DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

MONTANA EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program supports Montanans who have experienced financial hardships as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of housing instability.

Renters can receive a monthly maximum of $2,200 for past due and future rent payments, up to $300 for past due and future utilities including gas and electric, and $50 per month for internet. Households can receive assistance for rent and utility bills dating back to April 1, 2020.

The current Emergency Rental Assistance Program is funded through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and appropriated to the Department of Commerce by the 67th Montana Legislature HB 3 and HB 630.

Please visit HOUSING.MT.GOV to check your eligibility and apply.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Renter household gross income cannot exceed 80 percent of the  Area Median Income. Visit HOUSING.MT.GOV to check your income eligibility by selecting the county where you live and the number of people living in your household.

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program serves Montanans whose gross household income does not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income and who meet the following conditions:

  • One or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 emergency

And

  • One or more individuals in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include:
    • A past due rent notice or eviction notice
    • A past due utility or utility shut-off notice
    • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions, which may include overcrowding. Montana Housing may request supporting documentation from the household in these situations.

Emergency Rental Assistance may be used for the following:

  1. Rent and past due rent (maximum $2,200 per month);
  2. Rental late fees (maximum $50 per month);
  3. Utilities, past due utilities and home energy costs which are separately stated, this includes electricity and gas (maximum $300 per month);
  4. Internet service ($50 per month).

Payments will be made directly to the landlord and utility providers. Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (W-9 information) will be required.

INFORMATION NEEDED TO APPLY

Renters should have the following documents available for an easy application experience:

  1. Email address for state of Montana citizen Okta account registration.

    • All public users (renters, landlords and proxies) will need an Okta account and will log into this account using either Okta credentials (UserID and password) or a third-party social identify provider (e.g. Facebook, Google, Microsoft).
    • The benefits of an Okta account is that users only need to sign in one time to access multiple state of Montana services (not limited to Emergency Rental Assistance application).
    • Okta accounts provide increased security through an authentication process.
  2. Income Documentation

    2020 IRS tax return(s)

    OR

    Two most recent months of income source documentation which may include (as applicable to the household’s income sources):

    • Paystubs for wages earned for the past two months
    • W-2s or other wage statements
    • Most recent Social Security or pension award letter
    • TANF statement
    • Unemployment insurance benefit statement
    • Evidence of child support income for the past two months
    • Self-employment 2020-Schedule C or profit and loss statement
    • Documentation of other income for the past two months
    • Zero income
  3. Lease Agreement

    If an executed lease agreement is not available, written documentation such as an email or letter from the landlord who can be identified as the verified owner or management agent may be accepted. Landlords can satisfy this requirement by completing the Montana Emergency Rental Assistance online Landlord Confirmation form.

    If the Eligible household is receiving another form of rental assistance, a copy of the household’s most recent rent determination notice or other documentation of the tenant’s portion of rent is required.

    Households receiving other rental assistance should first report any income loss or financial hardship to their rent subsidy provider (i.e., Public Housing Authority or property manager) and complete and interim re-examination before Emergency Rental Assistance is provided.

  4. Demonstration of Need

    • Late rent or eviction notice, or rental ledger from landlord
    • Most recent utility bill, late notice or shut-off notice
    • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions, which may include overcrowding. Montana Housing may request supporting documentation from the household in these situations.
  5. Landlord Information

    • Landlord name
    • Landlord email address preferred, if available
    • Landlord phone number

    Landlords should have the following documents available:

    • Verify tenant name, rental address, monthly rent, past due rent, late fees and any unpaid security deposit, if applicable (these fields are included in the online Landlord Confirmation form)
    • Provide W-9 information for payment processing (Taxpayer Identification Number, Tax Classification)
    • Provide Payee Name as associated with Taxpayer Identification Number, Tax Classification
    • Select preferred payment method (check or electronic fund transfer)
    • Provide mailing address for check, or bank account and bank routing number for EFT

DURATION OF ASSISTANCE

  • Assistance will be available for a maximum of 15 months.
  • Rental and utility arrears must be provided before any future payments are provided.
  • A single application limits assistance to three months of future payments.
  • Subsequent assistance requests require an applicant to recertify income eligibility every three months, per federal requirements.
  • Assistance may not be paid for rental or utility arrears prior to April 1, 2020.

APPLICATION HELP

If you want or need help filling out the application, you can get help two ways:

  1. Schedule an appointment online with one of our application processors. Our online appointment scheduler is available at HOUSING.MT.GOV. These appointments will occur over the phone.
  2. Get help in person at one of the locations listed below or request a paper application be mailed to you. Please call the organization closest to you to find out more about their hours of availability.
Community Organization Address Phone
Billings District 7, HRDC 3124 1 st Ave. North, Billings 406-206-2717
Bozeman HRDC of District 9, Inc. 32 S Tracy Ave, Bozeman 406-587-4486
Butte Action, Inc. 25 W Silver St. Butte 406-533-6855
Great Falls Opportunities, Inc. 905 1st Ave N, Great Falls 406-761-0310
Great Falls St Vincent De Paul 426 Central Ave. W, Great Falls 406-761-0870
Livingston District 9, HRDC 111 South 2 nd St, Livingston 406-333-2537
Lewistown District 6, HRDC 300 1 st Ave. N., Suite 203, Lewistown 406-535-7488
Missoula District 11, HRC 1801 S Higgins Ave, Missoula 406-728-3710
Missoula Missoula Food Bank & Community Center 1720 Wyoming St. Missoula 406-549-0543

CAN I BE EVICTED?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed a nationwide temporary federal moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent on September 4, 2020. This temporary moratorium expired on July 31, 2021.

