We are excited to share that Minnesota Housing has launched the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance application, available online at RentHelpMN.org. This program will help Minnesotans pay their rent and utility bills, providing necessary housing assistance to keep our community members safely and stably housed throughout and following the pandemic.
Below are some key pieces of the rental assistance program eligibility. This program is open to all Minnesota households at 80 percent of area median income or below who have been impacted by COVID-19. More information about income limits and eligibility is available here: https://www.renthelpmn.org/learn-more. If you have additional questions or need help with your application, about 30 local community-based organizations are working with MN Housing to assist people with their applications, including some of MinnCAP's Community Action Agencies. 211 United Way can help connect you with the field navigator in your area.
Key eligibility elements:
- The rental and utility assistance is currently open to renters who back-owe payments since March 13, 2020. Applicants can apply for back-owed rent and three months forward rent in the same application if they believe they will still need rental assistance in the coming months. If renters need additional assistance beyond that in the future, they will need to reapply.
- Back-owed utilities ARE an eligible expense through the rental assistance program. These utilities include electric, natural gas, delivered fuels, trash/ recycling, water and sewage. Internet and phone bills do not count as eligible expenses. Utility assistance is NOT available for future utility bills, unlike rent.
- Eligible housing payments include rent in either single-family homes or apartment buildings, rented manufactured homes and/or manufactured home park lot rentals, and hotel and motel payments for people whose primary residence is a hotel or motel.
- Assistance through RentHelpMN is for a maximum of 15 months in total. The assistance does not need to be in consecutive months and can be a mix of back and forward paying rental assistance.
- Assistance for homeowners is not available through this program. Additional money will be coming to the state for homeowner mortgage and utility payment assistance in the near future, so stay tuned.
We know renters with low incomes in particular have struggled to pay their rent and utility payments throughout the pandemic. This program alone will not solve our housing crisis here in Minnesota, but it is a critical step in the right direction.