BUTTE, Mont. -- Butte, America is a beautiful, historic place to live. But as the cost of living continues to rise across Montana, it can also be a difficult place to live.

That's why the Mining City's top affordable housing groups are putting their heads together to finally find some answers.

Following the formation of the Housing Task Force at the state level earlier this year, Butte decided it was time to tackle the problem at the local level.

The new Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, which features collaborators from the county government, Habitat for Humanity, Action Inc., and other resources, are drafting plans to combat the high prices, low availability, and homelessness that afflict the Silver Bow valley.

"It's not only government that's going to drive this; it's got to be private industry and private developers," chief executive J.P. Gallagher said. "We've got to look at where we're going to do that, where we're going to create density in our community."

"It's about keeping Butte as an authentic community, and letting people when they grow up here be able to stay here and afford a house," Gallagher continued.

And creating affordable living options for those already in Butte isn't the only issue. With out-of-town populations like the '1923' production setting up shop, more people are wanting to call the Mining City their home.

"That's one of the things that people will say--'What's the livability of your community?'" Gallagher said. "If you don't have housing that's available for people, it's hard to ask an industry to come in and say, 'Well, you have workforce, but you don't have any place for our workforce to live.'"

While the committee is in its early stages having only been formed in August, affordable housing fixes are already in the works, as recent county land donations for housing developments, such as the one at Tullamore Street, have already provided some relief, while transformation projects at historic buildings uptown, including the Phoenix Building on Park Street and the old Salvation Army Building on Broadway, remain works in progress.

The committee will hold their next meeting on Thursday evening, as they continue to work out some possible solutions to make Butte, America a beautiful and affordable place to live once more.


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