Community Development Resources


The Community Development Division has Community Planning, Financial, Grant, and Programmatic Resources available.


Loans and Bonds Resources

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The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provides at or below market interest rate loans to Montana municipalities, public or private community water systems and non-profit non-community water systems for projects that facilitate compliance with the national drinking water regulations.

Montana Department of Commerce's Board of Investments INTERCAP Loan Program offers variable rate low-interest loans to School Districts for judgment, new and used vehicles, new and used equipment, real property purchase and improvements, energy retrofit projects, and interim financing and cash-flow. Repayment options include energy cost savings, general fund payments, and a building reserve fund.

Performance Contracting is one way to evaluate possibilities for energy improvements in buildings and to finance energy projects that will save money. Performance contracting functions in the following manner: you enter into an agreement with a private energy service company (ESCO). The ESCO will identify and evaluate energy-saving opportunities and then recommend a package of improvements to be paid for through savings. The ESCO will guarantee that savings meet or exceed annual payments to cover all project costs usually over a contract term of seven to 10 years. If savings don't materialize, the ESCO pays the difference, not you. To ensure savings, the ESCO offers staff training and long-term maintenance services.

Qualified Zone Academy bonds are a relatively new financing instrument that can be used to carry out much-needed school renovations and repairs as well as other improvements (any use except new construction). The federal government covers, on average, all of the interest on these bonds, thus enabling schools to save up to 50% of the costs of these construction/other projects. The interest payment is actually a tax credit, in lieu of cash, provided to financial institutions that hold the bonds. In effect, when a school district issues a QZAB, it is getting 50% of the funds as a grant. In order to qualify, schools must have 35% or more students who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or the school must be located in an enterprise community or empowerment zone.

The Montana Legislature established the Water Pollution Control State Revolving Fund (WPCSRF) Loan Program for water pollution control projects. Schools can utilize this program for low interest loans for septic system removals or upgrades.

 Quality Schools Resources/HTML

School Resources

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With the American Honda Foundation, public schools are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $20,000 to $60,000 to assist with projects that emphasize youth education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy. Grant applications are accepted four times each year and proposals should be submitted online.

The mission of the Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) is to support hands-on environmental projects for youth in grades K-12. The Foundation will fund as many projects as its annual resources allow. Grants generally range from $250 to $2,500 and applications are accepted four times a year. Check the website  to see if your project is a good fit for the program.

The Bair Family Trust grants funds to nonprofit organizations (including schools) and governmental entities operating in the State of Montana. The three counties of preference include Meagher County, Wheatland County and Yellowstone County. Grants are due on March 1 each year.

The EPA provides several grant and fellowship opportunities for environmentally conscious development.

The Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED) is a nonprofit charitable foundation affiliated with the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO). The Technology Grant aims to bring modern computers into every classroom and connect schools to the Internet. To apply for this grant, schools must be served by a member of OPASTCO and be nominated by that company for a grant. If you are served by a small telecommunications company, contact them to find out if you are eligible to be nominated.

This clearinghouse website,, offers a variety of search categories to assist in finding federal grant opportunities that may be applicable to your project. For example, grants administered by the U.S. Dept of Energy: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy may be a good place to start.

Home Depot Building Healthy Communities Grant Program provides small grants of up to $2,500 for public schools that use volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. Grants are in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools or materials.

Lowe's Toolbox For Education offers small grants between $2,000 and $5,000 for public schools for projects that involve facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) or for landscaping/clean up projects. Projects that encourage parent involvement and build community spirit are favored. The Spring 2011 grant cycle runs from October 25, 2010 through February 18, 2011.

The Montana Coal Board provides funding to local governmental units (including school districts), state agencies, and tribal governments that have been impacted as a direct consequence of coal development or as a result of major decline in coal-related activity. The majority of funding goes to applicants within the Designated Coal Impact Area. School districts should contact Coal Board staff at the Montana Department of Commerce to find out if they are eligible to apply.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality offers several programs that may help address energy efficiency in schools. Visit the website to learn more about the Planning, Prevention and Assistance Division as well as Universal Systems Benefit (USB) funds for customers served by the Montana-Dakota Utility Company to see if they are applicable to your project. Also, be sure to read the additional information on tax incentives, loans, and building codes relating to energy efficiency.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) website provides information on the Fuels for Schools and Beyond Program to promote and encourage the use of wood biomass as a renewable, natural resource to provide a clean, readily available energy source suitable for heat and power in public and private buildings. Grant funding may be available for planning, projects and pre-feasibility assessments. Visit the site for information about open and upcoming grant opportunities. Also visit the DNRC Conservation & Resource Development Division site to see if any of their grants apply to your project.

Montana Safe Routes to Schools is a Federally-funded, competitively awarded reimbursement program to make bicycling and walking to school safer and a more appealing transportation option.

Public schools may apply online for grants focusing on safety, community development and education (such as teacher development, service-learning, or systemic improvement) with the State Farm Company Grants. Limited funding is available for grants in other areas. The grant cycle is from January 2 through October 31. Only one proposal per organization per year will be considered.

The Montana Department of Commerce's research findings, along with comments from local government officials and citizens, indicate that the principal reason why so many local public facilities are deficient is that most options for correcting deficiencies are simply not considered affordable by local residents. The Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP) is a state-funded program that has been designed to help address that "affordability" problem by providing grants to lower the cost of constructing public facilities projects. School Districts will need to partner with a city, county, tribe or a water or sewer district in order to be eligible to apply for TSEP.

