Young family moving into their new home, a Housing Choice Voucher will assist them with their rent each month.

Public Housing Authorities

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to apartments for elderly families. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units nationwide, managed by some 3,300 HAs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies (HAs) that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. An HA determines your eligibility based on:

1) annual gross income;

2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and

3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.

If you are eligible, the HA will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. HAs will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project's environment.

HAs use income limits developed by HUD. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one HA but not at another. The HA serving your community can provide you with the income levels for your area and family size, or you can also find the income limits here on the internet.

HOW DO I APPLY?

If you are interested in applying for public housing, contact your local PHA. If you have trouble contacting the HA, contact the local HUD Field Office.

HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?

The application must be written. Either you or the HA representative will fill it out. An HA usually needs to collect the following information to determine eligibility:

(1) Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth, and relationship to the family head;

(2) Your present address and telephone number;

(3) Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g., living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences;

(4) Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family's suitability as a tenant;

(5) An estimate of your family's anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income;

(6) The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information the HA would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition; and

(7) The PHA also may visit you in your home to interview you and your family members to see how you manage the upkeep of you current home.

After obtaining this information, the HA representative should describe the public housing program and its requirements, and answer any questions you might have.

WILL I NEED TO PRODUCE ANY DOCUMENTATION?

Yes, the HA representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns) to verify the information given on your application. The PHA will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the PHA.

WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED?

An HA has to provide written notification. If the HA determines that you are eligible, your name will be put on a waiting list, unless the HA is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the HA will contact you. If it is determined that you are ineligible, the HA must say why and, if you wish, you can request an informal hearing.

WILL I HAVE TO SIGN A LEASE?

If you are offered a house or apartment and accept it, you will have to sign a lease with the HA. You may have to give the HA a security deposit. You and the HA representative should go over the lease together. This will give you a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and the HA's responsibilities as a landlord.

ARE THERE ANY SELECTION PREFERENCES?

Sometimes there are. Giving preference to specific groups of families enables an HA to direct their limited housing resources to the families with the greatest housing needs. Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local HAs, long waiting periods are common. In fact, an HA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

Each HA has the discretion to establish preferences to reflect needs in its own community. These preferences will be included in the HAs written policy manual. You should ask what preferences they honor so you will know whether you qualify for a preference.

HOW IS RENT DETERMINED?

Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, would be based on your family's anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow HAs to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family, or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, the HA representative will determine if any of the allowable deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older.

The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:

(1) 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);

(2) 10 percent of monthly income;

(3) welfare rent, if applicable; or

(4) a $25 minimum rent or higher amount (up to $50) set by an HA.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE HA?

An HA is responsible for the management and operation of its local public housing program. They may also operate other types of housing programs.

(1) On-going functions: (a) Assure compliance with leases. The lease must be signed by both parties; (b) Set other charges (e.g., security deposit, excess utility consumption, and damages to unit); (c) Perform periodic reexaminations of the family's income at least once every 12 months; (d) Transfer families from one unit to another, in order to correct over/under crowding, repair or renovate a dwelling, or because of a resident's request to be transferred; (e) Terminate leases when necessary; and (f) maintain the development in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition.

(2) Sometimes HAs provide other services, that might include such things as: homeownership opportunities for qualified families; employment training opportunities, and other special training and employment programs for residents; and support programs for the elderly.

HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN PUBLIC HOUSING?

In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease.

If, at reexamination your family's income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the HA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing.

List of Montana Public Housing Authorities

Anaconda Housing Authority 10 Main Street
PO Box 1359
Anaconda MT 59711
Phone: (406) 563-2921
Fax:  (406) 563-5309
 
Billings Housing Authority
 
2415 1st Ave N
Billings MT 59101
Phone: (406) 245-6391
Fax: (406) 245-0387
Blackfeet Housing Authority

 
625 Southwest Boundary Street
PO Box 1350
Browning MT 59417
Phone: (406) 338-5031

 
Butte Housing Authority 220 Curtis Street
Butte MT 59701
Phone: (406) 6461
Fax: (406) 782-6473
Chippewa-Cree Housing Authority

 
75 Laredo Road
RR1 Box 567
Box Elder MT  59521
Phone: (406) 395-4370
Fax: (406) 395-4249
 
Dawson County Housing Authority
 
1032 6th Street SW
Glendive MT  59270
Phone: (406) 433-1978
Fax: (406) 433-8115
Fort Belknap Housing Authority

 
Route L
PO Box 61
Harlem MT  59526
Phone: (406) 353-2601

 
Fort Peck Housing Authority

 
503 6th Avenue
PO Box 667
Poplar MT  59255
Phone: (406) 768-3459
Fax: (406) 768-5489
 
Glasgow Housing Authority

 
435 Division Street
PO Box 1126
Glasgow MT  59230
Phone: (406) 228-4942
Fax: (406) 228-8062
 
Great Falls Housing Authority
 
1500 Chowen Springs Loop
Great Falls MT  59405
Phone: (406) 453-4311
Fax: (406) 727-5566
Helena Housing Authority
 
812 Abbey Street
Helena MT  59601
Phone: (406) 442-7981
Fax: (406) 442-0574
Miles City Housing Authority
 
310 N. Jordan
Miles City MT  59301
Phone: (406) 234-3433
 
Missoula Housing Authority
 
1235 34th Street
Missoula MT  59801
Phone: (406) 728-3710
Fax: (406) 728-7680
Montana Department of Commerce

 
301 S Park, STE 240
PO Box 200545
Helena MT  59602
Phone: (406) 841-2830
Fax: (406) 841-2810
 
Northern Cheyenne Housing Authority

 
Hwy 39N
PO Box 327
Lame Deer MT  59043
Phone: (406) 477-6419

 
Poplar (City of) Housing Authority

 
315 G Street W
PO Box 667
Poplar MT  59255
Phone: (406) 768-3240

 
Richland Housing Authority
 
1032 6th Street SW
Sidney MT  59270
Phone: (406) 443-1978
Fax: (406) 433-8115
Ronan Housing Authority

 
21 2nd Ave SW
PO Box 128
Ronan MT  59864
Phone: (406) 676-5900
Fax: (406) 676-5902
 
Salish & Kootenai Housing Authority

 
56243 Highway 93 N
PO Box 38
Pablo MT  59855
Phone: (406) 675-4491
Fax: (406) 675-4495
 
Whitefish Housing Authority
 
100 Fourth Street E
Whitefish MT  59937
Phone: (406) 862-4143
Fax: (406) 862-4107
     
Public Housing Authorities (pdf version)    

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HOUSING DIVISION | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S. PARK AVE, STE 240 | PO BOX 200528 | HELENA, MT 59620-0528 | P: (406) 841-2840 | F: (406) 841-2841 | TDD: (406) 841-2702 | TOLL FREE: (800) 761-6264