Pandemic-Era Emergency Rental Assistance Program Announces Final Application Deadline

Montana Affordable Rental Homes HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Department of Commerce’s Montana Housing Division announced today it will no longer accept applications for the pandemic-era Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MERA) starting Friday, March 24, 2023. MERA, which began providing rental assistance to Montana households during the pandemic in 2021, reaches its end as the pandemic-era U.S. Department of the Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance program runs out of funds available to states.

“Montana has stretched what funding was provided from the U.S. Treasury through ERA a long way,” said Cheryl Cohen, Administrator of the Montana Housing Division at the Montana Department of Commerce. “Our program has served twice the number of Montana households than we projected we could serve, while continuing to provide assistance using ERA funding for Montanans for a longer period of time than most states in the nation provided under their ERA programs.”

Montana was among the first states to launch its Emergency Rental Assistance program after the federal funding was announced. Since its beginning, MERA has provided more than $120 million in assistance to over 13,200 households across Montana. As stewards of the program, the Montana Department of Commerce also prevented roughly $49 million in potential fraud by carefully reviewing applicant eligibility.

MERA applications received on or before the March 24 deadline will continue to be reviewed and processed. Eligible and approved applicants will continue to receive funds until the remaining funds have been fully expended.

“We understand the difficulties with the pandemic-era MERA no longer accepting applications and we encourage Montanans who currently receive MERA assistance to make a plan and be prepared after their MERA assistance ends,” said Cohen.

MERA recipients can go to for resources on other assistance programs administered by the Montana Department of Commerce that will remain available after MERA ends. Also available is, a Montana Department of Commerce supported website where housing options are posted regularly. MERA FAQs can be found at

To ensure funding is available to approved applicants for as long as possible, the Montana Housing Division encourages the reporting of any potential MERA fraud to its ARPA hotline: 1-844-406-2772 (ARPA).

Updated Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Program FAQ

Tags: Montana Housing