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Cheryl Cohen

A Message from Cheryl Cohen

Division Administrator, Montana Housing

Happy Spring,

Perhaps - like me - many of you have been itching (and sneezing) to start some outdoor projects? But in typical Montana fashion, arrival of May snow stalled some of my long overdue gardening plans. I did sneak in a blissful weekend moving wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of river rocks around my yard; part of my garden revitalization program, which will be years in the making. This singular focused activity was tremendously therapeutic, especially given the amount of multitasking in my day-to-day work and home life with my two little kiddos.

The type of work us affordable housing gurus engage in tends to be very multifaceted, so perhaps more than other career paths, we need to become - and excel - as multi-task masters. And our need to multi-task has skyrocketed over the last year with so many of us working from home, with the bustle of other family members, and the addition of so many “other duties as assigned.” This can certainly be taxing on the mind, and probably even the best multi-taskers experience diminishing returns in terms of productivity over time. With the arrival of spring, I hope each of you takes time for singular focused activities to clear your mind. Isn’t it amazing what a long hike – or moving rocks – can do for our mental clarity?

We are going to need all the clarity we can get as we prepare, launch, and administer so many new programs included in recently passed federal legislation:

  • CARES Act CDBG Coronavirus Funds                      $10 million
  • Emergency Rental Assistance – Round 1                 $200 million
  • Emergency Rental Assistance – Round 2                 $152 million
  • Homeowner Assistance Fund                                    $50 million
  • HOME-ARP Supplemental Funds                              $11 million
  • Emergency Housing Vouchers                                   $600,000

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program has already provided support to nearly 500 Montanans, with households receiving – on average – approximately $6,600 to help them get current on rent and utility bills.

Finally, if you missed the closing plenary at the Montana Housing Partnership Conference, I would like to share one last bit of news. The Department of Commerce is realigning our business structure to provide collaborative customer service, and to enhance career growth opportunities for our employees. Our work is not changing, but one thing that is changing is that all Commerce housing programs, including the HOME Program, Housing Trust Fund, and Community Development Block Grant – Housing Program, are consolidating within Montana Housing. We are thrilled to welcome the stellar Community Housing team, including Julie Flynn, Sharon Lofftus, Theresa Wadsworth, Nicole Newman, Janelle Egli and Dan Kaiserski, to Montana Housing.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!


Montana Housing News

House and Sky

Housing Champion Awards Presented to Representatives, Industry Leaders Who Support Affordable Homes in Montana

Montana Housing with the Montana Department of Commerce announced today this year’s Housing Champion Awards presented at the Montana Housing Partnership Conference. These awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have shown extraordinary success supporting development, ownership and advocacy of affordable homes in Montana. More

Great Falls, MT.

8 Montana Affordable Rental Properties Invited to Apply for Federal Housing Credits

The Montana Board of Housing has invited eight affordable rental properties in seven communities to move forward with housing tax credit applications. During the meeting this week, the Board listened to presentations from developers and interested community members seeking the opportunity to submit their full applications for federal tax credits, the nation’s largest source of funding to develop affordable homes. More

Attention: New HOME and HTF limits!

HUD has issued new limits for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Housing Trust Fund (HTF) effective June 2, 2021.

HOME Purchase Price Limits

HOME and HTF Income Limits

HOME Rent Limits

HTF Rent Limits

Industry Trends

As housing costs skyrocket, Bozeman’s workers and employers feel the pinch

Nora Shelly | Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Annekje Thompson’s stint in Bozeman only lasted a year.

The now 19-year-old moved to town from Roundup in April 2020 to work on a farm. That job came with housing, and she was later able to rent a room in a house while working two jobs, one at a Montessori school and another at a restaurant.

She was working more than 40 hours a week, bringing in about $2,000 a month between the two jobs. But she needed to find new housing, and started looking for “anything and everything in Bozeman” this spring. Most places weren’t affordable, and listings she saw that were within her budget were snatched up quickly.

After weeks of trying, Thompson gave up on Bozeman and moved back home. More

Montana Housing Partnership Conference a Big Success!

Housing Conference Attendees

This year’s conference was packed full of informative content to help us come together to address the housing needs of Montanans. Attendees brought their vast experience, a passion for learning more and a collaborative spirit to the conference.

Conference Highlights

  • 461 people from 16 states registered for the conference
  • We had 79 presenters, 3 plenary sessions, and 21 breakout sessions
  • Attendee engagement through the Whova platform included 102 photos uploaded, 85 participating in organized meet ups, and over 1,152 messages sent through the Community board or privately
  • 25 amazing companies sponsored this year's conference and received 51,708 overall impressions just through Whova platform

A special thank you to our sponsors!

Conference Sponsors

From all of us with the Montana Housing Partnership, we thank you for making this year’s conference so memorable!

Mother and Son

Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted, directly or indirectly, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renters can apply directly for rent and utility assistance, and landlords can apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and required documentation.

Renters need to provide income documentation to verify program eligibility. To streamline the application review process, we recommend renters file their 2020 tax return now and have that document available to submit when the program opens for applications.

Apply Now Teal

A Special Farewell to Cindy Maxwell!

The Operations division of Housing will be losing Cindy Maxwell to retirement. Cindy has worked for Housing for more than 11 years. She assisted each department in Housing in one way or another throughout the years.

Cindy will be enjoying camping, fishing, gardening, spending more time with her mom, sister, brother and youngest daughter in Great Falls. She plans to travel to San Diego to see her oldest daughter too.

We will miss you Cindy!!

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