The Montana Department of Commerce announced Friday that families who have suffered substantial financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 may now apply for rental and security deposit assistance.
To be eligible for the state’s Emergency Housing Assistance program, applicants must have at least one child under the age of 18 and a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19. A family of four must have a monthly income of $4,367 or less and less than $3,000 in readily available assets such as cash or savings.
The Department of Commerce said applications are expected to be reviewed within 5-10 days. Once approved, a monthly rental payment or security deposit will be mailed or directly deposited from Montana Housing at the Department of Commerce to the applicant’s landlord.
Around $430,000 from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal assistance program, will be used to launch the relief program. Additional state or federal funds may be added to the program.
Earlier this month, Gov. Steve Bullock used his emergency authority to prohibit landlords from evicting tenants, saying the state can’t tell Montanans to stay home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 if they don’t have a home to stay in. The Montana Landlord Association is threatening to sue to overturn the directive.