Work on 33 new apartment units for low-income seniors got under way in Helena with a ceremonial start Tuesday.

The River Rock Residences, the latest project from the Rocky Mountain Development Council, are aimed at an audience in particular need of help with affordable housing.

“A variety of sources, including the Helena Area Housing Needs Survey completed about 18 months ago, document the growing need for senior housing as Montana’s population ages,” Liz Mogstad, RMDC’s affordable housing program manager, said in a news release.

The new housing development will feature garden apartment units. The project is located at the corner of River Rock Drive and Bedrock, near the Heritage Propane building. The River Rock Residences will be similar to the townhomes at Ptarmigan and Pheasant Glen, which were among the first housing projects created by RMDC. The nonprofit agency works to provide safe, appropriate and thoughtfully designed housing to community members of all ages with limited incomes.

“Vacated units at those two projects typically fill within a few days,” noted Mogstad. “The garden apartment design, created by CWG Architects in partnership with Bjerke Architects, is really light, airy and functional.”

Funding for the project comes from the Montana Board of Housing Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, and HUD-funded programs of the Community Development Block Grant program, with grant sponsorship by Lewis and Clark County and the Home Investment Partnership program, administered by the Montana Department of Commerce.

Mountain West Bank of Helena is providing construction and permanent financing. Golden Eagle Construction of Helena is the general contractor on the project. RMDC officials said they expect the new housing units to be ready for occupancy in about a year.

RMDC’s Executive Director Gene Leuwer noted that RMDC now operates a property management program for nine new and renovated affordable housing complexes located throughout Helena, Townsend, Boulder and Augusta.

For further information on the River Rock project, contact Mogstad, Affordable Housing Program, at lmogstad@rmdc.net or 442-1236, ext. 1. For information on renting an RMDC property, contact Bobbie Sue Carothers at bcarothers@rmdc.net or 442-0610.

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