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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The city of Missoula will have 200 new affordable apartment units in about two years, the Missoula Housing Authority said.

The housing authority held a groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday for the $42 million Villagio project.

The project consists of two five-story buildings with apartments with two, three and four bedrooms, geared toward families. There will be underground parking. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

The apartments will be open to households making at or below 60% of the median income. The area median income on April 1 was $70,900 for a household of four. If the apartments were open now, four person households with income of $42,540 or less would be eligible. Rent will vary by income.

The project is being built using tax credits along with city, state and federal funding. A lack of rental housing in Missoula is leading to increasing rents, while some property owners are selling rental houses in the hot real estate market, further compounding the difficulty in finding rentals.

Collin Bangs, chair of the Missoula Housing Authority's board of commissioners, said the project will not solve the affordable housing problem in Missoula, but it will solve it for 200 families.

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