BUTTE - It’s rare to see "For Sale" signs in Butte lately, that’s why city officials have formed a special committee to address the lack of affordable housing in the Mining City.
“We’re seeing rents go up, we’re seeing people displaced out of rental units and people that just can’t afford the cost of their housing right now,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.
The city has formed a 12-member Affordable Housing Advisory Board made up of public and private figures to try to resolve this issue.
Some ideas include pushing for the development of a new subdivision, building more affordable housing, and converting some county-owned buildings into apartments.
“We have a larger elderly population here in Butte, we have a little bit higher poverty rates here in Butte, so we want to make sure we’re addressing the needs of everybody,” said Gallagher.
Montana Tech students like Will Parker of Idaho said he had a very difficult time finding housing.
He feels fortunate he was able to finally find an Airbnb to stay in with four other students.
“Very lucky, very lucky, yeah. We would always put in for all the apartments, but those don’t open up too much. We started looking probably like two months early before school’s even out and we still couldn’t find anything,” said Parker.
“We want to make sure we’re not forcing people out of our community, because it’s unaffordable to own a house or rent in our local community," Gallagher added.
The committee plans to meet once a month and the public is invited. Officials have not yet set a date for the September meeting.