Data helps identify the specific outlines of our current housing crisis

LIVINGSTON, Mont. —  In recent years, housing has become a critical issue in Park County, but identifying exactly what is happening in the ever-changing housing market can be difficult.

Today, the Park County Housing Coalition, collaboratively launched by the Park County Community Foundation and Human Resource Development Council of District IX (HRDC), is releasing the 2021 Park County Housing Needs Assessment. This assessment compiles information to document our community-wide housing challenge.

Consider, in Park County:

  • Single-family median home sales prices increased 50.4% from $282,753 in December 2019 to $425,250 in June 2021.
  • In a market characterized by extremely low vacancy rates and rapidly rising rents, the average estimated rent is $1,565.
  • This is more than twice what the average renter could afford. The average renter wage for Park County is $12.79 an hour, which means one person working full time at the average renter wage could afford monthly rent of $665.
  • Currently, 991 households earn less than $14,999 per year, but there are only 221 homes with available subsidies for these households.

These statistics — along with their sources — are thoroughly documented in the Park County Housing Assessment, which looks at topics like the price of housing for residents looking to rent or own a home, as well as specific housing concerns such as special needs housing, housing insecurity, and seasonal housing pressures. An electronic version of the Park County Housing Needs Assessment is available for download from the Park County Community Foundation website, at this location:

“The purpose of this Housing Needs Assessment is to help Park County residents and local leaders make more informed decisions impacting the housing market,” said Tracy Menuez, HRDC associate director and community development director. “The assessment looks at the diverse communities within Park County to highlight the particular housing needs of Livingston, Shields Valley, Paradise Valley, Gardiner, and Cooke City-Silver Gate.”

The 2021 Park County Housing Needs Assessment also benefits from the input of national housing expert Jeffrey Lubell, the director of housing and community initiatives at Abt Associates. Funding for this project came from AMB West Philanthropies and the City of Livingston, through COVID-19 Recovery Act funds.

In 2019, in response to their community vision and data initiative, We Will Park County, the Park County Community Foundation received an overwhelming response from residents that housing was a top concern. The COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated the problem to near crisis levels, as revealed in the report. More info can be found at

“Throughout the many gatherings of the Housing Coalition in 2020 and 2021, updates from local stakeholders established a framework of concerns about access to housing in Park County,” said Barb Oldershaw, program director at the Park County Community Foundation. “The recently released Housing Needs Assessment further clarifies the extent of current housing needs by capturing key facts and figures to explain the mismatch between available housing and the large number of would-be residents seeking a home.”

“From Wilsall to Cooke City, housing in Park County is an issue that touches on the daily life of all Park County residents, said Gavin Clark, executive director of the Park County Community Foundation. “As shocking as the data is, history shows that Park County always finds a way to come together to support our friends, family, and neighbors.”