nouveau lotissement de 96 logements fondés sur le revenu pour adultes de plus de 55 ans appelé Perennial Park. This is the last effort of those responsible to put at least a small breach in the emerging problem of affordable housing in the region.

“Knowing that last summer he was sleeping on the floor in Lindley Park and that this summer he’s going to be in an air-conditioned room with [donated]

Depuis fin avril, des camions de déménagement déchargent les affaires des nouveaux arrivants au parc Perennial, situé derrière Lowe’s juste à côté de la 19e avenue nord à Bozeman. It is part of a larger development which includes the adjacent Arrowleaf project of 136 units, which is oriented towards families.

Also on the property are what turned out to be two key components of the $69 million project needed for Seattle-based developer GMD Development to comply with city zoning regulations.

The Community Health Partners building at the entrance to the property will provide medical, dental and mental health clinics, as well as a pharmacy, to residents of the Bozeman area. On the other side, Family Promise offers early childhood learning.

Residents of Perennial Park and Arrowleaf must meet income criteria below 60% of the region’s median income: $41,760 for an individual and $59,640 for a family of four.

In a city where one-bedroom apartments typically rent for nearly $2,000, eligible residents of Perennial Park apartments pay $1,119 for a one-bedroom apartment; $1,342 for two bedrooms; and $1,551 for a three-bedroom, said HRDC associate director Tracy Menuez.

Menuez said the people who need affordable housing the most are “the people who feed Bozeman.” Elle a noté que la plus récente évaluation régionale des besoins en logement a déterminé que le comté de Gallatin avait besoin de 6 000 unités supplémentaires.

“If you want to go out to dinner, they work in the restaurant. If you want to go to the house supplies store, it is the people who work at the counter, working the floor, “she said. “My God, these are the people who teach your children.”

In addition to access to childcare and health services, the development is within walking distance of a supermarket and other retail outlets and restaurants along a busy stretch of 19th Avenue. .

“J’adore ça”, a déclaré Bonnie Budd, une brigadière scolaire à la retraite et sauveteuse qui déplaçait ses affaires d’un camion U-Haul un matin récent. “New people are moving in and I can’t wait to have a whole new life.”

Bozeman Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham said the development was made possible through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s low-income tax credit scheme. Le programme fournit des subventions fédérales aux promoteurs en échange d’une garantie qu’ils maintiendront les loyers en dessous de 60% du revenu médian de la région.

He also recognized an acute need for affordable housing in Bozeman.

“Chaque jour, vous entendez des histoires de gens qui disent:” J’adorerais être ici, c’est ma ville de prédilection et, malheureusement, le marché du logement n’est pas celui que je peux gérer. “”

Cunningham said these feelings are “heartbreaking for anyone, especially for people who care about the city”.

The city contributed $500,000 from its community housing fund to help complete the project, Cunningham said. He said the 232 units in the two developments provide affordable housing for 400 to 500 people.

“Nous perdons des logements abordables chaque fois qu’un parc de maisons mobiles est démoli, chaque fois qu’une subvention du HUD expire”, a-t-il déclaré. “So being able to say, ‘Boom, here’s 232 units that can solve the problems of 400 to 500 people’, you know, that’s huge.”

Seattle-based GMD Development partner Steve Dymoke said his firm relied exclusively on the low-income tax credit system to develop projects like the Arrowhead/Perennial Park property.

Il a déclaré que la société avait développé le projet Larkspur Commons à Bozeman il y a plusieurs années et venait récemment de clôturer son 10e projet dans le Montana. GMD has also developed affordable housing projects in Alaska, Washington and Idaho.

He said the $500,000 Bozeman donated for the Arrowhead/Perennial Park project was a key factor.

“You know, it may seem like a small percentage, but it plays an outsized role in feasibility,” he said. «Cela a vraiment conclu l’affaire, et au-delà de cela, cela signale vraiment à nos investisseurs, nos prêteurs, que la ville s’engage en quelque sorte à la soutenir financièrement. That’s a really strong vote of support.”

Dymoke praised Bozeman’s Rotherham Construction, which was responsible for building the complex. He said that despite COVID-19 challenges and supply chain issues, Rotherham “really managed to deliver on time overall. It’s really been impressive.”

Although residents are moving forward since the end of April, Dymoke said that a major opening celebration is scheduled for the site on June 8.

“If you had three wishes from the Affordable Housing Genius, this would be at the top of your wish list,” Cunningham said. “I can’t think of a project that has met so many community needs in one project. It’s really unique.