At a press conference in the Missoula County Courthouse on Tuesday, Missoula City and County officials unveiled an ambitious program to build rental homes for those on fixed incomes and for those experiencing chronic homelessness.

Director of Missoula Housing and Urban Development, Erin Pehan said the four acre development will be located near the Missoula County Detention Center on land that is being donated by Missoula County.

“We are moving towards a new development that will address the gaps that currently remain in the system for those experiencing chronic homelessness, and to address a problem so many know all too well that affordable rental homes are just too scarce in our community,” said Pehan. “This development will create over 200 permanently affordable rental homes for individuals and families with home set-asides as permanent supportive housing for those experiencing chronic homelessness.”

To facilitate the development, Pehan described what will be known as a Navigation Center.

“This service rich Navigation Center will provide health, behavioral health and support services for those living in homelessness, and also for people reentering the community from the criminal justice system,” she said. “The development will be funded through what are called ‘low income housing tax credits’, that bring in private investor equity for the construction of permanently deed-restricted affordable housing, and so that means this project does not rely on local taxpayers, but on private funds to be built.”

Pehan described the income eligibility for those who will apply for these rental properties.

“Income eligibility is set a 60 percent of area median income, which for an individual is around $30,000 a year, and for a family of four that goes up to about $46,000 and so this really hits the range of individuals who need a little residential support in Missoula,” she said. 30 of these units, those identified as permanent supportive housing, will have vouchers tied to them meaning those homes will be deeply subsidized.”

Pehan said the Missoula Housing Authority, Homeword and Blueline Development plan to break ground in the summer of 2020 and the project could be completed within about at 18 month timeline.

Pehan said similar developments have been valued at nearly $40 million, but that there will be no impact on the taxes of Missoula County citizens.