Tester Announces $11.3 Million to Promote Affordable Housing & Community Development Throughout Montana

Funding Comes from Grant Programs that Would be Eliminated Under President Trump’s Proposed Budget

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced $11.3 million in funding today to support community development and affordable housing programs in cities and counties across Montana.

“From helping hardworking families in Billings buy their first home to providing seniors in Great Falls with a hot meal every week, these grants have and will continue to do responsible things for Montana,”
Tester said. “When families have a roof over their head they are more likely to hold down jobs and contribute to our state’s economy.”

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-which Tester oversees as a senior member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Specifically, the awards are granted through HUD’s Community Development and Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership Grant (HOME) Programs, which aim to increase affordable housing, create jobs, and provide services to the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Both the CDBG and HOME Programs would be completely eliminated under President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget.

This round of funding comes from the 2017 budget and will be awarded directly to three Montana cities as follows:

Billings – $870,754 

  • CDBG: $597,181
  • HOME: $273,573

Great Falls – $893,809

  • CDBG: $702,709
  • HOME: $191,100

Missoula – $809,721

  • CDBG: $519,960
  • HOME: $289,761

“CDBG and HOME allocations help over 40 families purchase their first home each year and 30 homeowners make needed repairs to their homes, while also assisting in affordable housing development projects,” said Brenda Beckett, Community Development Manager for the City of Billings. “They are critical tools to promote homeownership and economic security for Billings citizens.”

According to Missoula Mayor John Engen, these newly awarded grants will allow dozens of local households to access quality, affordable housing this year; help hundreds of Missoula residents benefit from public services like financial counseling and Meals on Wheels; and give the city’s homeless access to emergency shelter and other support services.

“CDBG and HOME will contribute significantly to our community development efforts in Missoula. Through these investments, the City of Missoula, together with our nonprofit partners, will develop new housing, install key infrastructure to improve public health, and support much-needed services focused on preventing and ending homelessness, providing rental assistance, and distributing meals to the elderly,” said Missoula Mayor John Engen. “We strongly encourage Congress to retain and even grow CDBG and HOME as important, unique funding sources that provide shelter and save people’s lives, and that we could not duplicate in other funding arenas.”

The Montana Department of Commerce also received CPBG and HOME program funding, which it will distribute to communities across the state.

State of Montana – $8,737,224

  • CDBG: $5,720,253
  • HOME: $3,016,971

Last year, the Department distributed its CDBG funding among 25 Montana communities, from the City of Whitefish, which hoped to develop an Affordable Workforce Housing Plan, to Ravalli County, which embarked on a project to improve its wastewater system.

Tester has been a strong advocate for CDBG and HOME programs, recently urging his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to allocate $3.3 billion in funding CDBG and $1.2 billion in funding for HOME in Fiscal Year 2018.