An Article in The Atlantic Highlights the Issue Montanans Can Agree On
This month has been one for bringing Montanans together.
First, an article from Business Insider profiled a woman who moved from NYC to Bozeman in 2020 which stirred up a lot of opinions, including an Open Letter from a Montana Man in response to her comments on dating. In general, Montanans were not impressed, and people joked that pointing out the cringe-worthy observations in the article was something Montanans could agree on.
But then another article, actually published the week before, started to get shared around.
The Atlantic Covers the Housing Crisis in Montana
"The Anti-California" is a recent article from The Atlantic that has Montanans clicking "share." In it, author Annie Lowrey does a commendable job of interviewing multiple stakeholders across Montana on the issue of housing and demonstrates that regardless of political affiliation, Montanans want solutions to the housing crisis.
Lowrey highlighted Governor Gianfote's Housing Task Force and the Frontier Institute, among other groups, and the article focused not only on how fast the policy changes happened but also on how unlike-California policies these were.
There's More to the Story, and Here's What I'd Like to Know
There were a few things that stood out to me in the article, that went beyond the conversation around single-family zoning. From the article:
- "...Montana already had pretty loose building regulations, and legislators loosened them even further..."
- "There still isn't enough incentive for developers to create low-income housing units..."
- "Montana has weak tenant protections and too few resources for struggling renters..."
While the article focuses on single-family zoning, I wonder what can be done for those who are trying to hold onto the living spaces they are currently in. The renters whose rent has increased three times in the span of two years, or as the article points out, the housing that is still occupied (often in rural areas or on reservations) and in serious disrepair.
Perhaps the changes in housing regulations will allow these people to find safe, affordable housing. Perhaps the next step will be to revisit building regulations and tenant protections.
Until then, maybe we can be encouraged that not as many people are moving to Montana as we thought.