Hurdles leaped for new apartments

Big Sky Community Housing Trust to apply for much needed tax credits for affordable housing

New affordable housing apartments may be on the horizon.

According to the June BSCHT newsletter, on May 25, the Montana Board of Housing invited BSCHT to apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits to fund its new development, RiverView Apartments.

The Montana Board of Housing asked eight of 13 applicants scattered across Montana to apply for $28,850,000 the state received in federal funding. The Montana Board of Housing will award the funds to just a handful of these eight projects. BSCHT hopes for an award of $6,491,250 to build a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units, according to the June BSCHT newsletter. The BSCHT has applied for the highest amount of low income housing tax credits. Requesting the highest award of $6,491,250 is not expected to hurt the BSCHT’s chances however. “Many of the finalists have requested the maximum amount allowed. Our needs and building costs justify this level of request,” Executive Director of the BSCHT, Laura Seyfang said.

These low income housing tax credits, if awarded, will be funneled into the RiverView Apartments project. According to the June BSCHT newsletter, RiverView Apartments is a collaboration between Lone Mountain Land Company, Resort Tax, Big Sky Water & Sewer, and Big Sky Community Housing Trust to develop rental units at 1700 Lone Mountain Trail.

Seyfang states that this project will be invaluable to the community of Big Sky. “The 2018 Housing Action Plan called for development of over 400 additional rental units by 2023. With our rapid growth, the community's need is significantly greater.”

It is clear that making sure these apartments are in the hands of people who need them is a priority. “The tenants must have at least one adult in the unit who works full time in Big Sky.

Additional details about how applicants will be selected will be finalized as construction completion draws nearer. A lottery system may possibly be used if requests significantly outnumber units available, Seyfang said.

Keeping these apartments for those who need it will be a main focus as well. On top of one adult needing to maintain a full time job in Big Sky, RiverView Apartments will have a strict no short-term rental policy. Lastly, the BSCHT vows to keep affordable rent caps, in order to not price out residents because of inflation.

As exciting as the RiverView Apartments project is, the BSCHT will need the low income housing tax credits to make it a reality. Due to a lack of state assistance and skyrocketing building costs, these tax credits are essential, according to Seyfang. “Building in this time of high costs in this challenging construction area makes affordable housing projects extremely difficult financially. As a state, Montana does not provide much housing development assistance. Use of Federal Tax Credits is essential to make this project happen,” Seyfang said.

According to Montana.gov, the awarded tax credits will be determined on Oct 18, 2021.

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