Volunteers help get Belgrade affordable housing units ready for tenants

Posted at 3:41 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:00:40-04

BELGRADE – HRDC is finishing the final touches of an affordable housing village it has been working on for the last year in Belgrade.

Numerous volunteer workers cracked open a pan of green paint, grabbed a paintbrush and got to work. Volunteers from the community, HRDC and Keller Williams stepped out of the office to get their hands dirty in order to get 20 small homes move-in ready.

Volunteer Stuart Binenstock, who works for Keller Williams Realty in Bozeman, says each year his company along with other Keller Williams employees around the nation step away from their desks on May 10 and volunteer.

“It really feels amazing to go past something that you have done and said we helped out with that, we made a difference,” said Binenstock.

The 20 low-income houses Binenstock helped paint will be up for rent, located off the Frontage Road and 8th Street. Sixteen of the cottages are 2-bedroom/2-bathroom, while the other four have 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. Rent ranges from $800-960 each month.

HRDC CEO Heather Grenier says this project started last year when someone from the Bakken Oil Field called wanting to sell small homes. HRDC worked on putting together the Menicucci Square Cottages Project to address the need for more affordable housing in Belgrade.

“I think probably over 700 families that are looking, actively looking for something that they can afford and be able to pay the rent on a monthly basis. So you know 20 is just a drop in the bucket but every little bit counts,” said Grenier.

HRDC Associate Director Tracy Menuez said making these homes have a neighborhood feel was difficult but will be worth it once the houses are finished.

“Well you know we feel like affordable housing should just be like all of the rest of housing in a community and so we want to create a place where people are proud to call their home but it still provides them the opportunity to live affordably,” said Menuez.

HRDC held an open house for community members to tour the home. The houses are fully furnished and some of them should be ready to move in by the end of this week.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News