Monday, August 15, 2022


President Biden this week is poised to sign into law sweeping legislation that addresses climate change and prescription drug costs; Measuring the Supreme Court abortion decision's impact in the corporate world; Disaster recovery for Eastern Kentucky businesses.


Federal officials warn about threats against law enforcement; Democrats push their climate, health, and tax bill through Congress; and a new report reveals 800 Americans were evacuated during the Afghanistan withdrawal.


Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

Build Back Better Act Could Help Address MT Housing Crisis, Advocates Say


Monday, December 27, 2021   

Like many states across the country, Montana is facing a housing crisis. One organization says policies in the Build Back Better Act, still in Congress, could help more people find and afford homes.

Opponents of the bill say it's too costly. But Adrienne Bombelles, senior policy analyst with the Montana Budget and Policy Center, said it includes much-needed rental assistance, through the Housing Choice Voucher program.

Under the Build Back Better plan, she said, the program could receive an additional $26 billion.

"The Housing Choice Voucher program and its expansion is going to go a long way towards helping families living in poverty," said Bombelles, "or senior citizens living on low fixed incomes and those living with disabilities afford their rent."

More than 10,500 Montanans rely on the program for rental assistance.

Thirty-six percent are people living with disabilities, 32% are older Montanans and 26% are single parents. But the average waitlist for the Housing Choice Voucher program in Montana is 25 months.

Bombelles noted that housing affordability isn't the only concern. Because the state is mostly rural, housing supply also is an issue.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Montana needs about 17,700 more homes that are affordable and available for renters with extremely low incomes.

Bombelles said housing advocates in the state see a few ways to increase the supply, such as increasing the state's investment.

"Also better leverage the federal dollars that are coming to the state, especially in the form the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program," said Bombelles. "To boost our supply, to subsidize the construction and maintenance of homes that are affordable to people living on low incomes."

The Build Back Better Act would provide $250 million to small, rural towns specifically for building more affordable housing.

While the task is great and the pandemic has made it greater, Bombelles said it's still possible to tackle.

"This problem is not insurmountable," said Bombelles. "We have solutions, and our nation is wealthy. We have the resources to create these investments for our people. It's just finding the path forward and finding the will to do these things."

Although Sen. Joe Manchin - D-W.Va. - has said he will vote no on the package, Democrats have vowed to move forward with a vote in 2022.

get more stories like this via email
In 2021, damages from floods and other severe weather in the United States exceeded $145 billion. (Adobe Stock)


In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …

Social Issues

Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…


The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …

Social Issues

By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …

In Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 General Election, voters will decide races for governor, U.S. House and Senate, and several state offices. (Zimmytws/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…

Social Issues

August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…

Social Issues

On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021