HELENA – The Montana Department of Commerce announced Tuesday that Montana Housing and NeighborWorks Montana will partner to increase awareness of the availability of rent and mortgage payment assistance as federal unemployment insurance benefits expire.
“Montanans impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19 are not alone,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice said. “Commerce has a good, longstanding relationship with NeighborWorks Montana and we are excited this partnership will help us deliver housing assistance to more Montanans faster and more efficiently.”
NeigborWorks Montana will assist the program by providing technical support to renters and homeowners who apply for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. The partnership will also create a coordinated and organized statewide system to improve the delivery of the program while increasing awareness of available assistance.
The Emergency Housing Assistance Program provides rent, security deposit and mortgage payment assistance for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income as a result of COVID-19. Applicants are eligible for up to $2,000 per month. The program pays the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs. Income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 annually based on family size. The program was created in May by Governor Steve Bullock using $50 million of Montana’s allocation of federal CARES Act dollars.
As federal benefits expire, the state expects to see an uptick in the number of renters and homeowners in need of monthly assistance.
“We know so many people across the state are struggling with disruptions caused by COVID. Stable housing is a critical need at any time, and particularly now,” NeighborWorks Montana Executive Director Kaia Peterson said. “We look forward to helping people meet their immediate needs with the help of the State’s Housing Assistance funds while also supporting clients as they work toward long-term housing stability and financial well-being.”
Montana has been a national leader in using CARES funding for emergency housing relief. Six states and the city of Chicago have reached out to Montana to model their own programs on the Emergency Assistance Housing Program. To date, $1.06 million has been paid to landlords or mortgage servicers on behalf of renters or homeowners who apply.
For more information and to apply visit COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.