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Billings City Council will decide on an action plan for federal grants for affordable housing.



Billings, Montana – A public hearing and subsequent vote on a plan of action for the utilization of federal grant funds intended to construct affordable housing are scheduled by the Billings City Council.

A little over $1.6 million in federal grants are available through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs (HOME), according to Wyeth Friday, director of planning and community services.

According to Friday, housing developers can apply to the city to use some of the grant funds to construct affordable or low-cost housing.

“The city isn’t actually building the housing, but because we can receive these federal funds and then, provide them through the application process, we can help facilitate that,” Friday said. So, that’s kind of how it works. The housing developers are the ones who need to actually do the projects.”

A nonprofit organization called HomeFront creates affordable housing. NonStop Local enquired about HomeFront regarding any current needs.

“We have around 185 Section 8 voucher holders that are out on the streets, that have vouchers issued to them, that they’re looking for places to rent,” HomeFront CFO Helen Verhasselt said. “On our waiting list for our other properties and for public housing, the current number on our waiting list is 7,453. That’s just for the Billings community. The need is extremely high for affordable. There is a lot of construction going on in the community, but they aren’t affordable units.”

Billings housing has been constructed by HomeFront using several grants. In Billings Heights, 100 modular two-bedroom, two-bath homes are being planned.

“We’re needing additional funding to get that project to continue to move forward,” Verhasselt said. “That project could get 100 units online, be able to move into, within a year.”

On Monday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m., the City Council will meet in City Hall (220 N. 27th Street). Attendees can attend in person or virtually through Zoom.

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