Housing FAQs

English is not my first language. Do you provide translation services?

Yes, upon request. There are also many HUD forms available in different languages.

How do I apply for the housing programs?

Applications can be picked up from our office during normal business hours. There is no application fee. You can also download or print an application here.

Is there an application fee?

No. HUD policy does not allow fees for housing assistance programs.

What is subsidized housing?

Subsidized housing refers to housing units that are funded entirely or partially by the government.

What is the difference between Public Housing and Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers?

Public Housing units are owned and managed by Great Falls Housing Authority (GFHA). The Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program is administered by GFHA and enables families to locate a residence with the landlord they choose as long as the landlord is not a relative. This landlord must be willing to participate in the Section 8 Property Owner Program. Specific information about Housing Choice Vouchers is available here.

I owe a balance to GFHA or another low-income housing development. Am I still eligible for housing?

If you owe a balance to any property receiving HUD Rental Assistance, no matter the location, your application cannot be processed until the balance is paid in full. If you would like to set up a repayment agreement or have questions about your balance, please contact our office.

What are the income eligibility requirements for admission?

Eligibility for housing programs is generally based on income and the size of the family.

What if I don't have a job or income? Do I qualify if I'm a single parent? Do I have to have children to apply? What if I'm a college student?

Anyone over the age of 18 or legally emancipated can apply for housing assistance. Your final eligibility will be determined once your application is received and processed.

What is Total Income?

A family's income before any taxes or other exclusions or deductions have been taken out of it.

What is Annual Income?

Total Income - Income Exclusions = Annual Income.

What is Adjusted Income?

Annual Income - Allowable Income Deductions = Adjusted Income

Why is determining income and family payment correctly so important?

HUD studies show that many resident families pay the incorrect amount of rent. The main causes of this are: under-reporting of income by resident families and exclusions and deductions incorrectly calculated.

What would be the amount of the rent?

Tenants would pay rent equal to 30% of household income. There are some exceptions.

Are utilities included?

If you are housed in a public housing unit, the utilities are provided by GFHA. If you exceed the utility allowance for your unit size, you will be responsible for payment of the overage. Excess utility bills are paid to GFHA on a monthly basis. Utility allowance charts are distributed and discussed during the leasing interview.

What are my applicant/resident responsibilities for providing information?

Provide accurate information on family composition. Report all income at admission and annually. Keep copies of necessary paperwork which documents income and expenses. Report changes in family composition and income between annual recertifications. Sign consent for income verification and criminal history checks. Comply with lease and Housing rules.

Will I have to pay a security deposit?

GFHA’s Public Housing and Affordable Housing programs have security deposit requirements. One-bedroom unit deposits are $200; two-bedroom unit deposits are $300: three-bedroom unit deposits are $400: and four-bedroom unit deposits are $500. Security deposits within the Section 8/HCV program are established by the participating landlord and will vary.

Will I have to sign a lease?

Yes, residents will be held responsible for all terms of the lease in accordance with Montana Landlord Tenant Law. Housekeeping standards are included in the lease and are enforced.

Will my rent go up, or down, if my income changes?

In the Public Housing program, the amount you contribute toward housing costs may fluctuate with changes to household income, size, or circumstances.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

Residents who fail to pay rent are sent a 30-Day Notice to pay their overdue balance. If the balance isn’t paid by the date listed on the notice, the resident must vacate their residence.

Is there a fee for not paying my rent on time?

Yes, all rent not received in full by the 5th day of the month will be assessed a late charge of $20.00.

Are pets allowed?

GFHA allows common household pets. Some restrictions apply. GFHA allows persons with disabilities the use of an assistance animal, wherein the pet deposit does not apply. Reasonable accommodation requests are required for assistance animal approval.

What about requests for accommodations?

Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation in order to utilize housing services. GFHA will make all reasonable efforts to be flexible in assisting persons with disabilities to include home visits if your disability prevents you from coming to GFHA offices and/or TTY devices and/or the use of an advocate or interpreter. If the family includes a disabled person, the family may request a current listing of accessible units that may be available.

Does the Great Falls Housing Authority perform criminal background checks?

Yes. A local background check is performed for all household members over the age of 18. If necessary, a more extensive, nationwide check is done. There is no cost to the applicant.

What criminal actions are automatic denials to admission?

According to Federal Regulations there are two felonies that automatically disqualify you from federally-funded low income and subsidized housing programs:


  1. Lifetime registration on the sex offender registry
  2. Conviction of the manufacture or production of methamphetamine (meth) in federally-assisted housing.


Note, these two rules apply to any household member listed on your application, not just the head of household applicant. If you have arrests and/or convictions other than those listed above, you may still be eligible for federally-funded housing programs.

What if I feel my Fair Housing rights have been violated?

If you think you are being discriminated against in housing, please contact our office’s Fair Housing Specialist at 406-453-4311 x319. The following state and federal resources are available to you as well:


Montana Fair Housing

501 East Front Street, Suite 504

Butte, MT 59701

(406) 782-2573

(800) 929-2611

Montana Relay Service: 711


Montana Human Rights Bureau




HUD Region VIII - Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming

Denver Regional Office of FHEO

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

1670 Broadway

Denver, Colorado 80202

(303) 672-5437

(800) 877-7353

TTY (303) 672-5248

Does GFHA offer emergency housing? Where can I go for emergency assistance?

Unfortunately, we do not provide emergency housing or emergency assistance. There are a number of agencies in the community who provide emergency assistance:



Great Falls Rescue Mission: (406) 452-1483

Opportunities, Inc.: (406) 761-0310

Salvation Army: (406) 453-0391

St. Vincent De Paul: (406) 761-0966

City-County Health Department: (406) 454-6950



Please visit the Community Resources page for a more extensive list of local service organizations.