$50M in Mortgage Relief Available to Montana Homeowners

Once the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program opens, eligible homeowners can get up to $25,000 to pay mortgage expenses, plus money to pay other housing costs.

By , Attorney


In early 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. This law created a Homeowner Assistance Fund, a federal program, to give around $10 billion to the states to help households that are behind on their mortgages and other housing expenses due to COVID-19.

Once the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program gets rolling, homeowners who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a portion of the approximately $50 million allocated to the state by submitting an application. This program will use federal money to help eligible homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs, like property taxes, insurance, and utilities. Assistance is in the form of a no-interest loan or a grant that you don't have to pay back.

What Costs Does the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund Program Cover?

You can use money from the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program to pay for the following items, among others:

  • mortgage reinstatement costs related to a period of forbearance, delinquency, or default
  • utilities, including electric, gas, home energy (such as firewood and home heating oil), water, wastewater, and internet (including broadband)
  • homeowners' insurance, flood insurance, and mortgage insurance
  • homeowners' association fees or liens, condominium owners' association fees, or common charges, and
  • delinquent property taxes.

The amount you can get varies depending on what kind of assistance you receive. For example, you can get up to $25,000 in the form of a loan to reinstate a delinquent mortgage, a $5,000 grant to prevent a property tax foreclosure or to pay off homeowners' association liens, a $300 grant to pay overdue utilities, and $50 per month (in the form of a grant) for past-due internet services.

Eligibility Requirements for the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund Program

To qualify for relief from this program, you must have suffered a financial hardship (a material reduction in income or an increase in living expenses) after January 21, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic. You also have to meet additional guidelines like:

  • The property must be owner-occupied and located in Montana.
  • The property must be your primary residence. Second homes, investment properties, and vacant properties don't qualify.
  • Your household income can't exceed 150% of the area median income, and 60% of funds available must go to those whose gross household income doesn't exceed 100% of the area median income.
  • The original loan balance for your first mortgage can't be more than the conforming loan limits in effect when you took out the loan.

How the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund Program Works

Some assistance, like for mortgage payments, is in the form of a 0% interest loan, which becomes due when your first mortgage ends or when you sell, refinance, or transfer the property. Other kinds of assistance, like paying overdue property taxes and utilities, are in the form of a grant that you don't have to repay.

Payments from the program go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.

How to Apply for the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund Program

Once the program opens, you can submit your application online. To receive updates about when the program will start, subscribe to the program's email and text list. You can also go to housing.mt.gov to watch for updates.

In the meantime, you can take steps to get ready to apply once the program begins. Start organizing the documents you'll need, such as your most recent tax return and paystubs, photo ID, mortgage statement or property tax statement, and utility statements.

Also, find out what type of mortgage you have, like an FHA-insured, VA-guaranteed, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac mortgage. You might qualify for a special loss mitigation option, depending on what entity owns or backs your loan. Call your loan servicer to learn about what alternatives are available.

Avoid Homeowner Assistance Fund Scams

Be wary if you get an unsolicited offer by phone, mail, email, or text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services. Scammers are increasingly targeting homeowners who've been affected by COVID-19. Homeowner Assistance Fund programs are free. If anyone asks you to pay a fee to get housing counseling or to receive foreclosure prevention services from this program, it's a scam.

Learn More About the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund Program

If you need help with the application process or have questions about the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program, contact a HUD-approved housing counselor who will assist you at no cost. To find a counselor near you, go to HUD's website or call 800-569-4287.

Effective date: April 5, 2022