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Montanans out of work, families with limited resources, small businesses, non-profits and others can apply for financial relief for things like rental and mortgage assistance, business and non-profit grants, grants to serve seniors and those living with a disability, food banks and local food producers.

The application portal opens May 7. 

This financial assistance is funded through $1.25 billion in federal emergency relief funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Governor Bullock’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Advisory Council, an advisory group made up of Montanans representing nearly every sector of the state’s economy and more than 1,400 comments submitted by the public, guided the state on how this federal emergency funding can best serve the needs of Montanans – and where the state can fill unmet needs not addressed by other federal funding going forward.

The following new programs join the state’s suite of existing support services and direct federal appropriations to ensure Montana’s families, workers, seniors, businesses and non-profits emerge from this challenge even stronger than before.

*NEW* 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-owned, 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. Total funding available is $50 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000. 1-800-755-6672

*NEW* 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

*NEW* 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. 406-444-9126

*NEW* 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

*NEW* Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Public Health Grants

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. 1-888-333-0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

*NEW* 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

*NEW* Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Direct Cash Assistance to 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. Schools and childcare facilities are not eligible to apply for these funds.  Grant awards will be based on pre-COVID expenses compared to current expenses for providing food to those in need. Current funding available is $2 million. 1-888-333-0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

*NEW* 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. Current funding available is $10 million. 1-888-333-0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

*NEW* 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. 1-888-333-0461 | DPHHS.MT.GOV

Please contact Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation via email at eepley@epedc.com, cds@epedc.com or by phone at 406-853-6471 or 406-939-3864. We will assist all applicants with their applications free of charge!

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