Save Affordable Missoula Housing

UPDATE: I withdrew the funds and cut a personal check for $9,730 to the County. Together, we saved 31 homes (see the Missoula Current or the Missoulian articles). Thanks for making that possible.

Up to nearly 200 Missoulians may lose their homes this Tuesday, April 10th at 5 PM due to unpaid tax bills. The size of those bills? As low as $191, according to the Missoulian . Let’s scrounge a few dollars together, pay a few last-minute debts, and keep some families in their homes longer-term!

Under state law, Missoula County seizes and auctions off trailer homes for which property taxes are owed. Tax payments are due by this coming Tuesday at 5 PM or trailers will be seized and auctioned the following day.

The plan? See how much money we can scrape together then go in Tuesday afternoon and pay off as many debts as possible, starting with the lowest dollar debt and working our way up (that combined with who the County sees as the most vulnerable families, to have the most impact). Debts range from as low as $191 to as high as $1,400, but most are just a few hundred dollars. If you divide the total roughly $50,000 owed by the 184 houses on the chopping block, that’d put the average debt at $271. Will we be able to help everyone? No. But can we save a few homes? Totally.

Any funds raised in excess of a home but below the cost of the next home will be donated to the North Missoula Community Development Corporation to support their affordable housing work (so, say, we raise enough money to pay off 11 debts and have $73 left over which is not enough to pay the 12th, that $73 would go to NMCDC).

Affordable housing begins with helping folks stay in housing they already have. So let’s make a tangible, inexpensive contribution to that community effort.

The financial goal is kind of arbitrary. We’ll spend as much as we raise, up to the total amount of debt. But $8,500 would at least get us a good number of families secure in their houses. Per GoFundMe policy, donations transfer regardless of set goals, so any amount- large or small- will go directly to the cause, and any contribution, from $5 to $500, helps.

You can read the Missoulian story for more background here:

Also, by the way, the Country Treasurer is supportive of this strategy and we have discussed it, so we are for sure good to go.

(Also also, for folks who don't know me, I've lived in Missoula for about seven years total. I'm a community organizer by profession, and though I work in conservation, my volunteerism and board service tends toward social justice. Additionally, I grew up largely in a trailer home, so this feels personal to me.)
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Svein Newman 
Missoula, MT
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