Montana Community

Disaster Emergency Housing Assistance

In the case of a disaster, this page of information will be useful for those in need of housing, either permanent or temporary. We offer information for both publicly and privately financed housing opportunities.

To find available vacant rental units listed by owners and landlords across Montana, go to or click on the button below. You will also find links to additional resources in your area. button links you to free listing and searching for rental housing in Montana.


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

In the event of a Presidentially Declared Disaster (PDD), federal agencies such as HUD and Treasury may waive certain program requirements in disaster impacted areas. Different rules apply to different programs and in some cases states must make formal application to the appropriate federal agency. The resources below are designed to help HFAs navigate the procedures for obtaining disaster relief amongst the various federal housing programs.

To qualify for disaster relief, the federal government must first issue a disaster declaration for an area or areas within your state. The following link to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website will help you determine if your state has received a federal disaster declaration:

Rural Development Emergency Housing Assistance

In areas affected by natural disasters, USDA can help existing Rural Development borrowers who are victims of a disaster. The links below provide information on disaster assistance options:

RD Handbook 2-3560:

USDA maintains a Multi-Family Housing Rentals search web site for individuals and families looking for rental housing:

Multi-Family Program Apartments

Rural Development currently has 140 apartment projects financed throughout rural Montana. Several of these projects have vacancies which can be accessed by person(s) who have been displaced by disasters. Owners, at their discretion, may grant waivers to their standard tenant screening requirements; however, they must comply with all Fair Housing and Civil Rights laws for occupancy selection. Waivers and special considerations are contingent upon a Presidentially declared disaster, or with the approval of the State Director, a Gubernatorial declared disaster.

Waivers and Considerations that can be Granted:

  • Maximum income limits can be temporarily waived.
  • 12 month lease term requirements can be waived.
  • Unit size to family size can be waived.
  • Pet policies can be temporarily waived.
  • Elderly projects can waive age eligibility.
  • Zero income applicants may be allowed to reside in units; rental assistance can be applied for, if available.
  • Allow for imputed income from assets due to homeownership affected by the disaster.
  • Letter of Priority Entitlement (LOPE) can be issued and used in any Rural Development project.
  • Security Deposits can be waived.

Occupancy Process:

  • Locate a project you would be interested in occupying from the Rural Development housing website.
  • Contact the project directly to determine if there is an available vacancy.
  • Ask if the project is participating in disaster housing and what is the process for occupancy. The owner/manager should be able to assist the evacuee with occupancy.
  • For some waivers a FEMA number will be required.
  • Rural Development staff is available to assist evacuees if needed. Click here for office contact information.

Single Family Program Assistance

  • The 502 Direct Loan Program can be used for new construction, if an existing home is declared a total loss. This program is for very low and low income applicants and includes reduced interest rates and payment assistance, subject to eligibility.
  • The Guaranteed Loan Program can be used for new construction and is available for low and moderate income families through an approved lender. Rural Development staff can direct individuals to approved lenders.
  • The 504 Loan Program can be accessed for very low income homeowners to repair or rehabilitate their home. The maximum loan amount is $20,000, the maximum term is 20 years and teh interest rate is 1%.
  • The 504 Grant Program can be accessed for very low income homeowners that are 62 years or older. The maximum grant is $7,500.
  • Rural Development staff is available to assist evacuees if needed. Click here for office contact information.


Project-Based Section 8 Housing

Project-Based Section 8 Properties are federally assisted properties that provide rental housing to low-income households in privately-owned and managed rental units. The rental cost for most units will be 30% of your household adjusted gross income. There may be a variety of housing types available through this program, including; single-family homes, townhomes, or apartments.

How does it work?

You must apply to each individual property that participates in the program. Some units may be reserved for households that are elderly or disabled. Often times you apply for a waiting list that may be several months long. Once you are selected from the waiting list, you may be offered a unit; however, there may be a limited number of available units to choose from.

Do I qualify?

To qualify you must fall within the Department of Housing and Urban Development's required income limits for the program. An example of rent at 30% income: households with one full-time worker at $7.25/hour would pay approximately $348 per month.

