YWCA Missoula’s new Family Housing Center and Domestic Violence Shelter will provide a safe space for Missoula’s most vulnerable children and families, with the help of the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program brought to the project by community development lender MoFi. The new $12 million, 36,750-square-foot facility on South Third Street West fills a critical – and currently unmet – need for families healing from homelessness, domestic abuse and/or sexual violence. The NMTC program was the final piece of the financing puzzle that also included a capital campaign and a loan from First Security Bank in Missoula. The project demonstrates the power of this federal program to catalyze critical development and bring essential services into communities that need them most.
The New Markets Tax Credit program that made the expansion possible was enacted in 2000, a bipartisan effort to spur private investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities that lack access to the capital needed to support and grow businesses, create jobs and sustain healthy local economies. The credits are awarded annually through a competitive process; to date, MoFi has received nearly $600 million in New Markets Tax Credits. MoFi then works with investors to turn the credits into cash, and uses that cash to fund catalytic development projects in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Recent projects that received NMTC support include the nonprofit Family Service in Billings, Ace Hardware in Butte and Blackfeet Community College in Browning.
However, the credit is currently set to expire at the end of 2019. There are bipartisan bills in the House and Senate to make the NMTC permanent and ensure this important financial tool remains available to rural communities and urban neighborhoods that have been left outside the economic mainstream.
U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are longtime supporters of the New Markets Tax Credit program and have signed on as co-sponsors of the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act, which would provide a permanent extension and expansion of the NMTC.
“YWCA Missoula provides critical services to folks who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing violence, and their new Family Housing Center and Domestic Violence Shelter will help better keep Missoula’s families and children safe and secure,” Tester said. “I’ll continue fighting for important job creating initiatives like the New Markets Tax Credit that make this and other lifesaving projects around Montana possible.”
“This new YWCA facility aimed at treating families healing from homelessness, domestic abuse, and sexual violence is a tremendous step towards helping vulnerable families in Missoula heal,” Daines said. “I’m honored to have fought hard for the New Markets Tax Credit program so this important project could have the resources it needs to be successful, and I’m very thankful to YWCA for their hard work in the Missoula community.”
“YWCA Missoula had a bold vision to expand, but even with community support and the generosity of donors, like so many nonprofits, they found the financing to follow through on their vision was a huge hurdle to overcome,” MoFi President Dave Glaser said. “We are thrilled to partner with the YWCA and First Security Bank of Missoula to provide the capital needed to move forward and, in doing so, invest in a place that will improve the lives of some of Missoula’s most vulnerable children and adults for generations to come. It’s another great example of the New Markets program bringing federal investment into projects that align with community needs and catalyze real, lasting change.”
“This new facility is truly going to change lives and transform our community,” said Cindy Weese, Executive Director of YWCA Missoula. “The addition of the New Markets Tax Credit to our mix of funding sources and generous donations allows us to implement the full scope of our project and make good on our vision for a safe, comfortable, and highly functional space for individuals and families to thrive.”
YWCA Missoula is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The new facility, which broke ground in August, is located at 1800 S. Third St. W. It includes 25 Family Housing Center rooms that will provide same-day access to housing for homeless families, as well as crisis support, assessment, diversion, supportive services and distribution of Rapid Rehousing rental assistance. An overflow space can house up to six additional homeless families when needed. Thirteen Domestic Violence Shelter rooms will double the current capacity to provide safe housing for families and individuals healing from domestic and/or sexual violence. The new facility will also bring the majority of the YWCA administration and programming under one roof, including crisis counseling, children’s programs and weekly support groups.
Since 2009, MoFi has used NMTC to help finance over $320 million in projects across Montana.