Gianforte's new housing task force instructed to propose plans by mid-October
Gov. Greg Gianforte’s new task force to address affordable housing issues met for the first time in Helena Wednesday. They have a narrow window to develop policy ideas before the next legislative session in January.
The task force made up of state and local government officials, business professionals, economists and low-income advocates are developing actionable proposals to make housing more affordable. The governor wants an initial list by the middle of October.
Patrick Barkey, an economist at the University of Montana and task force member, is skeptical of that timeline.
“You’re trying to solve in a month what we haven’t been able to solve for 20 years,” he says.
The 29 task force members are split into four subcommittees focused on construction, local government, regulations and the economy. Over the next two weeks, the subcommittees are tasked with identifying housing-related challenges within their areas of focus.
Gianforte says housing construction hasn’t kept pace with the state’s growing population and asks the task force to leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding solutions.
“Give us solutions that make housing more affordable and accessible for hard-working Montanans. They’re all counting on us,” Gianforte says.
The task force will meet again the first week of August and start talking about how to fix the state’s housing problem.