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Gov. Steve Bullock is launching nine grant programs that will provide $123 million in federal funding to Montana’s small businesses, nonprofits, health centers and residents who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bullock, who announced the new programs on Tuesday, said he developed them based on guidance from state agencies, input from the public and recommendations from his Coronavirus Relief Fund Advisory Council. The council spent the last two weeks developing a plan for spending the $1.25 billion Montana received as part of the $2.2 trillion federal aid package.

“While I am pleased to see many Montanans adapting, I know a significant portion of our workers, businesses and economic sectors have been financially impacted by this emergency and need assistance now,” he said.

Grant applications will be available beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday on Grant money is expected to reach Montanans by the end of May.

“One of the biggest priorities with this program is to get the dollars out as quickly as we can to support businesses and not make it more complex than it needs to be,” said Tara Rice, the director of the Department of Commerce, which will oversee the new grants. “… I know as federal programs have rolled out that has been a tension and that has been a big priority with this program.”

When reviewing applications, the state will prioritize those who couldn’t access assistance from other relief programs, Rice said.

The new grant programs are:

n The Montana Business Stabilization Grant, which will provide up to $10,000 to Montana-owned businesses with 50 or fewer employees that have lost revenue due to COVID-19. The program has $50 million.

n The Montana Innovation Grant, which can be used to help companies expand and improve the distribution of products and services they developed in response to the pandemic. Nonprofit and for-profit businesses that have fewer than 150 employees and are based primarily in Montana can request a maximum of $25,000. The program has $5 million.

n The Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program, which provides up to $10,000 to farmers and ranchers to adapt to the changes that have come with COVID-19. Eligible projects include efforts to secure new markets and decrease food and agricultural waste. The program has $500,000.

n The Emergency Housing Assistance Program, which gives rent, security deposit, mortgage payment and hazard insurance assistance to Montanans who have lost substantial income. Grants could include up to three months of assistance and are based on household income. The program has $50 million.

n Public Health Grants, which are for urban tribal clinics and local and tribal health departments to respond to COVID-19. The governor didn’t specify how much each group could apply for. The program has $5 million.

n The Stay Connected Grants, which provide $500-$2,000 to long-term care facilities and other organizations to assist seniors with purchasing technology that lets them speak with their families while they remain in isolation. The program has $400,000.

n Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance, which gives up to $50,000 to organizations like food banks to expand their services. The program has $2 million.

n Social Services Nonprofit Grants, which offer nonprofits a maximum of $10,000 to continue their programs and services despite the economic challenges they face. The program has $10 million.

n Telework Assistance Grants, which provide up to $1,000 to Montanans with disabilities to purchase equipment so they can work from home. Nonprofits that receive the money will likely work with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to obtain the equipment. The program has $650,000.

The governor might allocate additional federal money to the new grant programs depending on how popular they are.

He also plans to announce additional uses for the federal money but has not set a time for when he will do so.

The U.S. Treasury Department has said Montana must spend the $1.25 billion it received by Dec. 30 and must use it for coronavirus-related public health initiatives or economic programs. The money can’t be used to compensate for lost state or local tax revenue stemming from the pandemic.

Congress is now discussing another federal relief package, which may include assistance for state and local governments.

As of Tuesday, Montana had 456 COVID-19 cases — one fewer than the day before because a previous case was reassigned to another state. Of those, 410 residents had recovered from the disease, 16 had died and six were hospitalized.

Gallatin County had no active cases on Tuesday. There have been 145 recoveries and one death.

“As Montana continues what is now a month-long decline in cases, I will reiterate that this is still not the time to let our guard down,” Bullock said. “…With our careful actions, we can continue to move forward in containing the virus rather than having to concern ourselves with having to take steps backward.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.