The USDA Rural Development program provides Community Facility Grants to assist in the development of essential community facilities (such as schools) in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population.

This U.S. Department of Education website lists all open grant competitions.  The Department also offers an extensive list of upcoming funding opportunities for every fiscal year.  The list is usually updated in November for the current fiscal year.

The Verizon Foundation offers grants for public schools in the areas of education, literacy, internet safety, and healthcare and accessibility. Grants are accepted online annually from January 1 through October 31.


Other Resources

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US Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Alliance to Save Energy, Green Schools Program

Energy Star for K-12 School Districts

Montana School Facility Condition Assessment - Final Report (PDF)

Online Library of Montana School FCI Reports and Inspections (Link)

For information on the Facility Condition Inventory, contact:

                Victoria Drummond, AICP, LEED, AP
                Associate University Planner
                Facilities Planning, Design & Construction

Montana Rebuild America Partnership Program helps schools planning any building construction, remodeling, or HVAC and lighting system/control improvements with interest in reducing operating costs, discomfort, and/or ventilation problems should visit this informational site and contact the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Clearinghouse at 1-800-DOE-EREC.

Northwestern Energy identifies several resources through its Efficiency Plus program that utility customers can utilize to reduce energy costs. These resources include Rebates and Incentives and Tax Credits and Deductions.


Housing Resources

The White Paper:
The first Housing White Paper was developed, printed, and distributed in 2008 by the Housing Coordinating Team. The effort was an attempt to define the problems facing the builders, developers, suppliers, and planners of affordable housing. The hope was that by collaborating on a definition of the problems there would follow a broader understanding and a collective set of solutions.

  • 2012 White Paper - Housing in Montana (PDF)
  • 2010 White Paper: Housing in Montana (PDF)
  • Summary of White Paper - Updated March 2009 (PDF)
  • Housing in Montana - The White Paper 2008 (PDF)

Resources for Housing Coordinating Team Members:

  • Housing Coordinating Team Meeting Information
  • Federal Housing Programs: A Critical Source of Housing in Montana (PDF)
  • NCSHA 2-14 Business, Legislative, and Regulatory Priorities (PDF)
  • 2014 HCT Legislative Priorities (PDF)
  • Packet of Information for Housing Advocates traveling to Washington, D.C. (PDF)

Other Housing Resources:

Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Disaster Recovery Resource

Uniform Application for Housing Programs


HOME Program Resources

Debarment Information (PDF)

HUD Section 3 Business Registry

HOME Conflict of Interest Process and Procedures (PDF)

Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) (PDF)

  • Webinar from 8/12/2015 (PDF)
  • Webinar from 9/29/2015 (PDF)

Uniform Relocation Assistance (URA)

  • Webinar from 10/23/2015 (PDF)

HOME Rental Recertification and Rent Increase

  • Webinar from 11/18/2015 (PDF)

Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations

The Community Development Division provides weekly updates on Davis Bacon Wage Rate (DBWR) Determination modifications for Montana. Following are the links to the Current, Advance Notice, and Archived State of Montana General Decision County Index for Davis-Bacon.

Davis-Bacon Act Wage Determinations Due to be Revised

 Archived Davis-Bacon Act Wage Determinations

Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) Frequently Asked Questions

Department of Labor's Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Overview

Federal Labor Standards Requirements in Housing and Urban Development Programs

HUD Labor Standards and Enforcement OLR Library

U.S. Department of Labor Prevailing Wage Resource Book 2009 (PDF)

HUD Federal Labor Standards Provision Form 2010 (PDF)

Making Davis-Bacon Work: A Contractor's Guide to Prevailing Wage Requirements for Federally-Assisted Construction Projects (PDF)

Summary of basic Montana Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) policy concerning which DBWR are applicable to a CDBG/HOME project:

  • Modifications to wage rate determinations that are posted by the Department of Labor at the Davis-Bacon website ten days before bid opening are the wages that need to be used by Montana CDBG and HOME grant recipients.
  • CDBG and HOME grant recipients need to verify (via contact with CDBG and HOME Program Specialists) that the wage rate determination is the most current available.
  • Not less than fifteen work days prior to the bid opening your project's CDBG and HOME Program Specialist must be contacted by telephone or in writing to find out if the wage rate decisions included in the bid solicitation are still current.
  • For grantees concerning time limitations, on which Davis-Bacon Wage Rates are applicable to a CDBG and HOME project, please see the current CDBG Grant Administration Manual and HOME Grant Administration Manual.


Building It Right - A Public Facilities Construction Administration Manual (PDF)

Capital Improvements Planning Manual (PDF)

CDBG Program Income Manual for Revolving Loan Funds (PDF)

Community Needs Assessment (PDF)

County Bridge & Road Capital Improvement Planning & Financing Manual (PDF)

Directory of Consultants for Grant Planning, Writing, and Administration (PDF)

Growth Policy Resource Book, 2009 (PDF)

Planning Members Board Handbook, 2009 (PDF)

301 S PARK AVENUE | PO BOX 200523 | HELENA, MT 59620-0523 | P: (406) 841-2770 | F: (406) 841-2771 | TDD: (406) 841-2702