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Governor authorizes rent help; BOR restricting camping


Last updated 4/14/2020 at 11:48am

Havre Daily News staff

More restrictions and assistance have been announced in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, with U.S. Bureau of Reclamation restricting overnight camping and Gov. Steve Bullock announcing authorization of assistance for people having trouble paying rent.

Bullock announced Monday issued a directive to provide emergency rental assistance to help families with limited financial resources make ends meet during the unprecedented economic situation caused by COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is taking a significant economic toll on families, businesses and our entire state, and finding ways to mitigate those hardships is one of my top priorities,” Bullock said in a press release. “For families that can’t make their housing payment right now because they’ve lost income due to COVID-19, this directive will help prevent a months-long rent backlog from coming due all at once.”

Bullock had issued a directive suspending certain evictions, foreclosures and service disconnections caused by people dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and business and job restrictions. His new order program to provide rental assistance to households experiencing substantial financial households experiencing substantial financial hardship due to COVID-19. The Department of Commerce will announce details on eligibility and the application process on or before April 17.

The program will also include relief funds specifically for households with children eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, the press release said. The state is exploring additional funding options for families who are not TANF-eligible, including federal CARES Act relief money.

Bureau of Reclamation announced it is temporarily restricting overnight camping and group use areas at Reclamation-managed recreation areas east of the continental divide in Montana. Boat launching ramps and day use will remain open where possible, however courtesy boat docks are not in place at this time.

That includes restrictions at Tiber, Fresno and Nelson reservoirs.

At those reservoirs, day-use areas open but no overnight camping.

Group use sites are closed and bathroom facilities at all locations are closed due to public, contractor, and employee safety concerns.

People already occupying camping spots will be allowed up to 72 hours to vacate overnight camping sites. The closings are all tentative and may be re-evaluated depending on developments related to COVID-19.


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