We must work together to solve Montana’s housing crisis. Affordable housing is increasingly unavailable to the middle class, affecting both rural and urban communities and making it difficult for employers to hire workers, who struggle to find housing.
The reasons for this crisis are manifold: the housing stock has grown more slowly than the population growth of our state; low interest rates encourage second home buyers to compete with assets for homes; the success of companies like AirBNB limits the supply of residential accommodation; and the prevalence of “cash” offers are blocking those in need of mortgage financing. And now more: the loss of many basement apartments at Red Lodge due to flooding.
Governor Greg Gianforte has convened a task force to deal with this crisis, hoping for an answer by October. Yet his actions come after he vetoed House Bill 397, a bipartisan bill that would have provided developers with tax credits to support workforce housing. Hopefully he is now more open-minded to this well-recognized approach, which is supported by state Democrats. In contrast, the Republican Party platform does not even mention affordable housing as an issue.
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Republicans passed a bill in 2021 prohibiting municipalities from requiring developers to include affordable housing in their projects. Again, very harmful to the housing of the workforce.
As a candidate for the Montana House of Representatives, I see a role for the state government in the fight against middle-class housing. I will initiate and support all efforts to resolve this complex issue.