With the cost of real estate skyrocketing beyond many families’ ability to afford, the Montana Department of Commerce announced this week that Trust Montana, a new affordable housing land trust model in Missoula, will receive $350,000 in federal funding through the Montana Department of Commerce’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

Julie Flynn, Program Manager with the Community Development Division in the Montana Department of Commerce described how the funds will assist the Trust Montana program.

“This will provide down payment and closing cost assistance to Trust Montana over the next two years to conduct a program in Missoula County where they will fill the gap between what home buyers might be able to afford and the actual price of a home,” said Flynn. “Then they'll hold that home in their land trust so that it remains affordable for Montanans far into the future.”

Flynn said Trust Montana actually owns the land upon which the home is built, and the family or individual purchases the home, minus the cost of the land itself.

“If the initial home buyer sells the home within a certain period, then the subsequent home buyer will be able to purchase the home at an affordable price for that household,” she said. “That's the whole land trust model is to keep the home affordable to subsequent buyers.”

Flynn said Trust Montana is working to provide information about the program to realtors and prospective home buyers.

“Trust Montana will work closely with individuals interested in purchasing a home,” she said. “They're also doing a lot of education with realtors and lenders in Missoula County so that they understand this model and can help educate home buyers as well on this potential option.”

Flynn said there are income requirements for anyone who wishes to participate with Trust Montana to purchase a home at a much more affordable price.

“One of the requirements with this program is that households be considered low income, which means their incomes are at or below 80% of the area median income,” she said. “So for Missoula County, a one person household that would be $44,350, and for a four person household that would be $63,300 as an annual household income.”

Currently, Trust Montana Executive Director Hermina Harold told KGVO News that their organization only has one parcel with six homes currently available, however, the North Missoula Community Development Corporation has 54 homes throughout the downtown, west and north sides of Missoula.

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