NewsMissoula County


Missoula unveils new housing policy

Posted at 7:23 AM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 09:23:37-04

MISSOULA – Missoula’s new housing policy includes proposals ranging from building code changes to possible taxpayer help — but city officials say this is just a first step to solving the problem.

Hundreds of Missoulians spoke out at Monday night’s city council meeting about affordable housing issues and after hearing residents’ stories and listening to the proposed plan, the city council approved a new housing policy.

The policy — “A Place to Call Home: Meeting Missoula’s Housing Needs” — is 95 pages of code changes, programs, and policies.

Missoula Housing and Community Development Director Eran Pehan says the policy is the first step to fixing the housing problems.

“We like to point out that any one neighborhood shouldn’t have to experience radical or dramatic change to be part of the solution,” Pehan said.

“But that any one neighborhood is also not exempt from being part of that solution. We look forward to continuing to work with all Missoulians on ensuring everyone has a place to call home,” she added.

Pehan and her team are now working on the Implementation process.

Four major action areas guide the policy. Basically, finding and allocating funds, an building more affordable housing units.

First up is leveraging existing funding — and establishing a housing trust fund.

“Today, we’re not proposing any kind of a levy or a bond or a tax increase, but we identify that as a source we
should research and we could consider in the future,” Pehan said.

Along the lines of building affordable housing, the plan looks at creating more of a supply and that means allowing Accessory Dwelling Units to be built on infill lots.

“for individuals who have housing today and they’re concerned about how the policy may impact them. We would
encourage them to become a part of that conversation and start to think about how we can make sure that
Missoula is a welcoming place for everyone who wants to live here.”

The policy also encourages the preservation of existing affordable homes — such as mobile home parks.

Pehan says the trust fund would be operated as a revolving loan and have a competitive application process. Code changes also will be part of annual Title 20 updates.