Last fall, Devynn Fetter came home to find papers stuck in the door of her home in Columbia Falls, Montana. The paperwork let her know that her community of 30 homes was for sale – and that she and her neighbors had the opportunity to buy it for themselves. Once things were in motion, Hideaway Community was on its way to becoming a Resident Owned Community with Dev at the helm as interim Board President, a role she now permanently holds. Her story was featured in a recent article in the Flathead Beacon talking about the growing affordable housing crisis in the area – Hideaway is now permanently affordable in an area where the average home price has soared to over half a million dollars. We talk about a little bit of everything in this episode with Dev – rapid population growth in Flathead County, how her dad helped her decide to take a leadership role at Hideaway, going door-to-door to answer her neighbors’ questions, the unique skills of Hideaway’s Board, and what’s in store for the new ROC’s future!
Episode: A Flathead County Neighborhood Becomes Permanently Affordable
Welcome to the Ownership Matters podcast, where hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard of ROC USA speak with people who people who live in, work with, and advocate for Resident Owned Communities! Today they are joined by Devynn Fetter, the newly elected Board President at Hideaway Community in Columbia Falls, Montana.
0:12 – Introduction
Devynn Fetter introduces herself and shares her thoughts on the population growth in Montana and some of the hidden jewels in this state. She also speaks about some of her favorite hobbies and activities she is currently involved in, including her most recent venture as Board President at Hideaway Community. Devynn also discusses some of the struggles Montanans have faced with lack of housing and rising prices. Her story was recently covered by the Flathead Beacon in an article titled Solving the Housing Crisis.
7:05 – Devynn discusses her own experience in finding an affordable place to live
Devynn shares about her own experience in finding a place to live amid a lack of housing and high prices. After some searching, she was able to find a house for a good deal and explains how everything fell into place. She moved into Hideaway Community and shares what she loves most about living there, including the privacy, space, and community.
10:30 –Hideaway Community Becomes a ROC
Devynn shares about deciding to purchase the neighborhood as a community and becoming elected as President of the Board. Her dad played a big role in encouraging her to become involved. She shares the feelings of fear and hesitancy many people in the community had in not wanting their land to be redeveloped, which fueled their desire to collectively purchase the land underneath their homes. Many people played important roles in this process, and Devynn takes some time to list some of the people who helped the process, kept community members informed, and helped operate the board with her. Devynn emphasized the importance in building relationships and trust with her neighbors.
21:25 – How Devynn’s dad inspired her to take a leadership role
Devynn takes some more time to dive in deeper to how her dad helped her take a leadership role in the community. From going to meetings with her to helping her think through the right questions to ask, Devynn’s dad encouraged her to help her community.
24:40 – How the community came together and helped reach their goals
Devynn shares how the Board’s goal is to make Hideaway Community an enjoyable place to live that meets the needs of the community members. She looks forward to changes they would like to make now that have the capacity and ability to do so. This includes updating the septic systems as well as making other investments to the neighborhood, like a playground or a community building.
31:09 – Recap and Conclusion
Devynn talks about other cooperatives she’s familiar with. She also shares some encouragement to listeners in speaking up for what you believe and getting involved in opportunities to live your passions and convictions. She points out the benefits that come when you put in the effort to get involved and making sure the community is taken care of.
Learn more about the Hideaway Community
Check out the Flathead Beacon article, Solving the Housing Crisis
Learn more about ROC USA through our website.
Thoughts? Questions? Stories? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.