NeighborWorks, with development partner Homeword, broke ground on the Baatz Block Apartments. This historic building will be renovated into 25 permanent supportive housing apartments. Permanent supportive housing combines affordable rental assistance with support services to address the needs of people experiencing chronic homelessness. It is designed to build independent living and connect people with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services.
"Permanent supportive housing is not just a roof over someone's head,” said Sherrie Arey, NeighborWorks Great Falls Executive Director. “It's a foundation upon which lives can be rebuilt, hope can be restored, and chronic homelessness can be conquered. It's a testament to our community’s commitment to compassion and humanity, recognizing that every individual, regardless of their past, deserves the opportunity for stability and a chance to thrive."
Located at 400 2nd Ave S, this blighted property is in the heart of downtown Great Falls. The historic building, constructed in 1913, will undergo a thorough restoration to return the façade and much of the interior to its original appearance. Construction to renovate the block will begin this month and be completed at the end of 2024. The apartments will be full and operational by early 2025.
Low-income housing tax credits from the Montana Board of Housing, as well as funding from the City of Great Falls and Cascade County, make this project possible. Funding includes historic tax credits, HOME funds, ARPA funds, HTF funds, and HOME ARP funds. The Baatz Block is the first permanent supportive housing model in Great Falls, and only the second in Montana using tax credits.
“We hope to give it a bright future as we do with the individuals who will live here and the opportunity they will have for dignity and housing," said Arey. "It is not lost upon me today as we do this celebration, as we kick this off, that those who will most likely live here are surrounding us, but they are beyond the fence. To bring them back and embrace them, and work with them hand in hand to demystify the issue of homelessness, demystify the issue of struggle, and what it takes to raise those individuals up and give them back the dignity and humanity that is to be housed.”
Watch KRTV's story on the groundbreaking here.