HOME Program Overview

The Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) Program is a federal block grant program directed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is designed to create affordable housing for low-income households. The Montana Department of Commerce is responsible for the administration of HOME within the state of Montana. Commerce provides HOME funds to units of local government (counties and incorporated cities and towns) and non-profits throughout the state. An individual may not apply directly to the state HOME Program.

The purposes of the HOME Program include expanding the supply of affordable housing for low- and very low-income persons; improving the means of state and local governments to implement strategies to achieve adequate supplies of decent, affordable housing; and providing both financial and technical assistance to participants to develop model programs for affordable, low-income housing.


ANNOUNCEMENT:

Program Year 2020 Method of Distribution of funds for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Housing Trust Fund (HTF)

The Method of Distribution, related to the HOME and HTF Programs, is outlined within the State of Montana’s Consolidated Plan, which is submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) every five years.  Program Year 2020 is the first year of Montana’s 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan, which is being developed with public input on a delayed timeline due to the state’s coronavirus response.  HUD has provided entities until August 2021 to have the2020-2024 Consolidated Plan, including the 2020 Annual Action Plan, submitted to and approved by HUD.  In order for the State of Montana to access its Program Year 2020 allocations from HUD for HOME and HTF, the Department of Commerce solicited public input regarding the way in which it will allocate its HOME and HTF funds.  This input influenced the 2020 HOME and HTF Application and Guidelines, and will impact the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan, including the 2020 Annual Action Plan.  This separate process is being undertaken this year to ensure Commerce can award its 2020 HOME and HTF funds in a timely manner to ensure projects continue through 2021.

The Program Year 2020 Method of Distribution of funds for HOME and HTF may be found here.

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is the largest federal block grant designed exclusively to create affordably housing for low-income households and was created under Title II of the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990. Montana’s State allocation of HOME funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Montana Department of Commerce grants these funds to help local governments respond to the need for adequate, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.

The Montana HOME Program strives to partner with local governments and organizations to:

  • Expand the supply of decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing for very low-income and low-income Montanans (those at or below 80% of area median income); and
  • Mobilize and strengthening the abilities of units of local governments, public housing authorities, community housing development organizations, and other organizations to implement strategies for achieving an adequate supply of decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing.

Eligible Projects

HOME Homebuyer Assistance Activities

HOME funds may be used to support homeownership affordability through the acquisition of nonluxury housing with suitable amenities. Homebuyer assistance activities are expressly limited to financial assistance provided to eligible beneficiaries (including down payment and closing costs) and sufficiently documented costs that directly support homebuyer assistance activities for existing housing units or housing units under construction. HOME funds may be used to assist eligible beneficiaries acquire, in fee simple title, a 1- to 4-unit dwelling or a condominium unit.



HOME Development Activities

HOME funds may be used to develop affordable rental and/or homeownership housing through the acquisition (including assistance to homebuyers), new construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of non-luxury housing with suitable amenities. Activities may include real property acquisition, site improvements, new construction, rehabilitation, reconstruction, conversion, and other expenses including financing costs, temporary relocation expenses of any households, businesses, or organizations. Acquisition of vacant land or demolition must be undertaken only with respect to a particular, predefined housing project intended to provide affordable housing within established time frames.


Eligible Applicants

A local government may apply for HOME funds directly or sponsor an application on behalf of a nonprofit or a for-profit organization. If awarded funds, the Applicant (local government) remains responsible for meeting all HOME requirements, including those related to long-term affordability.

Counties may apply to use HOME grant funds for activities proposed to resolve housing problems in the unincorporated jurisdiction of the county. A county may apply for a housing project that will include activities within the jurisdiction of an incorporated city or town if the proposed project is intended to benefit all county residents. A county may apply for a grant to fund a project that would assist two or more separate, unincorporated communities.

Municipalities may apply to use HOME grant funds for projects proposed within the jurisdiction of the incorporated city or town. A municipality may apply for a project located outside the city's jurisdiction if it can provide assurances the project area will be annexed within the HOME contract period.

Consolidated city-county governments will be considered as two separate jurisdictions: one, the city jurisdiction; and two, the unincorporated jurisdiction of the county. Each may apply separately for HOME funds. The city and county boundaries, as delineated on the date of consolidation, will define the jurisdiction of each.

Development Projects

HOME grants are awarded to construct, acquire, and/or rehabilitate rental housing, or develop new housing for homeownership. Award amounts are to fill financing gaps and may not exceed HUD-determined subsidy limits.  5% of the total HOME investment must be matched.  More information is available in the Application Guidelines.
 
Homebuyer Assistance

The HOME Program allocates a portion of each year’s funds to homebuyer assistance (HBA).  Eligible entities may apply to access these funds by completing an application that will qualify them to pursue homebuyer assistance activities within their jurisdiction for a two-year period.


