Community Impact

Emergency Rent & Utility Applications

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program is taking applications from Montanans who have lost income and are at risk of housing instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clearwater is here to help community members get the help they need and has trained staff who can answer your questions and help you prepare your application.

How to Get Help

  • Contact Us

    Call our main line at (406) 523-3300 to learn more about the program, or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you.

  • Provide Us Information

    A Clearwater team member will ask you some questions to learn about your needs and help determine if you’re eligible for State assistance.

  • We'll Help You Apply

    Once we have your information and can verify eligibility, we’ll work with you fill out the paperwork and help you through the application process.

Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Eligibility Requirements

Renters can receive a monthly maximum of $2,200 for past due and future rent payments, up to $300 for past due and future utilities including gas and electric, and $50 per month for internet. Households can access assistance dating back to April 1, 2020.

Household gross income cannot exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income. Area Median Income varies by location and household size, please contact us for more information.

Uses for Rental Assistance

Emergency Rental Assistance may be used for the following:

  • Rent and past due rent;
  • Utilities, past due utilities, and home energy costs which are separately stated (this includes electricity and gas);
  • Internet service.

Get Help Applying

Renters will not be required to provide a co-pay, and landlords are able to apply on behalf of their renters. Payments will be made directly to landlords and utility providers. W9s will be required.

To learn more, check your eligibility, and apply for Emergency Rental Assistance you can read the FAQs below or visit or contact Clearwater at (406) 523-3300 or using the contact form below.

Rental Assistance Application Help

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Montana Emergency Rental Assistance FAQ's

Household gross income cannot exceed 80 percent of the  Area Median Income. The Emergency Rental Assistance program serves Montanans whose gross household income does not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income and who meet the following conditions:

  • One or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 emergency

And

  • One or more individuals in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include:
  • A past due rent notice or eviction notice
  • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions

Emergency Rental Assistance may be used for the following:

  1. Rent and past due rent;
  2. Utilities, past due utilities and home energy costs which are separately stated, this includes electricity and gas;
  3. Internet service.

Payments will be made directly to the landlord and utility providers. W9s will be required.

Renters  should have the following documents available for an easy application experience:

1. Income documentation

2020 IRS tax return(s)

OR

Two most recent months of income source documentation which may include (as applicable to the household’s income sources):

  • Paystubs for wages earned for the past two months
  • Most recent Social Security or pension award letter
  • TANF statement
  • Unemployment insurance benefit statement
  • Evidence of child support income for the past two months
  • Self-employment 2020- Schedule C or profit and loss statement
  • Documentation of other income for the past two months

2.  Lease Agreement

3. Demonstration of Need

  • Late rent or eviction notice
  • Most recent utility bill, late notice or shut-off notice

Landlords  should have the following documents available:

  • Gather the W9 for the appropriate rental property where you have notified a renter of a late payment or sent an eviction notice
  • You will need your renter’s signature on the application once you are ready to submit
  • Assistance will be available for a maximum of 15 months
  • Rental and utility arrears must be provided before any future payments are provided.
  • A single application limits assistance to three months of future payments.
  • Subsequent assistance requests require an applicant to recertify income eligibility every three months, per federal requirements.
  • Assistance may not be paid for rental or utility arrears prior to April 1, 2020.

No. The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program does not offer Mortgage assistance for homeowners as part of this legislation.

A household may receive assistance for past due rent, future rent, past due utility bills, and future utility bills. The maximum per month rent assistance is $2,200 plus a maximum of $50 per month late fees. The maximum per month utility assistance is $300.

Eligible households can receive assistance for rent and utilities, including past due dating back to April 2020 and future owed, for up to 12 months. If additional assistance is needed to ensure a household remains stably housed, the program may provide an additional 3 months assistance (for a maximum of 15 months), if funding is available. A single application will assist with prior rent and utilities and not more than 3 months of future payments. Additional assistance will require a new application to be completed and income to be re-verified

Electricity, home heating, and Internet costs are eligible.

Yes. The program is also able to provide $50 per month for internet service. Internet service assistance will be paid directly to the household, if eligible.

Funds will be available until at least September 30, 2022.

Montana Housing will issue rent and utility assistance payments directly to the landlord, property owner or utility provider.

This assistance is available from $200 million in federal funding allocated by Congress to the state of Montana through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and appropriated to the Department of Commerce through the passage of HB 3 and HB 630.

Yes. However, LIEAP recipients cannot receive assistance from both programs for the same utility bill. Applicants will be asked to provide an unpaid utility bill or shutoff notice.

Yes, but will be determined case-by-case.

Montana Housing has been advised that grants paid as rental assistance to landlords is considered gross income by the Internal Revenue Service and will be reported on Form 1099-MISC. Montana Housing is unable to provide tax advice. If needed, we encourage grant recipients to work with a Certified Public Accountant.

No, rent or utility payments that were due prior to April 1, 2020 are not eligible. Unpaid security deposits corresponding with initial lease agreements effective April 1, 2020 or after are eligible.

No. Montanans who need assistance with hotel/motel costs should contact the Human Resource Development Council near them regarding their eligibility for Emergency Solutions Grant funds.

Yes. Households receiving other forms of rental subsidy are eligible to receive Emergency Rental Assistance, but only for the portion of rent that is considered the household’s responsibility. These households will be required to provide a copy of the rent determination letter from the property or agency who is providing the rental subsidy.

Yes. Applicants with a monthly lot rent or lot lease payment can include that cost in the monthly rent figure in the program application.

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Visit the SBA’s website to learn more about COVID-19 Relief programs for small businesses and non-profits.

Payroll Protection Program

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COVID-19 Resources

Learn more about what steps we’re taking to serve you and what community resources are available to help during this difficult time.

Visit the COVID-19 Resources Page