Bozeman City Commission Unveils Ambitious Affordable Housing Initiatives

by Bryanna Carroll

Bozeman, a city known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant community, is facing a housing challenge that drew concerned residents to a recent City Commission meeting. The issue at hand: the need for clean and affordable housing.

During the meeting, one local resident passionately addressed the Commission, highlighting the scarcity of safe and sanitary housing options in Gallatin County. This plea for action coincided with the city's presentation of its updated Community Housing Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy featuring 23 distinct action points.

At the heart of this plan is a commitment to collaborate with key partners, such as HRDC, to secure funding through tax increment financing, and to leverage infill and density as powerful tools in the pursuit of affordable housing solutions.

David Fine, the Economic Development Program manager for the City of Bozeman, emphasized the financial challenges posed by public infrastructure. He noted that both maintenance and development costs associated with public infrastructure are substantial. By maximizing the utility of existing infrastructure, the city can effectively substitute it for land—a pivotal factor in development costs. Moreover, increased housing density contributes to a more compact, walkable community, reducing the dependence on car ownership.

Fine outlined the city's plan to employ two distinct types of incentives—shallow and deep—to facilitate the availability of affordable rental units within the community. Presently, projects that are underway and utilizing shallow incentives are set to deliver 74 units of affordable housing, priced at or below 120% of the area's median income, as well as 58 units available at or below 80% of the median income.

In addition to these initiatives, Bozeman is also actively working on a substantial project encompassing 411 low-income housing units. These units will be available at or below 60% of the area's median income and will be designated for residents with Section 8 vouchers. Importantly, these units will remain rent-restricted for a period of 30 years.

Bozeman's commitment to addressing its affordable housing challenge demonstrates the city's dedication to ensuring that its residents have access to clean, safe, and affordable housing options. Through partnerships, innovative incentives, and strategic planning, the city is working tirelessly to build a more inclusive and thriving community for all its residents.

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