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Bozeman group pushes for housing change at town hall

Town Hall .jpg
Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 11:42:11-05

“I'm terrified that if I do lose that place, I don't know that I will be able to stay in Bozeman,” said Bozeman Tenants United group member, Marcos Carlos Da Silva.

Members of Bozeman Tenants United packed into Pilgrim United Congregational for a town hall to share their renting experience with four Bozeman City commissioners.

“I'll say that I hear from a lot of other people is that I feel very lucky now. I won't say that I pay cheaper and that's not true,” said Carlos Da Silva.

While this isn't the first time the group has voiced their concerns to city commissioners, this is the first time the commissioners came to them.

“A lot of public comment and talking to our city commissioners at their city commission meetings about housing and our tenant's experience,” said Group leader, Kaitie FireThunder.

They say the lack of affordable rentals in Bozeman is affecting the local economy.

“Restaurants closing randomly, businesses can't stay open and can't hire people. People like my friend who got pushed out who was a nurse,” said Carlos Da Silva.

Those young and old shared their frustration with city leaders wanting more action from the city.

“There's a vast majority of people who this issue impacts,” said FireThunder.

The group asked commissioners to pledge a ban on type three and two rentals. This means the owner is partially or not present at the rental. They asked leaders to direct city staff to research a ban and subsidies. Commissioners pledge to vote on the topic before May 8.

The group tracked the answers from Deputy Mayor Cunningham, Commissioners Coburn, Pomeroy, and Madgic on a large billboard. The commissioners all supported research on the topics, however, their answers varied on the types to ban, saying they’d need more information before deciding. There was agreement from the commissioners that a May 8 vote is too soon.

“Second home Airbnb ban here in Bozeman in Bozeman city limits,” said FireThunder.

When I sat down with one of the group's leaders they said housing affects everyone living in Bozeman.

“It's not young college students who are experiencing lack of accessible and affordable housing but it's also like people," said FireThunder.

“Signing the bill is only step one we need to see that the city implements this act properly,” said Carlos Da Silva.