Homeword began as a project of WORD (Women’s Opportunity and Resource Development, Inc.) in 1994. In 1998, Homeword became its own 501(c)(3) with its own Board of Directors. It formed as a response to the community need for affordable housing and aimed to provide meaningful economic change in lower income families’ lives. After 15 years of operation, Homeword is a well-established, regionally and nationally recognized affordable housing developer., As of 2009, Homeword has completed 10 projects totaling 163 units in issoula and Billings, and in each project has modeled innovative design and development. Homeword’s budget has grown from $15,000 and two part-time employees to $700,000 and 11 employees. Homeword is a first in the state on many fronts, introducing the state to strawbale homes, land trusts, and community-based decision-making through charrettes. Homeword now operates two homeownership centers in Missoula and Billings to promote homeownership and financial education to lower income families., Through all of this growth, Homeword has remained deeply committed to mission of providing safe, healthy affordable housing using sustainable methods and promoting strong communities through housing counseling and education for those most in need., Homeword *Works to influence policy that promotes housing affordability and educates communities on related social and economic policies. *Practices energy and resource efficiency to ensure long-term affordability and acknowledges the importance of aesthetics in promoting self-respect and empowerment. *Serves those most in need, such as single headed households, persons with disabilities and other minority groups. *Recognizes that access to financial education and housing are two essential steps to economic self sufficiency. *Builds strong partnerships with other non-profit organizations and the private sector to address affordable housing needs in Montana.
Sustainability Vision- Homeword’s holistic approach to affordable housing grew out of the simple notion that you cannot build for the future by destroying the environment. Green building is emerging as an important strategy for addressing the loss of biodiversity caused by the development of housing, long recognized for its taxing consumption of energy and materials and significant production of waste. For example, one quarter of wood harvested in the world is used in the construction of buildings. Overall, construction consumes more than 40 percent of the world’s energy and raw materials and accounts for 44 percent of the waste in our landfills.,Because Homeword recognizes the intrinsic link between long-term environmental costs, affordability, and community revitalization, it has made a commitment to green building. All Homeword projects include strategies for resource and energy efficiency, waste reduction, smart land use, sustainable transportation systems, healthy indoor air quality, and community sensitive design. Homeword’s values demonstrate a belief that achieving sustainability means paying attention to social equity, environmental conservation, and strengthening the local economy. Applying the Vision Each Homeword project builds on the past experience of the previous projects, and the subsequent green features demonstrate a growing understanding and knowledge of green building practices.