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Meadowlark Vista Apartments in Ronan completed with ARPA funds

One-time funds provide critical gap financing for affordable home projects

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RONAN — The Montana Department of Commerce has allocated funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to create affordable rental homes throughout Montana, including Ronan. 

The Meadowlark Vista Apartments in Ronan received $210,000 in ARPA gap financing to complete construction on their 24 rentals for families and individuals. 

“These ARPA monies are a one-time funding source,” Communications and Public Affairs Supervisor at the Department of Commerce Anastasia Burton wrote. 

A press release from the Department of Commerce noted these funds were set aside by Montana Housing “to provide critical gap financing for affordable home projects experiencing significant development cost increases due to COVID-19.”

“With all the additional Coronavirus funds trickling down from the federal government, this was really the only pot of funds we could compete for that are aligned with the approved uses for additional gap financing for these projects,” Burton explained. 

After facing extreme cost overruns due to Covid, impacted projects had to compete for the ARPA funds needed for their multifamily affordable housing developments. Burton walked through the process: “The projects that submitted were required to [provide] additional documentation and have additional underwriting review done by staff to ensure the projects were in actual need of these funds. Once the advisory committee approved… we had to decide how to fairly allocate the funds into the project while taking other funding sources into consideration.”

After worker shortages, supply change disruptions, and price escalations of key building materials put numerous developments in jeopardy, the funds were recommended for use by the Workforce Development Advisory and ARPA Economic Transformation and Stabilization Commissions. 

“Some of these projects may not have been constructed without these funds, which would have meant a loss of additional affordable housing units for the citizens of Montana,” Burton stated.

With the allocated funds, construction of the Meadowlark Vista Apartments has been completed and there is now a waitlist of units for lease.   

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