Community Dividend

Fed Gov. Gramlich tours Great Falls for look at affordable housing efforts

A summary of Federal Reserve Governor Edward Gramlich's June 2001 visit to Great Falls, Mont.

Paula Woessner - Community Development Publications Editor

Published November 1, 2001  |  November 2001 issue

Federal Reserve Governor and Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Chair Edward Gramlich got a first-hand look at affordable housing initiatives in Montana when he toured Great Falls on June 7, 2001. Gov. Gramlich's visit coincided with National Neighborworks® Week, when Neighborworks organizations sponsored events nationwide to celebrate their accomplishments and educate the public about affordable housing issues. The visit was coordinated by Neighborhood Housing Services of Great Falls (Great Falls NHS) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and its Helena, Montana branch.

Gov. Gramlich's day in Great Falls began with a morning community development tour, conducted by Great Falls NHS Executive Director Nancy O'Brien. The tour highlighted some of the city's development areas and rehabilitated housing, and later stopped at the site of a High School House project, where students from Great Falls high schools had constructed two homes for sale to local low- to moderate-income families.

After the tour, Gov. Gramlich attended the formal signing of a partnership agreement to create the Montana HomeOwnership Network, Inc. (MHN). The MHN is a statewide network of more than 20 partners—including nonprofits, the state finance agency, cities and rural organizations—that will make housing loans available across the state and expand homeownership education to rural areas. The MHN is organized as a subsidiary of Great Falls NHS and is the first organization in the NeighborWorks Network to operate across an entire state.

A luncheon with Gov. Gramlich followed the signing ceremony. Luncheon attendees included bankers, business owners, state and local officials, community developers and current and former directors of the Helena Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. During the luncheon, Gov. Gramlich delivered remarks on the accomplishments of Great Falls NHS and the importance of the new homeownership network.

The luncheon was followed by a private meeting at U.S. Bank in Great Falls, where Gov. Gramlich met with bankers and other MHN partners to learn their views on banking and lending issues in Montana. The group discussed affordable housing issues, barriers to homeownership for low-income families and predatory lending.

Gov. Gramlich ended his afternoon in Great Falls with a visit to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, which overlooks the Missouri River. The center features exhibits on the Lewis and Clark expedition's portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri and the Indian tribes that expedition members encountered on their journey to and from the Pacific Ocean.

Montana HomeOwnership Network partners

The Montana HomeOwnership Network, Inc. (MHN) is a unique partnership of approximately 20 nonprofit and private corporations, government entities and other organizations that provides homeownership information and opportunities for the people of Montana. Listed below are the organizations that were present for the signing of the MHN partnership agreement on June 7, 2001, in Great Falls.

  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Great Falls
  • Missoula Housing Corporation for the Missoula HomeOwnership Network
  • Montana State Resource Conservation and Development
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture
  • Montana Board of Housing and Housing Division HOME Program
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Enterprise Community
  • Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
  • City of Great Falls, Community Development
  • City of Billings, Community Development
  • Fannie Mae, Montana Partnership Office
  • First Interstate BancSystem Foundation
  • Heritage Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Western Security Bank
  • Montana Building Industry Association
  • Career Training Institute

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