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Early Learning and Job Center Opens
in Helena, Montana

On February 13, 2014, the Helena Housing Authority (HHA) celebrated the opening of their Early Learning and Job Training Center, a new facility designed with state-of-the-art energy efficiency features. HHA received $576,479 through HUD's Public Housing Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities (CFCF) Program and was one of only ten housing authorities across the country selected for this funding. The main goal of the CFCF program is to integrate education and employment services to help public housing residents achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Group at ribbon cutting-Erik Amundson in blue jacket holding large scissors in middle

HHA partnered with a number of local agencies to leverage resources and work collaboratively to meet some of the greatest community needs in Montana's capital city. During the daytime, the local Head Start program will occupy the building and provide support and education to preschool children of families residing in public housing. In the evenings, the Career Training Institute will use the facility to help public housing residents and other community members learn job training and employment skills. While the facility was designed primarily for public housing residents, it will also be utilized by residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The building achieved the highest possible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating, platinum status for new construction. Buildings attaining this level of efficiency are considered among the greenest in the world. The new center features solar panels to generate electricity, air source heat pumps and radiant in-floor heat, and almost 100% of construction waste was diverted from the local landfill.

Additionally, HHA is one of fifty housing leaders across the country to formally sign on to President Obama's Better Building Challenge. This is a coordinated effort to improve building efficiency and cut energy use by twenty percent in the next ten years. Through these efforts, HHA is setting an example to public housing residents and the community about the importance of resource conservation and living sustainably.

Contact Erik Amundson, HUD Helena Field Director