Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On Thursday, Habitat for Humanity placed two modular homes on permanent foundations in East Missoula, and KGVO News spoke with Habitat’s Development Director Nevin Graves about where the modular homes came from.

“We applied for this grant funding a couple about two years ago at this point and finally got awarded to the city,” began Graves. “We were able to purchase two modular homes from Homeword that were surplus from the Bakken oil fields, get them trucked over and renovated somewhat so that we could have two ‘one person families’ out here in East Missoula.”

A First for Habitat for Humanity, Modular Homes in East Missoula

Graves said the homes will also be part of the Community Land Trust, where the new residents will own the modular homes, but not the land underneath.

“It's been a pretty long process of figuring out how to how to get the resources in place for this, how to make sure that they would fit on a single lots,” he said. “And then on top of that, you know, putting them in a Community Land Trust to make sure that they're going to be affordable not just to the partner families we're working with today, but anyone that they might end up selling the houses to later on down the line.”

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Graves said due to the severe housing shortage, the modular homes sparked a great deal of interest when they first arrived in East Missoula.

Home Seekers were Asking About the Modular Units as Soon as they Arrived

“As soon as we parked these things in East Missoula we had interest in them and folks were asking ‘do you have that modular home for sale and how much you want for it?’ We said it's kind of being used for something with how home prices are right now. We could have sold them easily for $100,000. But the partner families are only going to end up paying 30 percent of their income on the mortgages. That's more so based on what that actual family income is going to be than what the value of the unit is itself on the market. So we're pretty happy that we're able to offer that affordable mortgage product.”

Credit: Habitat for Humanity of Missoula
Credit: Habitat for Humanity of Missoula

Habitat for Humanity is Now Using the 'Community Land Trust' Model

Graves explained the Community Land Trust model being used by Habitat for Humanity.

“With a Community Land Trust home, you're buying the building, but you're not buying the dirt underneath it,” he said. “You buy the ‘improvements to the property’ as it's called legally, and with that you pay a stewardship fee for the land underneath it. It could remain a family home, but once you go to resell the building, you have to make sure that it's going for a price that can be affordable within the income ranges that Habitat and our land trust partner Trust Montana can afford.”

Habitat for Humanity is also building another single-family home in East Missoula this year, along with a triplex building in the Franklin-to-the-Fort Neighborhood starting this spring.

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