Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - If you heard about new apartments in Hamilton with rents starting at just $630 per month, would you be interested?

And what does Montana coal have to do with affordable housing?

Rents for Seniors in Hamilton as low as $630 per Month?

This week, KGVO News spoke with Cheryl Cohen, Montana Housing Administrator for the State Department of Commerce about a special affordable housing program that just happened to include Hamilton.

"Every year the Department of Commerce and specifically the Montana Board of Housing allocates our federal low-income housing tax credits, and Monday was our big day when our board members made some very difficult decisions on the final projects to award,” began Cohen. “We awarded five projects that will develop approximately 150 affordable homes throughout the state and the communities of Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls,  Helena, and in your neck of the woods, Hamilton.”

Hamilton is one of Five Montana Cities to Benefit from Housing Program

Cohen described the subsidized development to be built in Hamilton specifically for seniors with limited incomes.

“The Hamilton Project is called Riverstone Senior Residence,” she said. “It's going to be on the corner of Flower Street and Skeels Avenue and it's within a mile of a grocery store, medical services, a pharmacy, the library, a park, and a senior center. It's really a great infill location. It's going to develop 23 homes that will be available for seniors 55 and older. And although it targets a variety of income ranges, the average kind of target population would be seniors making around $30,000 a year.”

Some of the Money is Coming from the Montana Coal Tax Trust Fund

Cohen said one of the reasons why the rents are so affordable was because of the rare use of funds from the Montana Coal Tax Trust Fund.

“House Bill 819 was passed that authorized the Montana Board of Housing to use the State of Montana coal trust dollars to provide lower interest rate loans for affordable housing development. And this is also one of the first projects that it was awarded a cold trust loan of 1.55 million, and that loan allowed the property to increase the size of the project by an additional three units.”

Cohen said it has been 14 years since Hamilton received a new low-income housing tax credit, and that was one of the reasons why it was chosen apart from the other grants that went to Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, and Helena.

Cohen said since the grant has just been awarded, no information is currently available as to who the developers might be in Hamilton, or to what agency those seeking the housing should apply.

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