View of Missoula from Mount Sentinel, in Missoula, Montana.
Impact Stories

Helping Homeword help others.

When the contract for a full city block on Cooley Street fell through, and the owner posted a “For Sale” sign on the property, Homeword jumped at the opportunity to do something to address Missoula’s affordable housing challenges. We were only too happy to support them.

Homeword, a nonprofit that both helps people build their financial chops and develops affordable housing throughout Montana, needed financing right away to acquire the property for $1.1 million. Clearwater pitched in with a loan for $855,000, and Homeword raised the rest.

Bridging the gap to affordable housing

“Time was of the essence,” said David Rook, our Senior Vice President of Business Banking. “They did some fundraising on their end, and we bridged the gap.”

Homeword appreciated our help, said Andrea Davis, a lifelong Montanan who is the Executive Director of Homeword. “We have put together a big, visionary project, and, to make it happen, we needed a real estate loan that was at a reasonable cost.”

Photo of a woman holding her hands in the shape of a frame at sunset.

Building a future together

Homeword bought the land for what’s now known as the Trinity Affordable Housing Project in August of 2019.

When completed, the approximately $40 million project will include 72 units on Cooley Street near the Burns St. Bistro and 130 units on about 4.5 acres near the detention center on Mullan Road donated by Missoula County. Homeword and the Missoula Housing Authority will co-own the properties.

Framing beam of new house under construction home beam construction

A home for those who need it most.

Rook said the Homeword project fits in with our values. “Homeword does a great job providing housing for people who can’t otherwise afford it,” he said. “It’s really important to us to make that difference. If it’s financially feasible, we have a responsibility to try to make an impact.”

The Cooley Street project at the former Skyview Trailer Park in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood will include 30 permanent housing units for people currently living on the streets who presently rely on emergency services as their safety net. At Cooley Street they will not only be housed, they’ll have access to a full suite of mental health, healthcare, and other services on-site 24 hours a day, Davis said.

“It is an approach that’s meant to provide a safe, healthy home for our most difficult to house, chronically homeless neighbors,” Davis said.

Homeword is hoping to start construction on the new project next spring, Davis said, adding, “The runway is a long runway.”

“I’m glad we could help them acquire the property and get the ball rolling on this project,” Rook said.

Small model home on green grass with sunlight abstract background. Vintage tone filter effect color style.

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