Housing plan moves to next round in quest for tax credits

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The Whitefish Housing Authority’s bid to earn housing tax credits moved forward last week, as it works toward its goal of developing a 38-unit housing complex planned off of Wisconsin Avenue.

Whitefish’s project was among eight affordable housing projects selected by the Montana Board of Housing on June 4 to submit full applications for federal tax credits, the primary source of funding for affordable housing development in the nation.

Up to six projects will receive these tax credits in November and will be ready to break ground on new developments in the spring of 2019, according to a release from the Board of Housing.

“Every Montanan deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” Department of Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote said. “That is why these Housing Credit projects are so important to strengthen Montana’s vibrant communities and support our economy.”

Whitefish Housing Authority Executive Director Lori Collins told the Daily Inter Lake last week that the Whitefish project ranked third highest among the finalists in the preliminary review.

Alan and Lisa Stinson are selling their 2.1-acre tract off Wisconsin Avenue near Piggyback BBQ to the housing authority at a substantial discount, according to Collins. The housing authority has a signed contract to purchase the land for $632,000; normally it would appraise for around $900,000.

The city of Whitefish has committed $150,000 toward the purchase of the property and the housing authority has committed $50,000. The housing authority is partnering with the Missoula-based nonprofit Homeword in its goal to create the housing complex.

The project is planned to include up to 38 affordable one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

The low-income housing tax credit is a federal income tax credit for owners of rental housing that meets certain low-income occupancy and rent limitation requirements.

Whitefish will now have to complete an application process by Aug. 27.

The other eight finalist include, Absarokee (Homestead Lodge), Billings (Chapel Court), Browning (Blackfeet Homes VII), Havre (Oakwood Village), Helena (Red Alder 9), Missoula (Skyview 9), and Ronan (Meadowlark Vista.)

The Montana Board of Housing is part of the Department of Commerce’s Montana Housing. Federal tax credits flow through the state agency and fund the construction or rehabilitation of approximately 200 rental units each year.

This year, 17 housing developers in 15 communities requested funding to develop or rehabilitate more than 700 affordable homes.

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