Workforce Housing: Office Hours

Ready to stop renting, or know someone who may be ready? Have questions about our Owner-Built Workforce Housing program? Do you employ staff that need housing? Want to learn about the housing needs in our area and share your ideas for solutions? Pop into the RLACF Workforce Housing Coordinator’s virtual “office” on Thursdays over the lunch hour. If you cannot attend these Thursday office hours but still want to learn more, contact Robin Adams, Workforce Housing Coordinator, at or call (406) 426-1983.
Every Thursday in January: 1/7, 1/14, 1/21, 1/28
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Meeting ID: 819 0662 7732
Passcode: 164777

What do we do?

Connecting with and informing the community to provide workforce housing services, programs, training, and education. Our mission is to increase the quality and choices of housing in Red Lodge, provide the community with awareness of housing issues, and expand housing opportunities through training and education.

Our goal is to maintain the integrity and uniqueness of Red Lodge’s small-town culture and strengthen its economic well-being by influencing the housing environment to be more affordable, attractive, stable, and accessible for the local workforce. We strive to be efficient and knowledgeable, working with the community to remain a trusted partner and respected authority on housing issues. The Workforce Housing Steering Committee is comprised of lenders, realtors, insurers, builders, the City, businesses, and highly engaged volunteers who donate their time and expertise to partner with, NeighborWorks, Trust Montana, Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, the Home Center, Altana Federal Credit Union and other community forums to educate and take action on housing solutions.


Although there are many important housing needs to be addressed in Red Lodge, the Workforce Housing Committee identified through a Housing Needs Assessment that the most pressing concern is with the existing and future workforce. Our local workforce includes teachers, nurses, and service employees who make our wonderful resort town thrive. Without these people, our economy would not survive and our infrastructure would diminish.


The goal of the Workforce Housing Solar Fund is to provide funding to allow self-help program participants to install solar systems on their homes to reduce their energy burden, become more energy independent, become more resilient to fluctuating electricity rates, and ensure their utility costs are sustainably affordable.

The upfront costs of renewable energy can be a barrier to the households that could benefit the most from the reduction in energy bills.

The Department of Energy’s Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool measures the average energy burden at the county, state, and national level. In Carbon County, low income households are spending an average of 16% of their income on energy – much higher than the national average of 8.6% for low income households, and five times higher than non-low income households nationally and in Carbon County, who spend roughly 3% of their income on energy.

This fund will be used solely for the purpose of photovoltaic solar system installations on houses constructed for the Owner-Built Workforce Housing Program. Participants of this program are considered very low and low income, or below 80% of the Area Median Income. Each solar system will be designed to power the majority (greater than 50%) of the home’s electricity use with solar energy. Combined with the community land trust and sweat equity models, renewable energy installations will ensure these homes are sustainably affordable for our Red Lodge area workforce.


Donate to the Workforce Housing Solar Fund Online

Or, write a check payable to RLACF with “Workforce Housing Solar” in the memo line. You can then put this check in the drop box at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation building on 122 S Hauser Ave, or mail to PO Box 1871 Red Lodge, MT 59068.

SELF-HELP HOMES – We’re building new homes in Red Lodge

The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation’s Workforce Housing Steering Committee partnered with Altana Federal Credit Union, Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, and Trust Montana to build quality and efficient single-family homes for qualified people working in the Red Lodge Area. Homes are already under construction in the Spires lots on the west bench off Hwy 78, with more to come. 

Under the guidance of Helena Area Habitat for Humanity staff, qualified applicants are building their own homes, and the homes of their neighbors, with assistance from relatives, friends, and their community.  This Owner-Built Workforce Housing program is for anyone that has stable income, positive credit, and minimal debt. If you’re interested in building your own home and the homes of your neighbors, then this program may be for you. 

  • Acquire knowledge and skills in home maintenance and construction  
  • Home-buyer earns instant equity in their home by providing sweat-equity 
  • Develop lasting relationships with neighbors building their homes at the same time 
  • Interest rate when modified by payment assistance, can be as low as 1% 
  • Up to 33-year payback period, with a 38-year payback period for some applicants based on income 
  • Fixed interest rate based on current market rates at loan approval or loan closing, whichever is lower 



We use the following guidelines to evaluate each pre-qualification applicant, but additional factors may influence your eligibility.  Please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances. 

Skills: No construction or carpentry skills necessary. You’ll be taught all you need to know along the way.  

Income: Income Qualifications are set per HUD 2020 Area Median Incomes for Carbon County (see above Table). Because many factors determine a household income, you may be eligible even if your income exceeds the maximum. Applicants must exhibit steady and verifiable income for at least 1 year and work in the Red Lodge area. 

Credit History & Record: Credit is reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Free financial counseling sessions are available to support applicants with their credit and homeownership preparation.  

Residency: U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required. 

Time Commitment“Sweat-equity” is the time commitment that all households contribute to building their homes and the homes of their neighbors.  Contributing labor lowers costs and allows people to earn instant equity in their home. Commitment to 1 weekday evening 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm and 1 full-day Saturday every week are required for at least 1 years’ time and/or until all homes are completed and move-in ready. The weekday night chosen is mutually agreed upon by the build families. 


The first step is to fill out and submit a pre-qualification form. This is a short, pre-screening questionnaire that can be completed in a matter of minutes. From there, the form is reviewed and you’ll hear back to set up a meeting. 

Here’s how you can start your path towards homeownership: 

  • Fill out the pre-qualification form online (scroll down to bottom of this page)
  • You can also pick up a hard copy from the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, or download and print Pre-Qualification Form PDF
  • If you fill out a hard copy of the form, please return it to Robin Adams at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation by: 
    • Mail: P.O. Box 1871, Red Lodge, MT, 59068 
    • In-Person: Drop off at the RLACF office: 122 Hauser Ave S, Red Lodge, MT 59068 

Questions? Contact Robin Adams (RLACF Workforce Housing Coordinator):  / Office: (406) 446-2820 / Direct: (406) 426-1983


If you’d like to get involved with the Housing Committee or to volunteer for housing initiatives, contact Robin Adams. View our past quarterly newsletters below, and if you’d like to receive future newsletters then sign up here.

January 2020 Newsletter


Owner-Built Housing Program Summary

Housing Needs Assessment

Housing Strategic Plan
















If you have questions about this form and/or would like to clarify the information you provide, please contact Robin Adams at or (406) 426-1983.