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Billings group pushing affordable housing into local market

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Posted at 10:42 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 10:46:44-04

A Billings group announced Thursday it had sold 54 homes, which will go to another landlord who will try to keep it as livable housing, and the money that the group makes will go into some more projects to build more homes.

"The Charter Housing Coalition, my vision for that is for there to be a community solution to the community need," said Patti Webster, CEO of HomeFront, which is spearheading the project. "We've been working on this project for two years now. And so it's finally coming to fruition. And just super excited."

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HomeFront, formerly known as the Housing Authority of Billings, assists people with buying and renting homes.

It sold the homes to be able to meet the demand for smaller units.

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KTVQ photo

"The 58 single-family homes and duplexes that we have that we're selling are all three- and four-bedroom units," she said. "And our waiting list no longer shows that that is the need in our community. We have over 7,000 people on our waiting list. And so the majority of that need is in the one- and two- bedroom area."

Duplexes are included in the 54 buildings, bringing the total homes to 58.

Homefront owned a home on Hilltop Drive since the 1980s.

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KTVQ photo

"Every 10 years we've had five families in," said Teddi Shorten, HomeFront directory of occupancy. "So, 25-30 families have lived in this house. Just this house. We see the working poor families that come in. They get settled. They stabilize. They're able to then say hey I can get a better job and then they move out of public housing, or off of our other programs."

And the upcoming project to build communities will help.

"We're housers and we are passionate about being able to fill in the gaps that this community has right now," Shorten said. "And they're glaring at this point. This opportunity will be so amazing that we can help our community. It's going to be great."

"I still have tears in my eyes," Webster said. "When we're done with the new development, knowing that people are going to be able to live here families are going to be so proud to live here. It's just really exciting to be able to provide this service in our community."