032615-mis-nws-housing-duplex

Jeremiah Kallis of Paint By Numbers paints trim on a duplex of subsidized units being built by the Missoula Housing Authority on Wednesday. Another six-unit apartment building of affordable housing will be built by the MHA nearby on California Street this summer.

Aided by a $600,000 federal grant, the Missoula Housing Authority plans to construct a new six-unit apartment building this summer and offer the units as affordable housing under its Home Grant program.

Lori Davidson, executive director of the MHA, said the agency applied for and received a state Home Grant worth $610,000, giving it a green light to begin the project planned near the corner of California and Dakota streets.

Dubbed Dakota Place, the project will include one-bedroom units.

“It’s on a parcel of land donated by the city, which it deemed to be surplus,” said Davidson. “They donated that to the Housing Authority. The units will be rented at affordable rates determined by the Home Program.”

Davidson said MHA is now preparing a request for proposals, a step that launches the process of designing and building the apartments. She believes the process will take several weeks, giving time for design work.

MHA hopes to begin construction this summer.

“It means six people who did not have affordable housing will have it,” Davidson said. “Any construction we can do is invaluable. Our waiting list is close to 2,000 people all the time, and there isn’t enough to go around. Finding the funding to build them and operate them is always a challenge.”

Davidson said MHA received a Home Grant roughly 10 years ago. It helped the agency refurbish the Uptown Apartments, which provide single-room occupancy downtown to formerly homeless individuals.

The new grant is the first earmarked for new construction.

“We’re at 500 units of affordable housing in Missoula,” said Davidson. “We applied for this about a year ago, but it’s been in the works for years.”

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The agency gives funding to each state, which then determines how to distribute it.

The property is located just outside the Old Sawmill District. MHA is also working in partnership with Missoula College to build a duplex in the same location.

That property was also given as surplus property to MHA by the city.

“That duplex will be subsidized units,” Davidson said.

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