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Montana To Offer $123 Million In Covid-19 Emergency Grants

The Montana Capitol Building in Helena.
tracyelizabeths
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Flickr
The Montana capitol building in Helena.

Montana is offering $123 million through new emergency grant programs to small businesses, non-profits and individuals impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic starting May 7.

Governor Steve Bullock announced the first round of grants funded by the federal CARES Act relief package in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The grant dollars are available for struggling businesses, social service nonprofits, farms and ranches, emergency housing and food bank assistance, telework and seniors struggling to stay connected while socially distancing

"These nine programs announced today will join the state’s suite of existing support services and direct federal appropriations to ensure that we can begin both the short- and long-term path toward economic recovery," Bullock said.

Bullock says the grants are based on the immediate needs identified by the state Coronavirus Relief Fund Advisory Group as part of recommendations released last Friday.

Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice says the grants will prioritize organizations that haven’t yet received federal relief loans.

"There's some measures we're taking to try to make sure that we can get funds out as quickly as possible to businesses who are most in need," Rice said.

Bullock says additional rounds of funding may become available.

The Department of Commerce expects to begin disbursing funds within 10 to 15 business days.

Businesses and non-profits should prepare tax ID, proof of business registration, a brief description of the proposed project and covid-19 impacts.

The application system for the grants described below goes live online at covidrelief.mt.gov on May 7 at 8 A.M.

• The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for Montana-owned small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that have sustained a loss of revenue due to COVID 19. Current funding available is $50 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000.

• The Montana Innovation Grant program is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19. Non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees with primary operations in Montana that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency can apply for grants of up to $25,000. Current funding available is $5 million.

• Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Examples of eligible projects include those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. Current funding available is $500,000, with a maximum grant award of $10,000.

• Emergency Housing Assistance Program will provide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million.

• Public Health Grants are available to local and tribal health departments and urban tribal clinics to help in the response to COVID-19 and to meet the needs of their communities. Each organization is eligible to apply for funding. Current funding available is $5 million.

• Stay Connected Grants ranging from $500-$2,000 per applicant are available to reduce social isolation among Montana’s seniors. Eligible applicants include area agencies on aging, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and tribal elder services. Grant funds can be used to fund technologies and other efforts to encourage physically distant forms of social interaction for elderly Montanans during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Current funding available is $400,000.

• Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance of up to $50,000 per applicant are available to increase food security for Montanans hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants include community organizations providing food assistance to Montanans with limited resources, food banks, food pantries, community cupboards, and entities with infrastructures already in place to begin new food distribution programs. Current funding available is $2 million.

• Social Services Nonprofit Grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. Current funding available is $10 million.

• Telework Assistance Grants of up to $1,000 per individual will go towards purchasing equipment to assist Montanans with disabilities access telework equipment. DPHHS will partner with a local non-profit organization to assess and support assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities during COVID-19. This assistance will help ensure people with disabilities have the equipment needed to adapt to the change in working environment due to COVID-19. Current funding available is $650,000.