Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
The CDBG program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The primary objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons (LMI). Each activity funded must benefit at least 51% low- and moderate-income persons.
Statewide CDBG Program
Montana's statewide CDBG program is a competitive grant program designed to help Montana communities of less than 50,000 in population with their greatest community development needs. The state makes CDBG grants for community development activities to units of general-purpose local government (counties and municipalities, except the entitlement cities of Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula).
Montana administers two components of the state CDBG program through the Community Development and Business Resources Divisions of the MDOC. Program funding for public facility and housing projects is administered by the Community Development Division. Funding targeted for economic development projects is administered by the Business Resources Division.
Some of the activities that can be carried out with CDBG funds include acquiring real property; rehabilitating residential and nonresidential properties (including special facilities for persons with disabilities); constructing new, affordable housing (when sponsored by a nonprofit organization); providing public facilities and improvements such as water, sewer or solid waste facilities, senior citizen centers, rural hospitals and nursing homes; and assisting for-profit businesses to promote economic development activities that will result in the creation or retention of jobs for low- and moderate-income persons.
Under the housing and neighborhood renewal category, CDBG funds can be used to provide homebuyer assistance, including down payment assistance for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. CDBG funds may also be used to make low interest loans or grants to low- and moderate-income families to allow them to rehabilitate homes in substandard condition. CDBG funds can also be used to finance or subsidize the construction of new, permanent residential units for LMI households where the CDBG funds will be used by a local nonprofit organization. Housing projects can include site improvements to publicly owned land or land owned by a nonprofit organization to be used for new housing. Community revitalization activities, such as neighborhood clean-up and fix-up projects and the demolition of vacant, seriously dilapidated structures are eligible housing activities. The acquisition of sites for new housing and conversion of existing nonresidential structures for residential use are also eligible CDBG housing activities. Transitional (temporary) housing, emergency housing facilities and similar kinds of homeless shelters are eligible under the public facilities category.
Contact: Jennifer Olson, Bureau Chief, Grants Bureau, Community Development Division, Montana Department of Commerce. Phone: 406.841.2770, Fax: 406.841.2771 www.comdev.mt.gov
City of Billings HOME and CDBG Programs
The City of Billings HOME and CDBG program funds are used to achieve common goals and objectives of the city’s Consolidated Plan. The Billings CDBG and HOME program funds are used to promote fair housing and affordable housing citywide; to preserve and revitalize the city's existing affordable housing stock; and to improve and revitalize neighborhoods where existing affordable housing stock is located. HOME program funds are specifically used for first-time homebuyer activities and to help finance new affordable housing projects. CDBG program funds are also used to support new housing activities, but primarily are used for activities that update and improve the community's existing affordable housing stock.
The core programs for the City of Billings are assist low/moderate income households within the city limits and include: 1) First Time Homebuyers which assists households at or below 80% area median income with down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase a home; 2) Affordable Housing which assists in the development of new affordable housing for low and very low income households; 3) Housing Rehabilitation which is a no interest deferred loan for substantial rehab of affordable housing stock for low/moderate income homeowner occupied residents; 4) Minor Home Repair which is for emergency repairs of stick built homes as well as repairs for mobile homes 30 years old or newer; 5) Exterior Paint Program; and 6) Special Assessment Grants to assist low and very low income households with curb, gutter and sidewalk replacement generated through a special improvement district for work completed by the City of Billings.
In addition, the City of Billings works with community partners, both non-profit and for-profit organizations, to improve the living conditions of low and very low income individuals. Programs supported in the past include: Food Bank of Billings, South Side Senior Center, Yellowstone County Council on Aging, Big Sky Senior Services, Tumbleweed Runaway Program, Montana Healthy Partnership’s Medical Assistance Program, Boys and Girls Club, Family Services, Rebuilding Together, Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT), Homeword, YWCA, and Friendship House, to name a few.
Contact: Brenda Beckett, Community Development Manager, City of Billings. Phone: 406.657.8286, Fax: 406.294.7595. www.ci.billings.mt.us/comdev
City of Great Falls CDBG Program
The primary objective of the City of Great Falls CDBG program is to use grant funds to benefit low- and moderate-income persons or to eliminate slums and blight. Providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities for low and moderate-income citizens enhances the community.
The City of Great Falls offers four CDBG-funded revolving loan programs to individuals within the city limits to promote affordable housing: 1) the deferred payment loan program provides no-interest loans to low-income homeowners for code-related repairs; 2) the water and sewer fund provides no/low interest loans to low-income homeowners or landlords having low-income tenants to construct or replace water and sewer service lines; 3) the rental improvement fund program provides no-interest loans to landlords to rehabilitate sub-standard rental units that will be made affordable to low-income tenants; and 4) the historic preservation fund provides no-interest loans to help landlords upgrading properties meet historic preservation requirements with the rental units being made affordable to low-income tenants.
The city also allocates CDBG housing funds to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that develop accessible, affordable rental housing and to NeighborWorks-Great Falls, Inc., for programs that address the purchase, rehabilitation, and new construction of affordable housing. The City of Great Falls has a Fair Housing Specialist who works to promote Fair Housing.
The city uses CDBG funds to improve public facilities that are primarily used by low-income persons, to make infrastructure improvements in low-income neighborhoods, to promote handicap accessibility, and to provide support to public services agencies whose programs benefit very low- to moderate-income citizens. The city encourages the use of CDBG funds in economic development activities that will create job opportunities for members of lower-income households.
Only projects located within the Great Falls city limits are eligible for funding. Applications for city-administered housing programs are available on an ongoing basis; proposals for other projects are accepted on an annual basis.
Contact: Jolene Wetterau, CDBG/HOME Administrator, Community Development, City of Great Falls. Phone: 406.455.8407, Fax: 406.454.9181. www.greatfalls.net/planning
City of Missoula CDBG Program
The City of Missoula receives an annual allocation of approximately $642,000 from HUD, which is available to support activities that benefit low- and moderate-income households in the areas of housing, public facilities, economic development and public services. The city conducts a competitive funding process for projects each year between September and November. Technical assistance is available to agencies and individuals interested in participating in the program.
Contact: Nancy Harte, Senior Grants Administrator, City of Missoula. Phone: 406.258.4934, Fax: 406.258.4843. www.co.missoula.mt.us/grants/