Tester Secures More Than $637,000 for Housing Accessibility in Helena

Funding will come from USDA Rural Development

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $637,360 in Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grants from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to increase housing accessibility in Helena. The funding will go to the Helena Area Habitat for Humanity and will be used to help recruit, screen, and provide loan packing assistance to prospective self-help housing applicants.

The completed project will provide funding for 16 homes located in Lewis and Clark and Carbon Counties.

“When I talk to Montanans from all across our state, they make clear we have a housing affordability problem that needs to be tackled,” Tester said. “I am always going to relentlessly defend Montanans’ way of life, and this grant will help provide affordable housing for hardworking Montana families. I’m proud to have worked with the local community to secure this funding for Helena to do just that.”

“Helena Area Habitat for Humanity is thrilled to embark on its third grant through the USDA Rural Development Mutual Self-Help program,” Jacob Kuntz, Executive Director, Helena Area Habitat for Humanity, said. “Mutual Self-Help has helped to build over 50,000 homes across rural America, including the 30 homes built by Helena Area Habitat for Humanity in the past four years. We look forward to continuing to work with the fantastic Rural Development staff to find ways to serve more rural communities across Montana. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Senator Tester in this important work.”

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion for housing accessibility. Last April, Tester secured more than $15 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support affordable housing construction, purchasing, and rehabilitation for low- and very low income- families. Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote in support of this funding. Last year, he secured a commitment from HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge that she would work to break down silos preventing affordable housing for Montana workers and Tribes from being built and maintained. He held a Housing Summit to gather ideas and suggestions from stakeholders and constituents on how to address the growing housing crisis, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he secured $3.3 million to support housing, public health, coronavirus response, and economic disruption needs.


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