A new order was issued to last from August 3 through October 3, 2021. The new order was substantially the same as the previous orders and prevented any eviction for nonpayment of rent currently pending but not yet completed. It did not protect tenants whose eviction was completed by Aug. 3, 2021. As under the previous CDC moratorium, evictions for reasons other than nonpayment could still go forward and the order did not ban a landlord's late fees. To be protected under this moratorium, the renter must have completed and provided this declaration form to their landlord.

For more information, visit the Montana Legal Services Association.

Montana Housing advises renters to work with their landlords and make all good faith efforts to pay owed rental arrears and future rent due. Renters experiencing financial hardships due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic are urged to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance program.

In accordance with federal requirements, Montana Housing prohibits landlords that receive Emergency Rental Assistance funds for future rent or rental arrears from evicting the tenant for nonpayment of rent for the period covered by the assistance.

MONTANA HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE FUND

The American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress and signed by the president contains $9.961 billion nationwide for a Homeowner Assistance Fund. That funding will help Montanan homeowners, and homeowners across the country, remain in their homes.

The Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund will include $50 million in federal funding allocated by Congress to the state of Montana through the American Rescue Plan Act, and appropriated to the Department of Commerce through the passage of HB 632.

The purpose of the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund, in accordance with federal legislation and U.S. Treasury guidance, is to mitigate financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to prevent homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020.

U.S. Treasury requires states to complete and submit a Homeowner Assistance Plan for their review before the program can be launched. This plan must include a data-driven assessment of homeowner needs and evidence of public participation and community engagement to inform program design. We recommend homeowners follow our Facebook page and visit HOUSING.MT.GOV for current information about housing assistance and to subscribe to receive email updates from the Department of Commerce about future public hearings and community engagement opportunities.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

The Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund will serve Montanans whose gross household income does not exceed 150% of the Area Median Income, and 60% of funds available must target Montanans whose gross household income does not exceed 100% of the Area Median Income.

Use the tool below to type in the county where you live and the number of people living in your household to check eligible income limits. Households can search eligibility by 100% of Area Median Income or 150% of Area Median Income. Availability of funds for households whose income exceeds 100% of Area Median Income but is less than 150% of Area Median will be subject to the federal 60% of funds target requirement.

Funds will be available to a homeowner with respect to qualified expenses and hardship related to the homeowner’s primary residence. Eligible homeowners must have experienced a Financial Hardship after January 21, 2020. A Financial Hardship means a material reduction in income or material increase in living expenses associated with the coronavirus pandemic that has created or increased a risk of mortgage delinquency, mortgage default, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services, or displacement for a homeowner.

The Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund may be used for the following:

  1. Mortgage payment assistance
  2. Financial assistance to allow a homeowner to reinstate a mortgage or to pay other housing-related costs related to a period of forbearance, delinquency, or default
  3. Homeowner's utilities, including electric, gas and home energy
  4. Homeowner's internet service

Federal legislation and U.S. Treasury guidance include a more detailed list of qualified expenses. Decisions on qualified expenses for the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund will be informed by the data-driven homeowner needs assessment, public feedback and recommendations from the Economic Transformation and Stabilization and Workforce Development Advisory Commission established under Section 11 of HB 632.

Montana Housing's Homeowner Assistance Fund Plan Now Open for Public Comment

Montana Housing has published and released a draft of the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Plan for a 30-day public comment period starting August 12, 2021 through September 12, 2021.

Members of the public, including but not limited to homeowners, mortgage servicers, housing counseling and foreclosure prevention experts may comment on any aspect of this HAF Plan draft. The state is soliciting specific public comment in the following areas:

  • Proposed loan terms
  • Use of funds for counseling or educational efforts by housing counseling agencies approved by HUD, or legal services related to foreclosure prevention
  • Use of funds for payment assistance for delinquent property taxes to prevent homeowner tax foreclosures
  • Methods to target use of funds to homeowners with incomes equal to or less than 100% of median income, and prioritization of assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Individuals

In-person public comment opportunities on the proposed plan will be provided during the September 8 Commission meeting, and time allotted during the September 14 Montana Board of Housing meeting, in accordance with state open meeting law requirements.

View Homeowner Assistance Fund Plan Draft

Submit Public Comment Here

Click on "Public Comment" and it will take you to a page where you will choose "Citizen Login" and then you can either sign up for an Okta account or sign in with your Facebook, Google or Microsoft credentials to complete the submission.

Montana Housing leadership and staff appreciates your feedback, and we thank you for your time.

HOMEOWNER FEEDBACK SURVEY

Please complete our short 7-question survey (1 - 2 minutes):

START SURVEY

Economic Transformation and Stabilization, and Workforce Development Advisory Commission

The Economic Transformation and Stabilization, and Workforce Development Advisory Commission will review proposals for economic transformation and stabilization, and workforce development programs from the departments of commerce, agriculture, and labor and industry. As currently outlined by HB 632, appropriations include $50 million for mortgage assistance, $152 million in emergency rental assistance, and nearly $11.5 million for the HOME program. Commission members include:

  • Sen. Mark Blasdel - Chair (R-Kalispell)
  • Sen. Ryan Osmundson (R-Buffalo)
  • Sen. Ryan Lynch (D-Butte)
  • Rep. Wylie Galt (R-Martinsdale)
  • Rep. Llew Jones (R-Conrad)
  • Rep. Kim Abbott (D-Helena)
  • Laurie Esau, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Chris Heggem – Vice Chair, Chief of Staff to Governor Gianforte
  • Kurt Alme, Director of the Office of Budget and Program Planning

The Commission’s first meeting was held May 4, 2021.