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HUD No. 13-013
Charlene Guzman
(303) 672-5247
February 13, 2012



$2 million in rental assistance to prevent homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization


WASHINGTON – In an effort to spare Montanans with disabilities from homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded the Montana Department of Commerce $2 million.  The Montana Dept. of Commerce will use this source of federal funding to offer rental assistance to 82 extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at extreme risk of homelessness.  By working together, HUD and HHS are helping states like Montana to offer permanent housing and critically needed supportive services to ensure these at-risk individuals find their place within the fabric of their community.

HUD’s support of these state agencies is made possible through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (PRA Demo) which enables persons with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of median income to live in integrated mainstream settings.  The state housing agencies are working closely with their state Medicaid and health and human service counterparts to identify, refer, and conduct outreach to persons with disabilities who require long-term services and supports to live independently. 

“Two federal agencies are working together to solve common sense problems and offer real and lasting solutions for persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  “We’re helping states reduce health care costs, improving quality of life for persons with disabilities, and ending homelessness as we know it.”

“Montana’s Section 811 PRA Demo program is a partnership between the Housing Assistance Bureau of the Housing Division, Montana Department of Commerce, and two bureaus of the Montana Health and Human Services Department: the Community Services Bureau that serves persons who have long-term disabilities and the elderly; and the Mental Health Services Bureau that serves persons with mental illness,” said HUD Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator, Rick M. Garcia. “This program will unite affordable and accessible apartment rentals with the full range of Medicaid waiver services to support independent living for extremely low-income individuals with disabilities who would otherwise be at very high risk of institutionalization or homelessness.”

The target populations for Montana’s PRA Demo program are individuals between the ages of 18 and 62 who qualify for Medicaid waiver programs because of physical disabilities or mental illness.  Four counties have been identified to pilot the program, which will fund 82 existing units for this program.  Potential units have already been identified by owner/property managers for the program.

“Housing is a pillar of stability for individuals with disabilities,” said HHS Region VIII Regional Director, Marguerite Salazar. “The Montana PRA Demo program unites the strength of many agencies to provide these individuals with both the supportive housing and medical services they need to live independent lives. This is agency collaboration at its best,” she added.    

Today’s announcement reinforces the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act  and the landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires state and local governments to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

The rental assistance announced today also supports the Obama Administration’s strategy to prevent and end homelessness.  The Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness (DOEH) Initiative is a joint effort by HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to help communities match their homeless supports with other mainstream resources such as housing choice vouchers, public housing, private multifamily housing units, and other federally funded services.  The initiative is beginning in 10 critically important communities: Atlanta, Chicago, Fresno County, Los Angeles County, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix/Maricopa County, Seattle, and Tampa.

Authorized under the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010, HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program provides funding to states for project-based rental assistance to develop permanent affordable housing options in integrated settings for extremely low-income persons with disabilities.  Under the state health care/housing agency partnership, each state has in place a policy for referrals, tenant selection, and service delivery to ensure that this housing is targeted to those persons with disabilities most in need of deeply affordable supportive housing.  


HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.govand  You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDgov, on facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Mailing List.