According to Missoula County Treasurer Tyler Gernant, an online fundraiser to help pay off the debts of local mobile home owners before those homes were put up for auction was no gimmick. Gernant says money was still coming in right up until the last minute.

"Quite a bit of money actually came through," Gernant said. "There was, I think $9,700 or somewhere in that range, raised online, then there was an additional $900 they brought in in checks, so there was a little over about $10,600 that was brought in to help pay back taxes on mobile homes. 31 homes were saved. There were 25 on the auction block this morning and, of those, 13 were sold. Of the 25 that were left, most of those we believe were abandoned and vacant."

The fundraiser was started by Missoula Resident Svein Newman, who says he was overjoyed by the way the Missoula community turned out to help and was happy to hear how much the help meant to local families.

"One that stands out to me is a mother of two who reached out on Tuesday morning and said she is working and trying to save money and scrape it together, but she just hasn't been able to make ends meet," said Newman. "She was worried about her housing future for herself and her kids. It was really great to be able to tell her that we got you covered."

More than 136 individuals joined in the fundraiser. Newman says he doesn’t know if the same technique will be used next year, adding that “it took a lot of time,” but that he will be supporting more affordable housing in Missoula somehow.

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