Missoula officials entertain creative housing solutions

Connecting homeowners, landlords, renters and property managers could help Missoula envision a path to more affordable housing, city council members considered on Wednesday.

Because the city government is legally constrained in the ways it can alleviate housing pressures, Emily Harris-Shears with Community Planning, Development and Innovation on Wednesday introduced the Missoula City Council to alternative approaches for providing affordable housing in the city.

One suggestion from Harris-Shears was for the city to convene various stakeholders in the housing market, including residents, landlords, property managers and the Missoula Tenants Union. The city’s role in this effort would be to facilitate connections and conversation.

The new Missoula Lofts is a 146-unit loft-style rental townhome development on West Broadway.

Harris-Shears also brought up the possibility of utilizing the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for innovative ideas like a standardized rental application form. While such a form legally can’t be required, it could be offered on a voluntary basis with an incentive baked in.

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Expanding density bonuses presented another option to improve housing accessibility.

“We see opportunity for that to be expanded to other zoning districts to provide and offer density bonuses,” Harris-Shears told

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