Housing Assistance (Youth & Young Adult Legal Issues Edition)


By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)

Housing is a basic human need. There are programs available to help provide housing.
Resource Information

Is it difficult to sign up for housing assistance?

The paperwork is not overly complicated, but you will have to prove that your income level qualifies for these programs.

Are the waitlists long? Will it do me any good to sign up now?

It depends on the program you are applying for. You can apply for more than one waitlist at a time. Some waitlists are long and can range from a couple of months to a couple of years, but it is always a good idea to apply. Of course, if you have found something better, you can always decline the assistance when your name comes up.

Housing Programs

Public Housing

You pay 30% of your household income for rent. The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) enforces quality standards and provides financial assistance.

Project-Based Section 8

You pay 30% of your household income for housing. HUD enforces quality standards and pays the other portion of the rent directly to your landlord.

Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8)

You use this tenant-based voucher to find a place to rent from any private landlord. The assistance is tied to you, not the building. You pay 30 to 40% of your household income calculated for rent. The total rent for your unit cannot exceed the limit for the voucher payment.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Privately owned rental units that are offered at a lower rate than the surrounding housing market would set. The amount you pay is not tied to your income unless you also have a Housing Choice Voucher.

Emergency Rental Assistance

Available for Montanans who have lost household income as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Renters in private or government-assisted housing may qualify for Emergency Rental Assistance funds. The program may pay past due and future rent payments.

Learn more about renters' rights in our Housing section

Take Action


Legal Help

If you have problems with yoru housing assistance, it's a good idea to talk to a lawyer right away. 

  • Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) provides free civil, non-criminal legal help to eligible clients. Apply for free legal help by calling 1-800-666-6899 or applying online.
  • Tribal community members may have additional ways of accessing housing assistance through their tribe. If you are a tribal member living in a tribal community, contact MLSA to apply for free legal help on your specific situation at 1-800-666-6899 or by applying online.
  • Contact your nearest Self Help Law Center for free legal information and forms.

Housing Programs 

Non-Legal Resources

  • The Youth Homelessness Development Project (YHDP) is designed to support Montana service providers in the development and implementation of a coordinated community approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness. More information is avaliable at the YHDP website.
  • County resource guides provide an up-to-date listof avaliable help centers.

Find more resources using our interactive Legal Guide.
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