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Land trust receives grants for affordable housing

| April 10, 2024 12:00 AM

Northwest Montana Community Land Trust received six grants from local lenders that will be matched three to one by the FHLB Des Moines for a total of $90,000. 

The grants will be used as part of the funding for six affordable homes in Columbia Falls, Kalispell and Whitefish, according to the land trust.

“This grant opportunity allowing local lenders to partner with FHLB Des Moines came at the perfect time for our fundraising,” said Executive Director Kim Morisaki. “Wells Fargo, Glacier Bank, Whitefish Credit Union, Park Side Credit Union, First Interstate Bank and Three Rivers Bank all provided grant funds toward the purchase or construction of six individual homes that allowed for a very generous match from the national bank and resulted in $90,000 added to our total fundraising. This community is so generous when it comes to funding out-of-the-box solutions to affordable homeownership and we are so thankful for the support from all six local lenders.”

As part of the grants, $60,000 will be used as part of a larger financing structure to buy the land under three homes that will be sold below market rate to low- and moderate-income households working in Whitefish. The other $30,000 will be used to support the construction of three new homes in Kalispell and Columbia Falls which will also be sold to eligible buyers below market rate.  

All of the homes will use the Community Land Trust model where only the home is sold and the land under the home is leased to the homeowner for $25 per month. This allows the homebuyer to purchase a home below market price. NWMTCLT employs creative layering of financing to leverage relatively small amounts of investment into an inventory of homes that will remain permanently affordable while holding the land under those homes as a permanent asset for the community. Partnerships are the key in this process; banks, nonprofits, federal/state funds, private developers, private foundations, businesses, churches and individuals.  

Homes that would otherwise sell on the market for $400,000 to $600,000 are put within reach of people who qualify for $150,000 to $350,000 mortgages. Potential homebuyers who can qualify for a small mortgage are also likely to qualify to buy a NWMTCLT home.  

Information, applications and donation forms can be found at www.nwmtclt.org.