NewsMissoula County


Affordable housing, homelessness key issues in Missoula mayor race

voter signs
John Engen
Jacob Elder
Posted at 4:29 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 12:29:31-04

MISSOULA — The field has been narrowed to a pair of finalists and we expect to hear a lot about the housing crisis in the Missoula mayor's race in the coming weeks.

John Engen

Both incumbent John Engen and challenger Jacob Elder see affordable housing -- and homelessness -- as the city's key issue for the remaining campaign.

Engen swept to victory with just over 51% of Tuesday's primary vote, while Elder finished second with 26%, knocking Shawn Knopp and Greg Strandberg out of the race.

Jacob Elder
Jacob Elder announcing that he will run for mayor of Missoula on April 23, 2021.

Missoula's housing shortage and the increasing problem of homelessness have already been making headlines for the past year. And both incumbent and challenger see that as the top campaign issue for November.

"It's an issue for everyone and homelessness goes hand-in-hand. How do we support folks who are unhoused? And how do we ensure that working families in our community have a chance to purchase a home, enjoy middle class lifestyle, build equity and fully participate in the community." - Mayor John Engen
"I think again we have a housing crisis that no one can say otherwise about. So I think that's going to be something we really dig deep into. But also we have a homelessness crisis and rising crime rate and all these things that I think are going to be very, very crucial issues to talk about." - Jacob Elder

Elder is hoping he and Engen will be able to have an "in-person" debate before the November vote.