In Great Falls, Tester Talks Housing Crisis and Congratulates New Homeowners Through NeighborWorks’ Owner Built Homes Program

Senator pushed to continue funding Owner Built Homes Program

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today met with leaders from NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) to discuss the housing crisis in Cascade County on the heels of GFDA’s recently completed Housing Market Demand Assessment. Tester also congratulated the 10 families who will be moving into their newly built homes next week through NeighborWorks’ Owner Built Homes Program, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Tester was joined by NeighborWorks Great Falls Executive Director Sherrie Arey, Great Falls Development Authority President and CEO Brett Doney, and Ed Dustrude, a veteran who participated in the Owner Built Homes Program and will be moving into his home next week.

“Everywhere I go across the state, I hear about folks struggling to find affordable housing, and Cascade County is no exception,” said Tester. “I’m proud to congratulate these 10 families on moving into their new houses and NeighborWorks Great Falls for the great work they do in the community, but we’ve got to everything we can to make sure all Montanans have a place to call home. I’m going to keep working hard on an all of the above, all hands on deck approach to make sure we are supporting Montana families’ ability to keep a roof over their head.”

Seventy percent of the housing stock in the Great Falls region was built before 1980, a higher share than all other Montana markets. The Housing Market Demand Assessment projects demand for roughly 450 new housing units per year in the Great Falls metropolitan statistical area over the next 10 years. Based on expected demand for renter and owner occupied properties, there is demand for approximately 190 new rental units and 250 new owner-occupied units.

NeighborWorks’ Owner Built Homes allow participants to earn substantial equity by working with a group of 10 other families to help build each others’ homes, and in doing so help to build one another’s dreams. The group commits to building 10 homes together, and no one can move in until all 10 homes have been completed. A total of 155 homeowners will have gone through the Owner Built Homes Program in Great Falls through NeighborWorks. Tester has been a strong supporter of the program since he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, and recently pushed for full funding of the program.