Future Missoula housing priorities include incentives, employer-assisted housing

Bret Anne Serbin

As the city of Missoula’s housing plan nears its five-year anniversary, city staff members are already looking ahead to the next steps aimed at improving housing affordability.

A Place to Call Home debuted in 2019, and a formal review of its first five years is expected in 2024. As the city moves forward, staffers like Emily Harris-Shears, housing policy specialist, are planning their next forays into affordable housing work.

One idea Harris-Shears put forward is the possibility of adding an ombudsman officer to the city’s roster. That role would help with remediation of housing disputes. 

Harris-Shears said the city also plans to host a grant-writing skill-building workshop in the upcoming fiscal year in order to solicit more funding sources.

Also in the realm of funding, Harris-Shears suggested the city go after Commercial Property Assessed Capital Enhancement funding, a source administered by the county in partnership with the state to implement sustainability improvements in various building types.

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Missoula will also continue to pursue public-private partnerships and work on creating voluntary incentives for developers. The incentives could support development elements like rights-of-way, utility connections and deferred sidewalk

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