City considering HOME funds for Baatz building redevelopment

On May 16, City Commissioners will consider a request for HOME and HOME-ARPA funds for $2.15 million to NeighborWorks Great Falls for the renovation of the Baatz building for a supporting housing project.

NeighborWorks Great Falls, in partnership with Homeword, submitted a grant request to redevelop the historic Baatz building, which would consist of 24 permanent supportive housing units along with one manager’s unit for a total of 25 housing units with a community services center located on the main floor, according to the staff report.

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The proposed project at 400 2nd Ave. S. has an estimated completion for fall 2024, according to the staff report.

“This permanent supportive housing facility would be the first of its kind in the Great Falls community. The city’s funding would be used in the building renovation as well as funding supportive services located in the community services center,” according to the staff report.

“Permanent supportive housing is an intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of people who have experienced homelessness. The services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community based health care, treatment and employment services,” according to the staff report.

The proposed redevelopment is using multiple funding sources, including low income housing tax credits from the state and historic tax credits in addition to the request for city funding.

The Baatz building is located near the Cascade City-County Health Department, bus station and other servoces.

The funding request is broken down as follows:

  • HOME funding for renovation work: $1,277,495
  • HOME-ARP funding for renovation work: $722,505.45
  • HOME-ARP funding for supportive services: $150,000
  • Total HOME & HOME-ARP Funding – $2,150,000.45

City staff is recommending approval of the request and has worked with the Great Falls Housing Authority, state historic preservation office, Montana Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to coordinate efforts of the Baatz project.

Early this year, the city received the building permit to renovate the Baatz Building.

The building has been vacant for several years and is in need of significant renovation as it was not well maintained as an apartment building prior to being boarded up.

NWGF receives $6.1 million in low income housing tax credits for Baatz Building renovation

NWGF was awarded $6.1 million in low income housing tax credits from the Montana Board of Housing in 2021 for the project.

Residents of the apartments will pay rent, have a lease and have one on one support from a case manager to help build independent living and tenancy skills as well as be connected to community based physical and mental healthcare services. The first floor of the building will house both case management professionals as well as the community-based service providers, according to NWGF.