Commerce Awards $9.4 Million in Federal Grants to Increase COVID-19 Resiliency in 13 Montana Communities

Shelby Montana HELENA – The Montana Department of Commerce announced that 16 projects in 13 Montana communities have been awarded more than $9.4 million in federal grant funding for activities that will help Montana counties, cities, and towns prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These grants will help Montana communities respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and will ensure they are better situated for future adverse events,” Commerce Director Scott Osterman said. “Additionally, this funding will help increase local resiliency through diverse projects, like the expansion of a food bank to address the increased need for services, and the acquisition of a hotel for non-congregate shelter to reduce the spread of the virus," Osterman added.

The Montana Department of Commerce was allocated this one-time Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines for the CDBG Program, all of the allocated projects will benefit lower to middle wage earning Montanans with incomes that are at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

The following projects will receive CDBG CARES (CDBG-CV) funding:

“Combined with the challenges presented by the growing housing crisis, COVID-19 has had a particularly devastating impact on those experiencing domestic or sexual violence,” said Stacey Umhey, Executive Director of SAFE. “The Bitterroot Valley is currently experiencing a dire need for available, affordable housing and safe refuge for families in crisis. We're so grateful for this award and the opportunity to expand our emergency shelter capacity. This expansion will ensure that members our community will have access to safe, immediate shelter when fleeing domestic and sexual violence,” Umhey added.

“This grant will, literally, put a roof over our heads so the project can then be worked on during the winter months. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Sheryle Shandy, Executive Director of the Billings Food Bank.

All Montana counties, cities, and towns were eligible for CDBG-CV funding. Nonprofits, tribes, and other entities were not eligible to directly apply for CDBG-CV funding, but could in partnership with an eligible local government.

For more information, visit COMDEV.MT.GOV.

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