PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY FACILITY GRANTS

Montana's CDBG Public and Community Facilities grants help local governments fund construction or rehabilitation of infrastructure and facilities that primarily benefit low- to moderate-income (LMI) Montanans, i.e. individuals earning less than 80% of the area median income. These projects can target LMI residents and provide direct benefits by improving or creating access to suitable living environments or necessary services, or these projects can provide an area-wide benefit to the entire community as long as at least 51% of the project’s beneficiaries are determined to be LMI. 

Certain projects such as senior centers, food banks, homeless shelters, youth homes, or head start centers are presumed to serve a “Limited Clientele” that is primarily LMI. Therefore, determining exactly what percent of project beneficiaries qualify as LMI is not required. Other projects, such as a wastewater improvements project or water treatment improvements provide benefits to the entire community and are considered to have “area-wide benefit” because both LMI and non-LMI residents are served. Therefore, applicants must document at least 51% of the project’s beneficiaries qualify as LMI for projects considered to have an area-wide benefit.

Eligible Projects

Public and community facilities projects typically involve either construction or rehabilitation of community infrastructure or a community facility that principally benefit residents whose annual income is below 80% of the area median income published by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). CDBG financial assistance can be used for a variety of project-related activities, including but not limited to acquisition, construction, architectural/engineering services, documenting compliance with CDBG requirements, legal work, and grant administration.

Eligible Community Infrastructure Activities

Typically community infrastructure  projects include new construction, rehabilitation, or improvements to a community’s water and/or wastewater system. However, other infrastructure projects may include other infrastructure projects such as, storm water systems, and paying for special assessments levied on low- to moderate-income households. 

Eligible Community Facility Activities

Community facility projects typically involve new construction or rehabilitation of facilities that provide a service to predominantly low- to moderate-income persons. Community facilities activities include new construction or rehabilitation of non-rental shelters such as domestic violence shelters or youth homes and new construction or rehabilitation of public facilities such as food banks, head start centers, nursing homes, mental health centers, and senior centers.


Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are limited to counties, incorporated cities and towns, and consolidated city-county governments except Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula. A local government may apply for a CDBG grant on behalf of an organization that is ineligible to apply, such as a water or sewer district or nonprofit organizations. In this case, the local government must be the applicant and the official grantee that is ultimately responsible for fulfilling contractual obligations, such as receipting and expending funds and other similar tasks. 

However, applicants may elect to partner with another local government or other entity to prepare an application, complete the project, and document compliance with CDBG requirements. Depending on the applicant’s capacity, staff experience, and available resources, applicants may choose to actively complete every task or limit its involvement to tasks such as approving expenditures and signing certain documents. In any case, applicants should work closely with partner organizations and ensure work done on its behalf is accurate and complete.

Examples of partner organizations include entities such as water and sewer districts, non-profit organizations, certified regional development corporations, architectural or engineering firms, private consultants, or other qualified, capable entities

Application Process

The application guidelines are formally adopted through the State of Montana Administrative Rulemaking process during which the public has an opportunity to comment on draft guidelines.  Public comments will be considered before the final version is adopted. 

The final CDBG Application Guidelines consist of ranking criteria with specific questions requiring narrative responses and identify supporting documentation that will improve the strength of the application. In order to avoid unnecessary duplication, the applicant can reference other pertinent portions of the application or appendices in the narrative responses to the criteria. However, the applicant should not reference another portion of the application, such as the PER, without including a narrative statement that provides at least a summary of what is being referenced.

Each application will be evaluated according to each CDBG ranking criteria and will receive points depending upon its overall response to each criterion, relative to local capacity and resources and in comparison with the other applications submitted. Failure to respond to a criterion or to comply with a pertinent and important application requirement may result in no points being awarded for that criterion. For ease of reference, any documentation or exhibits related to the applicant's response to a CDBG ranking criterion should be placed in the application immediately following the applicant's narrative response to that criterion

One hard copy and one electronic copy (either on compact disc or submitted through the State of Montana File Transfer Service at DOCCDDFTS@mt.gov [as State Group]) of the CDBG application and two hard copies of the PAR or PER (as applicable) must be postmarked or delivered  to the Department of Commerce, 301 South Park Ave, Helena MT, 59620 on or before the application due date. Electronic copies of CDBG applications submitted on portable USB drives will not be accepted.

