With the help of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), the Fort Peck Housing Authority has constructed much-needed single-family housing for 24 families on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.

“We have a waiting list that is quite long, not only in our one- and two-bedrooms, but particularly in our three- and four-bedrooms,” says Rena Williams, tax credit manager at the housing authority. “At Fort Peck, we just don’t have enough homes for all our enrolled members, and that’s why our waiting list is so long.”

Fort Peck Housing Authority, with the help of Travois, has constructed 24 single-family homes on the reservation in Montana.
© Karl Neumann Photography Fort Peck Housing Authority, with the help of Travois, has constructed 24 single-family homes on the reservation in Montana.

The Fort Peck Housing Authority built 12 homes in Poplar, the seat for the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine tribes, and 12 homes in Wolf Point, the largest community on the reservation.

The three- and four-bedroom homes, which were designed by Travois Design & Construction Services and completed in October 2013, serve households with incomes at or below 40 percent, 50 percent, and 60 percent of the area median income. Five units were set aside for formerly homeless households. Each unit also includes two bathrooms, a one-car garage, and a residential sprinkler system.

The designers looked to passive solar design to allow for a high level of energy efficiency. The thermal envelope uses rigid insulation on the exterior of the sheathing for high-level thermal performance, and the design allows for the solar face to be directed south for optimal solar performance. Energy-efficient appliances also were included.

“It was important to us because of the economic situation here on the reservation,” says Dr. Robin Bighorn, executive director of the housing authority. “We wanted to make these houses more efficient for the tenants so they wouldn’t have to pay as much on their monthly bills.”

Bighorn and Williams say the residents, who will have the opportunity to purchase their homes after the 15-year compliance period, are showing pride in their new homes by caring for their lawns and decorating the interiors.

“We at the housing authority are very proud of these homes,” says Bighorn. “They are very visible to the public, and the public sees how clean and affordable these houses are.”

The total development cost of Fort Peck #2 was $6.2 million. RBC Capital Markets provided $4.7 million in LIHTC equity. Additional financing included Affordable Housing Program funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle through member Independence Bank and a contribution from the housing authority.

The housing authority previously received a LIHTC allocation that was used to renovate 19 existing homes on the reservation.