Application Forms

HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Housing Trust Fund Application Guidelines (PDF) (Word)
Applications were due September 15, 2020

Please see the Toolkit for additional Application Toolkit documents.

Uniform Application for Montana Housing Projects (click here)


  • HOME Program Subsidy Limits 
    • 2020 HOME Program Subsidy Limits (PDF) (effective June 2020)
  • HOME Program Purchase Price Limits 
    • 2020 HOME Program Purchase Price Limits for Existing and Newly Constructed Homes are available on HUD's website.
  • Applicants Proposing to do Rehabilitation Activities
    • As of April 22, 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program Rule applies to paid renovators who work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities, including: renovation contractors, maintenance workers in multi-family housing, painters, and other specialty trades. Under the rule, child-occupied facilities are defined as residential, public, or commercial buildings where children under age six are present on a regular basis. Contractors are required to have a certified renovator on board for each job taking place in a home or facility defined by the rule.

      There are some differences between the EPA RRP Rule and the HUD Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR). A major difference is that the LSHR requires clearance examinations. All housing receiving federal assistance must still comply with the LSHR. Read more about complying with the LSHR and RRP.

      EPA-Authorized Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Courses are offered by the Montana Weatherization Training Center at MSU - Bozeman, the only EPA accredited training provider in Montana.

      Projects involving structures built prior to 1980 are considered to have the potential for LBP and procedures have been developed to ensure compliance with federal regulations. If structures are being funded by CDBG or HOME for rehabilitation or homebuyer assistance activities, the units must be tested for LBP and if positive, the LBP must be removed during rehabilitation or prior to occupancy. HOME or CDBG-assisted units constructed before 1980 must be tested for lead-based paint using HUD Performance Characteristics Sheet Testing and applicable industry standards. CDBG or HOME-assisted units must be free of lead-based paint prior to occupancy. For many projects, CDBG and HOME program funds can to be used to assist with the cost of LBP testing and remediation activities.

      Grantees are required to document that proposed rehabilitation activities have been assessed for LBP or lead water service lines; that the applicant has the resources to ensure that certified LBP inspectors and contractors are available to accomplish the proposed activities; and that the cost and design of the proposed activity takes LBP removal and remediation into account. Applicants for CDBG and HOME funding are required to certify that they accept all program requirements, including compliance with all state and federal LBP requirements and regulations.

      Commerce requires that Preliminary Architectural Reports (PARs) funded with state or federal funding through the Department, or submitted in support of a grant application for any state or federal funding, meet the requirements of the Department’s PAR requirements. Among other things the requirements include a description of all concerns, deficiencies, compliance issues, and relevant regulations related to LBP, evaluate the existence of LBP in any existing facilities, and describe all mitigation measures that will be implemented to remediate any LBP. 

Application Process

HOME Homebuyer Assistance Grants

The HOME Homebuyer Assistance Application Guidelines consist of guidance and specific questions requiring narrative responses and supporting documentation. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and funds and awards are based on available funding. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified once the funding decision is made. All applicants will have the opportunity to meet with HOME staff and discuss their application’s success and opportunities for improvement. These meetings are intended to help successful applicants identify areas of improvement for future HOME applications and unsuccessful applicants prepare for resubmission. 

Successful applicants will be awarded an amount of HOME funds commensurate with demonstrated need and availability of funds.

HOME Development Grants

The HOME Development Application Guidelines consist of ranking criteria with specific questions requiring narrative responses and identify required supporting documentation. In order to avoid unnecessary duplication, the applicant can reference other pertinent portions of the application or appendices in the narrative responses to the criteria. However, the applicant should not reference another portion of the application, such as the PAR, without including a narrative statement that provides at least a summary of what is being referenced.

Each application will be evaluated according to each ranking criteria and will receive points depending upon its overall response to each criterion, relative to local capacity and resources. Failure to respond to a criterion or to comply with a pertinent and important application requirement may result in no points being awarded for that criterion. For ease of reference, any documentation or exhibits related to the applicant's response to a HOME ranking criterion should be placed in the application immediately following the applicant's narrative response to that criterion.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and funds and awards are based on available funding. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified once the funding decision is made. All applicants will have the opportunity to meet with HOME staff and discuss their application’s success and opportunities for improvement. These meetings are intended to help successful applicants identify areas of improvement for future HOME applications and unsuccessful applicants prepare for resubmission. 

Successful applicants will be awarded an amount of HOME funds commensurate with the demonstrated need, HUD’s subsidy limits, and available funding.

Local governments are responsible for carryout project activities commensurate with the project application and complying with all applicable state, federal, and local requirements. Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) is committed to working closely with grantees and their partners to complete HOME-assisted projects that successfully meet local needs and complies with program requirements.  

