Habitat for Humanity gets grant for East Helena development

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Posted at 4:47 PM, May 30, 2024

HELENA — A $100,000 grant given to Habitat for Humanity is going to help them further their housing development out in East Helena.

“Zoning for the neighborhood that we’re going to build, traffic studies related to you know how cars are going to interact with the areas, taking a look at infrastructure and taking a look at how the homes are going to interact with the existing community,” says Executive Director of Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, Jacob Kuntz.

This money will be used by Habitat for Humanity to pay for the subdivision application for their East Helena community project. The money comes from Wells Fargo and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. This project has been in the works for about 6 years. Early estimates predict the organization will create more than 1500 homes on about 250 acres as long as everything goes to plan. Some of these homes will be lower-income Habitat for Humanity homes. There will be single-family homes, duplexes, 4-plexes, townhomes, and more as well as 46 acres of green space, a school, commercial buildings, access to Prickly Pear Land Trust’s soon-to-be-opened park nearby, and more. They hope to begin home construction in 2026.

“The type of housing where the average worker, the average person, could afford to build a home. And so, this is what’s going to be in the neighborhood, this mix of styles, mix of incomes, across the spectrum, so that we can create a neighborhood that fits everybody,” says Kuntz.

Kuntz says this project addresses critical housing needs in the area, providing vital starter homes to those who can’t afford current market prices.

“We have this missing middle, you know, the starter home it doesn’t exist anymore. A house that’s in the three hundreds, you know, in Helena doesn’t exist anymore. 70% of the Helena area population qualifies for Habitat’s programs right now. And I know that another 10-15% can’t afford the average price of a home these days because it’s so high,” says Kuntz.