The Montana Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday that over the past five years, the agency has supported affordable housing for thousands of families across the state.

Communications Director Emily Ritter Saunders said strengthening Montana families lies at the core of its mission to support a growing Montana economy.

“We know that hardworking Montanans all need an affordable place to live, so at the department of Commerce we have a handful of federal programs that funnel monies into our communities to ensure that we can work toward growing affordable housing for families across the state,” said Ritter Saunders. “Some of those programs include the Housing Trust Fund, the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Home Investment Partnership Program and federal housing tax credits. All of these work in concert to increase the number of units to be developed in Montana that remain affordable, and it’s also money that can be used to rehabilitate existing affordable homes.”

Ritter Saunders said the State of Montana has helped to develop a sizable number of affordable homes for Montanans.

“On average, the state is able to develop or rehab about 485 homes each year, and those are spread out all across the state,” she said. “In the last five years the department has supported the development of rehabilitation of 2,429 affordable homes in Montana, and that’s in every corner of the state.”

That is in addition to supporting 5,275 jobs totaling nearly $237 million in paid wages, 3,483 low-interest home loans, and more than $219 million in rental assistance payments made to landlords that provide affordable rent to Montanans.