A growing share of Montanans cannot afford its housing costs. Many of these people face income problems that make buying or renting housing in our state extremely challenging. It is time our Legislature and governor improve this issue. There are many issues that relate to our housing market: One is the zoning laws that limit the construction of multi-family units. Currently, there are not enough incentives to build affordable units. Also, ineffective government programs designed to help low-income Montanans have fallen behind.
The Montana Legislature has passed little related to affordable housing, towards either rewriting current laws, providing tax credits to builders, or the less effective means of subsidizing these projects. Others promote allowing additional units to be built on their properties, an effective common sense approach. So now the failures of inclusionary zoning have appeared, and Republicans in Helena have decided that more government involvement (surprise) has not improved the housing shortages.
Free market policy approaches have proven effective in other U.S. states. Work toward removing restrictions on zoning and subdivisions will lead to a Montana for everyone.