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified once the final funding decision is made. All applicants will have the opportunity to meet with CDBG staff and discuss their application’s success and opportunities for improvement. These meetings are intended to help successful applicants identify areas of improvement for future CDBG applications and unsuccessful applicants prepare for resubmission the following year.
 


Application Forms

CDBG Community and Public Facilities Application & Guidelines
Grant Amount: Up to $450,000
25% Match Required

Uniform Application For Montana Public Facility Projects (PDF) (Word)

2020 CDBG Community and Public Facilities Application & Guidelines (PDF) (Word)

*NEW* – July 2020 Update - Under Ranking Criterion #1, questions 1-6, applicants for Public and Community Facilities can mark these questions as Not Applicable as these are applicable only for CDBG Housing Development project applications.

Documenting Benefit to Low and Moderate Income Persons Handbook (PDF)

 


Updated July 2020

Local governments are responsible to carry out project activities commensurate with the project application and complying with all applicable state, federal, and local requirements. Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) is committed to working closely with grantees and their partners to complete CDBG-assisted projects that successfully meet local needs and comply with program requirements. 

Certain federal regulations and policies govern the use of CDBG funds, and CDBG-assisted project must also comply with state law and local ordinances and policies. No two CDBG-assisted projects are exactly alike and CDBG staff will provide technical assistance throughout the course of a project to help grantees identify, understand, and fulfill CDBG requirements applicable to your project. CDBG staff are equipped with the knowledge, resources, and experience to effectively navigate CDBG grant administration requirements and help you successfully complete your project. 

In addition to CDBG staff, MDOC publications such as the Grant Administration Manual and Toolkit are available to help grant administrators document every step of the project. The Grant Administration Manual helps grant administrators understand the various state and federal requirements with which CDBG-assisted projects must comply. The Manual is designed to walk grant administrators through each step in the life of a CDBG project, from notice of grant award to final closeout, and its organization mirrors the lifecycle of most projects. The Toolkit is a compilation of required forms and processes, suggestions, and best practices we have developed over the last 25 years of the State CDBG Program. 

Community Infrastructure Project Lifespan and Deadlines

Funded infrastructure projects must be completed within four (4) years of the formal notice of award. For example, an infrastructure project awarded July 1, 2016 must be completed out by July 1, 2020. The Department, at its sole discretion, may grant an extension if the project is near completion but will not be fully completed by the completion date, and the grant recipient can demonstrate a good faith effort to complete the project on time and within the original budget. Additionally, each project is expected to produce the documentation necessary to execute a contract with the Department within three (3) months of the formal notice of award. Once the contract is executed, each project is expected to submit a Request for Reimbursement once every six (6) months and provide accomplishment data within two and one half years of contract execution.

Community Facility Project Lifespan and Deadlines

Funded community facility projects must be completed within two (2) years of the formal notice of award. For example, a community facility project awarded July 1, 2016 must be completed by July 1, 2018. The Department, in its sole discretion, may grant an extension if the project is near completion but will not be fully completed by the completion date, and the grant recipient can demonstrate a good faith effort to complete the project on time and within the original budget. Additionally, each project is expected to produce the documentation necessary to execute a contract with the Department within three (3) months of the formal notice of award. Once the contract is executed, each project is expected to submit a Request for Reimbursement once every six (6) months and provide accomplishment data within two and one half years of contract execution.

The CDBG/NSP Grant Administration Manual provides guidance for both the CDBG and the NSP Program. NSP grantees are encouraged to use the NSP website to access the specific NSP guidance in Chapter 15 which provides NSP specific forms and exhibits. If you need help accessing the manual or any other assistance, please reach out to division staff via our online contact form.

CDBG/NSP Grant Administration Manual:

Introduction (PDF)

Table of Contents (PDF)


Chapter 1: Project Start-Up

Chapter 2: Environmental Review

Chapter 3: Procurement

Chapter 4: Financial Management 

Chapter 5: Civil Rights

Chapter 6: Labor Standards

Chapter 7: Acquisition and Relocation

Chapter 8: Economic Development

Chapter 9: Construction Management

Chapter 10: Non-Competitive Housing Rehabilitation

Chapter 11: Project Monitoring

Chapter 12: Project Closeout

Chapter 13: Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)

Please use this Toolkit page to find information regarding common topics and assistance discussed with grantees. If you have questions regarding the CDBG Program that are not addressed here, please contact the CDBG Staff.

 


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

Guide to NEPA-Related Statutes, Authorities & Requirements (Word)