Project Name: BSCHT Operations
Sponsoring Organization: Big Sky Community Housing Trust

The mission of Big Sky Community Housing Trust is to provide a diversity of affordable homes in order to grow and retain a strong base of employees living in Big Sky. The BSCHT organization began in 2018 under the HRDC umbrella, but it became its own 501(c)(3) and officially separated from HRDC on July 1, 2020.

Since BSCHT began in 2018, the cost of purchasing property in Big Sky has increased 73% with a condo averaging $1,044,886 and a single-family home averaging $2,444,868. As standard guidelines recommend spending only 30% of income on housing, market-rate purchasing is impossible for workers.

Big Sky’s rental market is also precarious. Big Sky and Bozeman have a 0% rental vacancy rate, proof that more inventory is needed as a healthy rate should be around 7%. Earlier this year, Vacasa named Big Sky the top U.S. destination to own a vacation rental. The massive increase in short-term units has both increased rental rates and forced locals to compete with tourists for a home. The average cost to rent a BEDROOM in Big Sky is $1,000 plus utilities. Employees commonly spend 40-50% of their income on housing, which in turn impacts services like Big Sky Community Food Bank.

This inability for locals to obtain an affordable home cannot be viewed as only a ski bum problem as employers identify the lack of housing as the most significant problem in the recruitment and retention of workers. Small businesses like Roxy’s, Big Sky Veterinary Hospital, and Lotus Pad struggle to hire because there is nowhere for workers to live. Lotus Pad lost over $100,000 in revenue this summer after the restaurant had to close for two days a week because the owner could not hire the employees needed to remain open daily.

As the community cannot control market prices, the only solution is to create more inventory. BSCHT uses multiple strategies, including new builds like MeadowView Condominiums. MeadowView is Big Sky’s first deed restricted complex offering local workers homeownership opportunities at subsidized rates. Over 105 families have completed a homebuyer education class and received personal financial counseling. Fifty-two of these families will buy a MeadowView unit at 30-40% below market rate. Seventy-five percent of Phase 1 buyers needed down payment assistance to help them qualify. Nearly all of Phase 2A buyers will also require down payment assistance to purchase.

To address the need for more rental inventory, BSCHT started a RENT LOCAL campaign and partnered with Landing Locals to create a website for locals seeking long-term rentals. The goal of RENT LOCAL is to entice owners to convert their short-term rentals into long-term rentals for locals. The hope of this campaign is to create enough inventory to help locals find homes until BSCHT can begin its next build, which will be an apartment complex for workers. Plans with local developers for this complex are currently being negotiated.

BSCHT is dedicated to bringing the community together to implement these strategies and address our local housing issues.