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The virtual conference took place on June 14-15, 2022. The two-day conference featured three plenary sessions and 14 breakout sessions covering various housing-related topics concerning Montana. You can access recordings on pages 6-7 of the Conference Program. Below you will also find information for each session, including the recording.

OPENING PLENARY:

The State's Role in Housing Affordability

This year's Montana Housing Partnership Conference with a special welcome by Terry Brockie, CEO of Fort Belknap Tribal Enterpise. We also had messages from Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and Governor Gianforte.

We were then joined by the Montana Housing Coalition-hosted panel who focused on the subject of The State's Role in Housing Affordability. The panel will feature Rep. Dave Fern (D) and Rep. Tom Welch (R), two veteran legislators who have championed housing legislation in the Montana Legislature; Kelly Lynch, Executive Director of the Montana League of Cities and Towns; and Kevin Gartland, Executive Director of the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, who will offer a perspective from the business community. Ms. Lynch is also involved in a Land Use Working Group who is reviewing requirements for local growth policies, as well as planning and zoning statutes with an intent to offer recommendations for legislative changes.

Session:

The Youth Homeless Project

This session engaged members of the Montana Youth Action Board (YAB) to discuss personal experiences related to housing insecurity and homelessness in Montana. This panel also addressed stigma, authentic support for youth and young adults, and adultism.

The Youth Action Board (YAB) is part of the Montana Continuum of Care Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP), a $3.4m grant funded by the Dept for Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The goal of the YAB is to actively involve people 24 and under who have experiences with housing insecurity or homelessness in the outreach and decision-making for YHDP projects.

Session:

Rural Preservation: Targeted Strategies to Maintain Existing Affordable Homes

This session explored the preservation of existing housing in the state of Montana by combining the experiences of rural preservation practitioners and Enterprise Community Partners to understand and learn from their experiences. Once completed, the new preservation database, provided by Montana Housing, was shown to explore this data and identify opportunities for preservation of existing housing in different regions of the state.

Session:

A Seat at the Table: Community Voices Generate Housing Solutions

A Seat at the Table is a proven civic engagement event that inspires community members to engage in local decision-making by collecting stories and input from numerous small-group conversations focused on a single topic on the same day. One Valley Community Foundation intentionally designed A Seat at the Table 2021 to focus conversations on housing affordability and attainability for those who live, work and do business in Gallatin County. The findings from 400+ participants will inform local government decision making, convent private and public partnerships, and move the needle on housing solutions. Learn how this approach works and can be replicated.

Click each bullet to view:

Session:

Improving Messaging and Outreach to Keep Homeownership in Reach

As home prices reach unprecedented levels what can be done to ensure homeownership is still in reach for Montanans? Shared Equity housing is one effective approach, but it is not well known and many people are confused about how it works. Join us for a conversation about changes we are making in messaging and outreach, and how better messaging and how this is helping keep homeownership in reach.

Session:

Organizational Culture, Remote Culture, and Avoiding Burnout

Organizational culture is based on values, beliefs, customs, written & unwritten rules. When culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. When culture is weak, the effects are felt by the employees.

This one-hour online seminar will help viewers understand the impact of organizational culture and how it truly impacts all aspects of a business.

WHAT WAS COVERED:
• Defining organizational culture
    o Your ideal culture
    o Creating your ideal culture
    o Maintaining your ideal culture
• Keeping Organizational culture with your remote staff
• Burn out avoidance

Session:

Requests for Reasonable Accommodations for Service and Assistance Animals

This session provided an overview of civil rights laws protecting persons with disabilities. We will then discuss reasonable accommodation requests for service and assistance animals. This session also gave housing providers a thorough understanding of the reasonable accommodation process, how to implement best practices for RAR processes and forms, and what happens when a complaint is filed with HUD. 

Reasonable Accommodation Resource Guide: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wkhprrbi5ibyt4t/Reasonable%20Accommodation%20Resource%20Guide.pdf?dl=0

Session:

Native Homeownership Coalition

The Montana Native Homeownership Coalition is working together to advance homeownership on Montana's Indian Reservations. Hear how the coalition is working to replace policy barriers with clear pathways to homeownership, mobilize lender and investor engagement on tribal trust land, inspire and cultivate Native homeownership, and engage tribal leaders.

Session:

What We Can Learn About Housing from the Census

This session discussed how to use Census data (including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis surveys the Census Bureau conducts for those agencies) to measure:

  • Affordability

  • Availability

  • Right-size for the population needs   

 

The presenter also spoke about what are the data gaps, what other sources we have in Montana to fill the gaps, and what is still missing.

Session:

LIHTC 101 with Novogradac

This session was an introduction to the fundamentals of the low-income housing tax credit industry to those who just started working in or are looking to get started in this niche of real estate.

