File Photo HRDC

The HRDC building in downtown Bozeman.

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The Human Resource Development Council has purchased Darlinton Manor on North Fifth Avenue to help address Bozeman’s affordable housing shortage, said associate director Tracy Menuez.

For decades, Darlinton Manor has offered 85 of its 100 units at a subsidized rate, enabling the majority of tenants to spend 30% of their income on rent. However, the owner, Monfric, recently decided to sell the building, creating uncertainty about whether the units would remain subsidized.

HRDC bought Darlinton Manor to preserve the existing subsidized units and also plans to subsidize the remaining 15 units.

The units will be for those who are over 62 or who are disabled and who have a household income that is less than 60% of the median household income for Gallatin County. For someone living alone, that means they must make less than about $38,000 to qualify for a unit.

The purchase of Darlinton Manor comes as the restrictions that keep rent below market rate at Aspen Meadows are set to expire next summer. When this happens, the apartments off Oak Street near Seventh Avenue will no longer be affordable.

“We tried to purchase Aspen, but we weren’t successful because we are competing against for-profit entities, but we will keep trying,” Menuez said. “Just like every community in the country, we don’t have enough affordable housing, so any time we lose some, it’s pretty catastrophic.”

Last August, HRDC purchased the Boulevard Apartments, a 41-unit subsidized building at the intersection of Babcock Street and Tracy Avenue from long-time owner, Bob Rasmus, to ensure it remained affordable.

HRDC is now applying to the Montana Board of Housing for money to renovate both Darlinton Manor and Boulevard Apartments. Renovations will likely begin next year.

HRDC is also moving forward with another affordable housing project. Construction will begin this fall on the Arrowleaf Park and Perennial Park project near Tschache and Baxter lanes, which will include 232 affordable homes, family housing services, early childhood education and onsite health services.

A Bozeman housing needs assessment completed in February 2019 found that somewhere between 5,405 and 6,340 new homes are needed in the city by 2025 to keep up with the growing population. About 60% of those would need to be priced below market rate — or a maximum of $1,000 per month — to meet residents’ needs.

The Bozeman City Commissioners have made affordable housing a top priority and last year endorsed a plan that outlined 19 strategies for meeting their goal.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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