According to a housing needs study on Bozeman, the city is in desperate need of low-income apartments and houses. But a new action plan hopes to remedy that.
"I think one thing that we haven't had... is low-income housing tax credit projects built since 2005" Bozeman Planning Director Tim McHarg said.
It's been several years since the city's seen affordable, subsidized rental housing.
And McHarg said it hasn't been matching the demand.
"28 percent of homeowners and about 44 percent of renters are paying over 30 percent of their income on household costs" McHarg said.
According to a housing needs study conducted this year, over a quarter of homeowners and nearly half of renters in Bozeman would qualify for some form of housing assistance.
To help solve the problem, McHarg said they've put together a housing plan.
He hopes it'll encourage builders to step forward and fulfill the need.
"Building lower-cost housing is challenging" building contractor Phil Rotherham said. "There needs to be coordination between all the parts and pieces- the design team, the developer, the contractor."
Rotherham, who owns Rotherham Construction, said it can be difficult for a private builder to undertake an affordable housing project.
Simply put, it comes down to profits. And that's something that low-income buildings may not yield.
"It comes down to assessing the risk, understanding costs" Rotherham said. "If there's more and more risk and less and less expectation of sales, nothing's going to get built."
McHarg said one of the aspects of the plan is streamlining the application process for builders, reducing certain fees and offering incentives.
He said the plan has already garnered interest.
"We want to encourage and incentivize developers who are doing that to provide some level of units at those reduced income levels" he said.
The Bozeman City Commission will vote on adopting the action plan during their May 21st meeting.
You can view the City of Bozeman Affordable Housing Action Plan: 2012- 2016 by clicking here.
McHarg said they are accepting public comment on the plan. You can weigh in by clicking here, or by giving comments at the commission meeting.