Published May 28, 2020

Grants Available to Support Homeowners, Renters, Small Businesses, Public Services

The state has created a single application portal for emergency grants funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided Montana with $1.25 billion for COVID-19 related expenses. The programs available thus far are listed below.

State Support for Destination Communities

The state will be providing support to destination communities in the following ways:

  • Implementing community snapshot testing for frontline workers at no cost with need determined by local jurisdictions.
  • Providing resources to local providers for community testing to develop an early warning system for identifying new cases.
  • Assistance with contact tracing in the event of a positive test. Montana National Guard members currently on Title 32 orders have been directed to take online contact tracing course and obtain a certificate, adding an additional 150 contact tracers if needed.
  • Offering financial assistance for safety measures to small businesses to better protect their customers and workers.
  • Public education outreach campaign, including resources for communities, tourism promotion organizations, employers and employees.

Utilizing Montana Department of Commerce data, destination communities were determined through analysis of typical visitor travel in the state over the period from June-September looking at the top destination counties, as well as those counties that experience high visitation per resident. Those counties are: Cascade, Ravalli, Lewis and Clark, Flathead, Yellowstone, Missoula, Silver Bow, Sanders, Lake, Custer, Gallatin, Dawson, Carbon, Big Horn, Glacier, Madison, Beaverhead, Park, Mineral, and Richland. Other counties will be eligible based on identified needs.

Beginning Monday, June 1, additional financial assistance through two new programs (listed below) will be available to protect workers in Montana’s travel destination communities and at other small businesses throughout the state, as well as to educate travelers about the public health and safety measures they are expected to follow to protect against the spread of COVID-19 in Montana.

The following programs join the state’s suite of existing support services and direct federal appropriations:

NEW: Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Montana Business Adaptation Program
Program available starting Monday, June 1. The Montana Business Adaptation Program will provide reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses related to keeping staff and customers safe – from the purchase of personal protective equipment to resources needed for staff to work remotely. Eligible small business must be Montana-based, employ 50 or less, have incurred eligible adaptation expenses since Feb. 15 due to COVID-19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Nonprofit entities are eligible. Eligible expenses include costs related to communication, remote work equipment, cleaning supplies, tools to enhance social distancing and sanitation, travel and hotel costs related to quarantining workers. Total funding available is $20 million, the maximum reimbursement amount per business is $5,000.
1.800.755.6672

NEW: The Tourism Education Program will make available $15 million in CARES Act funding to carry out a statewide informational campaign to educate visitors prior to and after arriving in Montana. The Department of Commerce, in coordination with the Department of Public Health and Human Services, is leading this effort. Commerce will be working with local tourism partners across the state to deliver this public health and safety message to visitors. More to come.

Montana Department of Commerce, Montana Business Stabilization Program
The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for small businesses to support payroll, rent, accounts payable, debt service and expenses related to shifts in operations in order to retain existing businesses, retain current employees or retain business viability for future re-employment. Eligible small business must be Montana-based, employ 50 or less, have sustained a loss of revenue since Feb. 15 due to COVID 19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Nonprofit entities are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000.
1.800.755.6672

Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Montana Innovation Grant Program
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. Projects should demonstrate significant impact in improving public health, safety, and economic impact. Eligible companies include non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency. Applicants must have primary operations based in Montana, be in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State and must not be debarred from receiving federal or state funds. Total funding available is $5 million with a maximum award amount of $25,000.
1.800.755.6672

Montana Department of Agriculture, 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. Grants are intended to create additional economic activity and bolster food security. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. The need for such innovations must be driven by the COVID 19 pandemic. Total funding available is $500,000, with a maximum application amount of $10,000.
mtaap@mt.gov

Montana Department of Commerce, Emergency Housing Assistance Program
The 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 continual 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.
406.841.2840 | HOUSING.MT.GOV

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Public Health Grants
Public Health Grants are available to local and tribal health departments and urban Indian health centers 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.
1.888.333.0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Stay Connected Grants
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
1.888.333.0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance
Grants 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.
1.888.333.0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Social Services Nonprofit Grants
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. This includes senior services, housing services, transportation, public safety, energy assistance, economic development, job training, recreational services and tourism-related activities. Current funding available is $10 million.
1.888.333.0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Telework Assistance Grants
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. If you are interested in applying, please email vrinfo@mt.gov with your name and contact information, with Telework Assistance Grants as the subject of the email.
1.888.333.0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

More Information

A comprehensive information resource and application portal is available at covidrelief.mt.gov. The application portion of the website will go live at 8:00 a.m. on May 7th. To prepare for the application, businesses and non-profits should have their tax ID, proof of business registration, a brief description of how the grant will be spent, and a brief description of how COVID-19 has impacted operations. Homeowners and renters should have bank account information available and verification of job or income loss.