PLN Registration

Housing Solutions Roundtable

January 13th

8:30am - 11:30am Pacific | 9:30am - 12:30pm Mountain

A virtual event hosted on Zoom

The above link will take you to an external website to register.

The topic of housing is wide reaching and, in too many places, a heavy burden for those unable to secure stable, healthy, and affordable housing. Innovative strategies are needed, but where does anyone begin to tackle the issue? You've come to the right place. At this solutions focused roundtable hosted by the University of Idaho you will 

  • Receive basic tools from Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming professionals who have curated a toolkit for attendees 
  • Hear from professionals and community members from across the West tackling this issue head on in small towns and rural communities
  • Network with peers across the three states who might be experiencing the same issues as you 

This event is designed for anyone experiencing housing insecurity, concerned citizens, policy makers and active volunteers or professionals engaged in housing strategies and solutions. Our focus is on rural communities with populations under 10,000.

  •   Do you need a framework and language for more productive housing conversations with community stakeholders?
  •  Are you ready to assess needs and develop housing solutions for your community?
  • Do you need practical tools and resources to achieve local housing goals despite common market challenges?

The Montana, Idaho and Wyoming Peer Learning Network, a project of the Western Community Assessment Network (WeCAN), is bringing together some of the innovative and practical solutions happening right now as part of the solutions roundtable - solutions that you can adapt in your own community.

Some of the solution stories you'll hear about include 

  • Building preservation, rehabilitation, and repurposing
  • Re-thinking ownership models to include resident-owned communities, co-housing, or cooperatives
  • Market demand for small-footprint models like Tiny Homes, Accessory Dwelling Units, or micro-apartments
  • Self-build options and strategies
  • Creative financing and incentive structures, including crowd investment, fee waivers or density bonuses

This event is not meant to be an exhaustive resource, but rather a jumping off point to learn and connect.

Keynote Speakers

Jenn Lopez - President & Founder of Project Moxie

Project Moxie is a Durango-based affordable housing and homelessness strategy consultancy firm specializing in strategic planning across the housing continuum. Project Moxie also provides pre-development services for nonprofits, local governments, and organizations at all stages of the development process. Project Moxie was launched in 2018 by its President, Jenn Lopez, and is based on her more than two decades of experience working in housing and homelessness programming. Since 2017, she has provided technical assistance to develop Affordable Housing (PSH) in New Mexico, Colorado and Mammoth Lakes, California. In 2019 Jenn helped to facilitate the first affordable housing investment strategy for the Colorado Health Foundation, the fourth largest health foundation in the country, as part of their health equity work in Colorado. Jenn brings significant experience as well in affordable housing finance and program development to her work with local communities. In 2021 Jenn co-chaired a task force for Senator Bennet to develop a national housing policy framework. From 2014-2017, Jenn worked across Colorado’s state agencies as the Director of Homelessness Initiatives for Governor Hickenlooper implementing outcome-based policies and programs to prevent and end homelessness in Colorado.

Bart Cochran - CEO & Founder of LEAP Housing Solutions

LEAP Charities is an Idaho nonprofit devoted to creative affordable housing solutions. In addition to founding and operating LEAP, Bart is a licensed REALTOR® and CEO of Property People, a local real estate company. His experience is evident in LEAP’s creative housing programs for those often excluded from housing opportunities: Welcome Housing, a transitional housing program for refugees; Yes You Can, a program focused on homebuyers with barriers to homeownership; Windy Court I & II, the first net zero affordable housing development in Idaho (built from shipping containers through a partnership with a B-Corp Builder); Caritas Commons, Boise’s largest affordable homeownership project in over 25 years (and the Treasure Valley’s first community land trust); and LEAP ROC, an affiliate of ROC USA, which converts manufactured housing parks into resident-owned communities. Bart graduated from the University of Idaho where he served as Student Body President. He was named by the Idaho Business Review as a Top 40 Under 40 in his 20s, and lives in Northwest Boise with his wife and son on a tiny farm.

Solutions Speakers

Robin Adams of the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation (Red Lodge, MT) will discuss a partnership among the Community Foundation, Altana Federal Credit Union, Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, USDA Rural Development, and Trust Montana on an owner-built housing project that will bring 12 permanently affordable homes to people working in the Red Lodge area.

Michelle Groenevelt, City of McCall (McCall, ID) will talk about McCall’s housing incentives, deed restriction program and other efforts to ensure affordable rental housing for local workers.

Mike Scholl of Ayres Associates (Fort Collins, CO) will discuss housing approaches that work in rural areas, with an emphasis on stories from Wyoming communities.

Julie Stiteler of Homeword (Missoula, MT) will talk about the conversion of the historic Livingston Memorial Hospital in Livingston, Montana, to Bluebunch Flats, a 37-unit rental property.

Jed Nebel, Town of Lovell, (Lovell, WY) will share Lovell’s experience completing Wyoming’s community-driven Code Audit process.

Missy White, Lander City Council, (Lander, WY) will discuss Lander’s Code Audit review and efforts to make recommended housing ordinance changes.

Macy Miller, (Moscow, ID) will talk about building tiny homes and the policies that promote small space dwellings.

Resource Guide & Toolkit: Housing 101, a guide chock full of introductory housing information like definitions, acronyms, and dozens of housing supportive organizations for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Click here to download the PDF guide.

Housing Basics available to download here.

The WeCAN Peer Learning Network is a partnership of the University of Idaho Extension, Idaho Rural Partnership, Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA), University of Wyoming Extension, and the Wyoming Business Council. This project is supported by USDA’s Agriculture andFood Research Initiative (AFRI) of the National Institute of Food andAgriculture, Grant # 2020-04601. It is part of the AFRI Foundational program.