The panel focused mostly on federal rules and concepts, but with some specifics tailored to the state of Montana with respect to the small state credit minimum, qualified allocation plans, etc.

Session:

Goal Setting: Focusing on the Five Areas of Growth

This session focused on breaking down the overwhelming "set goals" that we all hear about into five functional areas of our lives - Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Physical, and Financial.

The presenter also gave a layout of how to put those goals into the appropriate timelines (Short, Medium, and Long-Term) and then reverse engineer the timeline to daily activities to reach them.

Second Morning Plenary:

Awards Ceremony & Plenary: A Decent Home

Our second day started with our award ceremony. We always look forward to celebrating the achievements and contributions of our Montana colleagues and housing champions!

We then enjoyed a special viewing of The Carlyle Group vs The American Dream and a conversation with filmmaker Sara Terry.  The film is a ten-minute documentary about one of the first mobile home parks bought by The Carlyle Group - Plaza del Rey, in Silicon Valley - and what happens to residents once private equity becomes the landlord. The purchase of this park led to a buying spree of parks by investment firms across the country that has left mobile homeowners paying the ultimate price.

 

Sara is a director, cinematographer, writer, and producer whose work explores how we define our humanity and the role of community in helping us understand what our humanity looks like.

Session:

Office Hours: HUD

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared by HUD employees.

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Office Hours: USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared by USDA employees.

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Office Hours: FHLB (Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines)

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared by FHLB employees.

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Office Hours: State Department of Commerce

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared by Department of Commerce employees.

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Table Talk: National Low-Income Housing Coalition

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared and questions from the live audience were addressed.

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Table Talk: Cooperative Housing

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared and questions from the live audience were addressed.

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Table Talk: Economic Development

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared and questions from the live audience were addressed.

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Table Talk: Habitat for Humanity

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared and questions from the live audience were addressed.

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Table Talk: Supporting Employees and Avoiding Burnout

This was a 30-minute session where news and updates were shared and questions from the live audience were addressed.

Session:

State Partnerships Responding to COVID Impacts to Housing

MERA, HRDC, HAF, MLSA, HSCP. Confused by the acronyms? Wondering what support is available and how to access it?

New funds and programs are here to ensure Montanans recover from the COVID era with stable housing, healthy food, and strong educational and economic opportunities. Hear how organizations and agencies are working together to put funds to work in ways that are coordinated and effective.

Session:

Best Affordable Homeownership Opportunities Across Montana

Tune in to hear an update from Katina Uecker, USDA Rural Development Housing Director, about available rural development programs and what is new for FY 2022. She will also talk about funding increases for rehabilitation programs and other program updates.

Hear from Nancy Jacobsen, RCAC Rural Development Specialist, about the Self-Help program and how it can benefit our rural communities, organizations, and Montanan Tribes. Learn how the Rural Development Self-Help program can bring in revenue to our towns and businesses, and the other options offered under their Owner-occupied Rehab and Acquisition Rehab program. If you have an existing rehab program, learn how you can partner with the Rural Development program to get more funding for your organization and the families you serve.

Jacob Kuntz, Executive Director of Helena Area Habitat for Humanity. also spoke about new approaches to homeownership opportunities, putting a new spin on this successful 62-year old Mutual Self-help Homeownership program. Jacob will share about new alternatives and ideas to allow affordable homeownership in areas across Montana, allowing families making 80% or less of median income to afford their own home. Jacob has been successful from Helena to Red Lodge, and will share with you how homeownership can be affordable to Montana’s small towns to some of Montana’s high-cost rural areas, communities, and reservations.

Session:

Perspectives on Homeownership from Montana Lenders

Montana lenders have had a front-row seat in the housing market changes of the past few years. Hear from lenders and realtors across the state about what they have seen in their markets, what they've learned, and their hopes for the future of homeownership.

Session:

Achieving Your Mission Through Effective Committee Meetings

Achieving your goals through committee meetings: It takes a village to achieve goals and reach your desired outcomes. That is why running effective committee meetings is important - to ensure you use your peers' time efficiently and effectively. This development track will go over how to prepare for meetings, how to facilitate meetings effectively, and how to follow up after a meeting to keep the momentum going.

Closing Plenary:

Connecting Housing and Health

We were thrilled to welcome Dr. Megan Sandel for a keynote talk about how stable, decent, affordable homes are a foundation of health for children, families, and communities.

Dr. Sandel is Co-Director of the GROW clinic at Boston Medical Center, Co-Lead Principal Investigator with Children’s HealthWatch and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. She is the former pediatric medical director of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and is a nationally recognized expert on housing and child health. Her talk is sure to be engaging, thought provoking, and inspiring!