GREAT FALLS — Great Falls - like many Montana towns, especially during the pandemic - is growing, with an influx of people moving into the city - and they need places to live.
A housing study commissioned by the Great Falls Development Authority shows there’s an immediate need for more housing. The study says the city needs about 450 new units every year for the next ten years.
“Looking around since I’ve been here for just about a week, looking for something for my own family to rent while we’re here waiting for that property to open, it’s been crazy. There’s not a lot of housing,” Revelle said. “It’s been a little rough. We’ve looked at several places. We do also have a pet, so I think that also brings in some challenges when you’re looking for something to rent anywhere you’re looking. There’s just not a ton of things available right now. Not in Great Falls, and I think that’s kind of throughout Montana. We just moved from Billings, and it’s the same thing there. The housing market is kind of scarce.”
NeighborWorks was also involved in commissioning the housing study. They have several ongoing projects and aim to help make as many housing options as possible available to those who need it.
NeighborWorks director Sherrie Arey says Great Falls has an old housing stock; she estimates about 70% of homes in town were built before 1980 and even those properties are climbing in price.
“We have such an old housing stock in Great Falls, and it’s always been fairly affordable but we’re even seeing that now just skyrocketing and go out of pace with peoples’ salaries. What we’re really seeing is a need for diversity in homes,” Arey said. “It can’t just be a three-bedroom rental, or it can’t just be a single-family home. Maybe it’s a duplex, maybe it’s different garden style apartments, or midrise apartments four to five stories high. There’s got to be some different ways to bring affordability to our community.”
The 216-unit apartment complex will feature studio apartments and one- and two-bedroom units, according to planning documents. The plans say the complex will feature nine 24-unit buildings, a clubhouse and fitness center, and a pool. The first phase is scheduled to open in the summer of 2022.
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