DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

MONTANA EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program is now available for Montanans who have lost household income 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 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 Emergency Rental Assistance program serves Montanans whose gross household income does not exceed 80 percent 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
  • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions

Emergency Rental Assistance may be used for the following:

  1. Rent and past due rent;
  2. Utilities, past due utilities and home energy costs which are separately stated, this includes electricity and gas;
  3. Internet service.

Payments will be made directly to the landlord and utility providers. W9s will be required.

INFORMATION NEEDED TO APPLY

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

  1. 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
  • 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
  1. Lease Agreement

  2. Demonstration of Need

  • Late rent or eviction notice
  • Most recent utility bill, late notice or shut-off notice

Landlords should have the following documents available:

  • Gather the W9 for the appropriate rental property where you have notified a renter of a late payment or sent an eviction notice
  • You will need your renter’s signature on the application once you are ready to submit

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
Helena Good Samaritan 3067 N Montana Ave, Helena 406-442-0780
Kalispell Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana 214 Main St. Kalispell 406-752-6565
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

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 percent 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.

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

HOMEOWNER FEEDBACK 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.