Housing Access and Affordability:  How Does Your County Rank?

The Montana Budget and Policy is excited to announce the release of our Housing Affordability Map, an interactive online resource that presents a snapshot of housing affordability and renter populations in each of Montana’s 56 counties.

By rolling over any county on the interactive map, users can link to a fact sheet outlining affordability indicators in each county and use the drop-down menu to compare indicators between counties. How does your county rank when it comes to data such as the average cost for monthly rent and availability of affordable housing?

This tool will help our community members, housing advocates, and policy makers better understand local housing needs and advance common-sense solutions to ensure every Montanan has a place to call home.

Across the nation, a growing number of households struggle to secure decent rental housing that they can afford and Montana is no exception. In Montana, 46 percent of all renters are cost burdened – paying more than 30 percent of their household income toward housing costs. There is no county in Montana where a full-time worker earning minimum wage can afford a 2-bedroom rental apartment at fair market rate. Research shows that when rent consumes most of the family budget, households with limited means must forego meeting other basic needs, like groceries, health care, and clothing for their children, in order to keep a roof over their heads. As more of our neighbors face significant housing problems, counties grapple with the high cost of spiking family homelessness, heavy demand for emergency services, and an inability to attract and maintain the workforce needed to sustain the local economy.

The need for adequate and affordable housing looms large in Montana. The Housing Affordability Map is an important tool that makes clear the scope of housing needs in each county and will equip everyday Montanans with the information they need to make a difference in their communities. We encourage you to explore what housing affordability looks like in your county and share the fact sheets with your neighbors and elected officials.

To learn more about the affordable housing landscape in Montana and practical steps that our state and local governments can take to address the shortage of affordable housing options, read our recent reports Investments in Affordable Housing for Renters Strengthens Montana Communities and State and Local Strategies to Improve Housing Affordability.

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