Certain federal regulations and policies govern the use of HOME funds, and HOME-assisted project must also comply with state law and local ordinances and policies. HOME staff will provide technical assistance throughout the course of a project to help grantees identify, understand, and fulfill the HOME requirements applicable to your project. HOME staff are equipped with the knowledge, resources, and experience to effectively navigate HOME grant administration requirements and help you successfully complete your project. 

In addition to HOME staff, MDOC publications such as the Grant Administration Manual and Toolkit are available to help grant administrators document every step of the project. The Grant Administration Manual helps grant administrators understand the various state and federal requirements with which HOME-assisted projects must comply. The Manual is designed to walk grant administrators through each step in the life of a HOME project, from notice of grant award to completion of the period of affordability, and its organization mirrors the lifecycle of most projects. The Toolkit is a compilation of required forms and processes, suggestions, and best practices we have developed over the years.  

HOME Development Project Lifespan and Deadlines

Funded development projects must be completed within three (3) years of the formal notice of award. For example, a project awarded July 1, 2016 must be completed by July 1, 2019. The Department, in its sole discretion, may grant an extension if the project is near completion but will not be fully completed by the completion date, and the grant recipient can demonstrate a good faith effort to complete the project on time and within the original budget. Additionally, each project is expected to produce the documentation necessary to execute a contract with the Department within three (3) months of the formal notice of award. 

Once the contract is executed, each project is expected to submit the first Request for Reimbursement within six (6) months and submit regular Requests for Reimbursement at least once every ninety (90) days. Once projects are complete, documentation of HOME-assisted unit occupancy should be submitted to MDOC within one hundred twenty (120) days. 

The project’s affordability period will begin upon project completion and grantees are responsible for complying with ongoing HOME requirements including but not limited to annual reporting, occupancy requirements, and rent restrictions for the duration of the period.

HOME Homebuyer Assistance Project Lifespan and Deadlines

Local governments will work stakeholders that may include housing organizations, lenders, realtors, inspectors, educators, and low- to moderate-income households to provide homebuyer assistance to qualified households. Successful applicants will execute a two year contract with MDOC that will provide an amount of funds based on demonstrated need and participant capacity. Once the contract is executed, each project is expected to submit the first Request for Reimbursement within six (6) months and submit regular Requests for Reimbursement at least once every ninety (90) days.
Annual Certification for Rental Housing for Calendar Year 2020 (Word) Due March 31, 2021

Rent and Occupancy Report for Calendar Year 2020 (Excel)

Checklist for Annual Certification for Rental Housing for Calendar Year 2020 (PDF)

Annual Certification Quick Guide (PDF)

Annual Certification 12-minute Webinar

Rent Schedule Form (Excel)

Homebuyer Assistance Annual Certification (Word) (PDF) 

Homebuyer Assistance Program Income / Recaptured Funds Quarterly Reporting Form (Excel) (PDF)

Homebuyer Assistance Program Income and/or Recaptured Funds Returned to MDOC Form (Word) (PDF)

Homeowner Rehabilitation Annual Certification (Word) (PDF)

Homeowner Rehab Program Income / Recaptured Funds Quarterly Reporting Form (Excel) (PDF)

Homeowner Rehab Program Income and/or Recaptured Funds Returned to MDOC Form (Word) (PDF)

CHDO Certification Form (Word)

CHDO Program Income / Recaptured Funds Quarterly Reporting Form (Excel) (PDF)

CHDO Program Income and/or Recaptured Funds Returned to MDOC Form (Word) (PDF)

HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection Checklist ◦form HUD-52580-A (long form) (PDF) Form HUD-52580 (short form) (PDF)

Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) Form (PDF)
Please use this Toolkit page to find information regarding common topics and assistance discussed with grantees. If you have questions regarding the HOME Program that are not addressed here, please contact the HOME Staff. 


Application Toolkit Items:

  • Capital Needs Assessment Requirements (PDF)
  • Comparing CDBG v HOME v HTF (PDF)
  • Management Plan Template for City/County (Word)
  • Management Plan Template for Non-Profit (Word)
  • Market Analysis Requirements (PDF)
  • Preliminary Architectural Report Requirements (PDF)
  • Rehabilitation Standards (Word)
  • Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan (Word)

Environmental Toolkit​:

  • HTF Environmental Provisions New Construction (Word)
  • HTF Environmental Provisions Rehabilitation (Word)
  • HOME and CDBG Environmental Review (Word)
  • HOME and CDBG Environmental Assessment click here
  • HOME and CDBG Environmental Review for Activity/Project that is Categorically Excluded Subject to Section 58.5 (Word)
  • HOME and CDBG Environmental Review for Activity/Project that is Exempt or Categorically Excluded Not Subject to Section 58.5 (Word)