Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc.

1709 North First Street

PO Box 870

Hamilton, MT 59840

Phone: 406.363.5450

FAX: 4063.363.5451

Email: bitterrootrcd@cybernet1.com

FEIN: 81-0360178

Ravalli County

Housing Needs Assessment

Introduction

 

In March of 2016, a group of service providers serving Ravalli County convened to discuss an alarming increase in housing insecurity and homelessness among those using their services.  On October 25, 2016, local service providers, church staff and concerned citizens created the Bitterroot Task Force on Homelessness and Housing (BTFHH) with the mission to “prevent homelessness and alleviate housing insecurity by supporting and facilitating affordable and safe housing solutions – from emergency to permanent, for Ravalli County citizens of all ages, abilities, and circumstances.”

On March 8, 2018 we published our first needs assessment.

Our hope is that the information provided in the "Ravalli County Housing Needs Assessment" will educate the public, build public will and facilitate solutions to the housing needs of Ravalli County residents.

Definitions

Our Methods

A. American Community Survey

B. Point-In-Time Survey

C. Focus Groups

D. Collective Impact

Discussion

A. Bitterroot Continuum of Care Services and Programs Chart

D. Current Affordable Housing Options

E. Housing Needs

F. Current Availability of Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing

G. Economic and Demographic Indicators

H. Comparing Ravalli County to Montana and the U.S.

Key Findings

Recommendations

Sources

A. Bitterroot Continuum of Care Services and Programs Chart

B. Demographics

C. Economic Characteristics

D. Housing Characteristics

E. Ravalli County Affordable Housing

F. Point-In-Time Survey Information

Definitions

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: In general, housing for which the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income for gross housing costs, including utilities. Please note that some jurisdictions may define affordable housing based on other, locally determined criteria, and that this definition is intended solely as an approximate guideline or general rule of thumb.

CHRONIC HOMLESSNESS: An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more OR has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM (CDBG): Created under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, this program provides grant funds to local and state governments to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing with a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities to assist low- and moderate-income residents. CDBG replaced several categorical grant programs, such as the Model Cities program, the Urban Renewal program, and the Housing Rehabilitation Loan and Grant program.

COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (CPD): HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development seeks to develop viable communities by promoting integrated approaches that provide decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons. The primary means toward this end is the development of partnerships among all levels of government and the private sector, including for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

CONTINUUM OF CARE: A collaborative funding and planning approach that helps communities plan for and provide, as necessary, a full range of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing and other service resources to address the various needs of homeless persons. HUD also refers to the group of service providers involved in the decision making processes as the "Continuum of Care."

 

EQUITABLE LAND USE PLANNING: zoning, land use regulation, master planning, and other land use planning that, at a minimum, furthers the purposes of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act and are intended to achieve additional objectives for expanding housing choice. (p.11)

 

EXTENT OF HOUSING OVERCROWDING: The number of housing units with 1.01 or more persons per room based on data compiled by the United States Bureau of the Census and referable to the same point or period in time.

HOMELESS: An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; as well an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

HOMELESS PREVENTION: Activities or programs designed to prevent the incidence of homelessness, including, but not limited to: (1) short-term subsidies to defray rent and utility arrearages for families that have received eviction or utility termination notices; (2) security deposits or first month’s rent to permit a homeless family to move into its own apartment; (3) mediation programs for landlord-tenant disputes; (4) legal services programs that enable representation of indigent tenants in eviction proceedings; (5) payments to prevent foreclosure on a home; and (6) other innovative programs and activities designed to prevent the incidence of homelessness.

HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM: the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.

LIVABILITY: a measure of integration of the housing, transportation, environmental, and employment amenities accessible to residents. A livable community is one with multiple modes of transportation, different types of housing, and destinations located within an easy distance (20 minutes by transit, 15 minutes by bike or foot, 10 minutes by car) of homes.

LOW-INCOME FAMILY: families whose [combined] income does not exceed 80 percent of the median family income for the area.

 

LOW-INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT (LIHTC): A tax incentive intended to increase the availability of low-income housing. The program provides an income tax credit to owners of newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated low-income rental housing projects.

POINT-IN-TIME (PIT) COUNTS: Unduplicated 1-night estimates of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. The 1-night counts are conducted by Continuums of Care nationwide and occur during the last week in January of each year.

SECTION 108 PROGRAM: Enacted as part of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 as the loan guarantee provision of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The Section 108 program offers local governments a flexible source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities, and large-scale physical development projects.

SECTION 8 EXISISTING RENTAL ASSISTANCE: Provides rental assistance to low-income families who are unable to afford market rents. Assistance may be in the form of vouchers or certificates.

SEVERE RENT BURDEN: a renter household [that pays] more than one-half of its income for gross rent (rent and utilities).

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING: A project that has as its purpose facilitating the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within a reasonable amount of time (usually 24 months). Transitional housing includes housing primarily designed to serve deinstitutionalized homeless individuals and other homeless individuals with mental or physical disabilities and homeless families with children.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: A design concept that encourages the construction or rehabilitation of housing and elements of the living environment in a manner that makes them usable by all people, regardless of ability, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

VERY LOW-INCOME: Households whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the median area income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for smaller and larger families and for areas with unusually high or low incomes or where needed because of facility, college, or other training facility; prevailing levels of construction costs; or fair market rents.

Methods

 

A. AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY (ACS): A nationwide survey designed to provide communities with a fresh look at how they are changing. It is a critical element in the Census Bureau's reengineered 2010 census plan. The ACS collects information such as age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status, and other important data from U.S. households.

 

B. ACS 5-Year Estimates: Are used when sampling very small populations. Accuracy is more important than being current. The information is more reliable

 

C. Point-In-Time Count: An annual survey of persons who are sleeping in a place not meant for habitation, staying in an emergeny shelter, domestic violence shelter, transitional housing facility or homeless person or anyone who was otherwise without a home. Each community has unique circumstances impacting homeless populations. The data collected is used by the BTFHH to help prevent homelessness and alleviate housing insecurity

D. Focus Groups. The intent of the focus groups was to seek a greater understanding of the housing challenges facing participants.

 

E. Collective Impact. Common Agenda  all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions. Shared Measurement Systems Developing a shared measurement system is essential. Mutually Reinforcing Activities initiatives depend on a diverse group of stakeholders working together, not by requiring that all participants do the same thing, but by encouraging each participant to undertake the specific set of activities at which it excels in a way that supports and is coordinated with the actions of others. Continuous Communication Developing trust among nonprofits, corporations, and government agencies is a monumental challenge. Participants need several years of regular meetings to build up enough experience with each other to recognize and appreciate the common motivation behind their different efforts. Backbone Support Organizations Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization and staff with a very specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative. Coordination takes time, and none of the participating organizations has any to spare. The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails.

Discussion

 

A. Bitterroot Continuum of Care Services and Programs Chart

D. Current Affordable Housing Options

E. Housing Needs

F. Current Availability of Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing

G. Economic and Demographic Indicators

H. Comparing Ravalli County to Montana and the U.S.

Key Findings

Recommendations

 
 
 
 
 
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