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Wells Fargo and Federal Home Loan Bank grant boosts Habitat for Humanity’s East Helena initiative

Helena, Montana – Habitat for Humanity has received a $100,000 grant which will be used to advance their housing project in East Helena. Jacob Kuntz, the Executive Director of Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, outlined that the funds will cover expenses related to zoning, traffic studies, infrastructure considerations, and integration with the existing community.

“Zoning for the neighborhood that we’re going to build, traffic studies related to you know how cars are going to interact with the areas, taking a look at infrastructure and taking a look at how the homes are going to interact with the existing community,” says Executive Director of Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, Jacob Kuntz.

The grant, sourced from Wells Fargo and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, will specifically finance the subdivision application for the project. This initiative has been in development for approximately six years, aiming to establish over 1500 homes across 250 acres, provided all plans proceed smoothly.

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The housing will include a mix of lower-income units and various residential options like single-family homes, duplexes, 4-plexes, and townhomes. Additionally, the project plans feature 46 acres of green space, a school, commercial facilities, and enhanced access to a new park by the Prickly Pear Land Trust. Construction is anticipated to start in 2026.

“The type of housing where the average worker, the average person, could afford to build a home. And so, this is what’s going to be in the neighborhood, this mix of styles, mix of incomes, across the spectrum, so that we can create a neighborhood that fits everybody,” says Kuntz.

Kuntz says this project addresses critical housing needs in the area, providing vital starter homes to those who can’t afford current market prices.

“We have this missing middle, you know, the starter home it doesn’t exist anymore. A house that’s in the three hundreds, you know, in Helena doesn’t exist anymore. 70% of the Helena area population qualifies for Habitat’s programs right now. And I know that another 10-15% can’t afford the average price of a home these days because it’s so high,” says Kuntz.

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