In a disaster declaration, the federal agency HUD, has the ability to waive some of the rental requirements with the exception of allowing anyone to jump ahead of families currently on the properties wait list. If the property is where you would like to live, it would be to your benefit to apply to the property wait list.

Find the Project-Based Section 8 properties in Montana, listed by county.

Housing Credits Properties in Montana

The Housing Credits Program is also available for people who have been displaced by a Presidential-declared disaster.

Participation in these emergency situations are at the discretion of the project owner and manager.

Click here for a list of properties in Montana, sorted by county.

Only those persons who have received approval for FEMA/DES individual assistance for housing  may be referred to the Housing Credits properties as a disaster-displaced applicant.

Rev Ruling 2007-54:

Paragraph (1) indicates that an applicant for a vacant unit may self certify income eligibility and remain in a unit up to 4 months. This is extremely beneficial for those who have lost all documents in a disaster.

U.S. Treasury/Internal Revenue Service


Housing Credits Program:

In the event of a PDD and upon the request of a State Housing Credit allocating agency, the IRS may issue a notice suspending certain Housing Credit program requirements for owners that provide temporary housing to individuals residing in certain major disaster areas who have been displaced because their residences have been destroyed or damaged as a result of the disaster.

IRS Notices

Revenue Ruling 96-35

Revenue Procedure 2007-54: Temporary Relief from Certain Requirements of Section 42 for Housing Credit Properties in Major Disaster Areas.


The Board of Housing approved a program to help homeowners or renters affected by flood damage. The affected homes must be located in areas that were federally declared flood disaster areas. $3 million of 5.5% funds have been set aside working with FHA's special disaster insurance programs under the 203(h) and 203(k) programs.

Printable flyer with information about the Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Section 203 Program

The underwriting criteria for 203(h) loans allows for 100% financing, larger back-end ratios (45) and exclusion of existing mortgage payments on the affected home for financing purchase of a new home. The 203(k) loans are designed to allow the borrower to finance repairs to the home as part of a refinanced loan.

The Flood Relief Housing Program is available until 12/31/12 and can be used anywhere in Montana for a home replacing one that was flood damaged in the federally declared areas. Any lenders participating with the regular Board programs are eligible to originate using the Flood Relief Program.

Click here to find an approved lender in your community.

Assistance to Individuals and States

If the federal government makes assistance available directly to individuals after a disaster, the following website provides information on obtaining help before, during and after a disaster.

In addition, tax relief may be available to individuals and businesses in the event of a disaster:

Tax Relief in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas:

Tax Relief in Disaster Situations:

To assist State, Tribal, and local governments, FEMA administers a Public Assistance (PA) Grant program to help communities to quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or PDDs. Through the PA program, FEMA provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. The PA Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.

The following link provides further information about the PA program:

Housing and Urban Development

HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF - Waivers Granted for Multifamily Housing Programs:  Vacancy Claims Notice

Request to Exercise Option to Receive Vacancy Claims

HUD provides a variety of disaster resources with rules that vary depending on the program. The following link provides guidance for dealing with disaster-impacted properties funded through FHA, Ginnie Mae, Public and Indian Housing, HOME, CDBG, and for maintaining compliance with the Fair Housing Act:

Chapter 38 of the HUD Handbook 4350.1, Multifamily Asset Management and Project Servicing, covers the many different aspects of servicing multifamily properties that were damaged or vacated as a result of a PDD:


National Housing Locator System (NHLS):

HUD's NHLS is a response to lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and related disasters. The NHLS is a searchable, web-based clearinghouse of available rental housing nation-wide. It allows HUD and its business partners, in particular State Housing Authorities, Public Housing Authorities, and critical First Responders, to deliver housing assistance by rapidly locating rental housing and available government-owned single family homes for sale during an emergency.


Disaster Declaration in Montana, June 17, 2011

STATE: Montana, Number: FEMA-1996-DR, Incident: Severe Storms and Flooding


For further information about the Disaster and Emergency Services in Montana

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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