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COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program

The COVID-19 Housing Assistance program is now accepting applications.
 
Please review the following information to see if you are eligible to apply and to learn more about how the program works.

What is the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program?

The COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program provides housing assistance payments to help prevent eviction, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners. Local administrators will review applications from individuals and families requesting assistance, verify eligibility, and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households.

Am I eligible to apply?

To qualify for housing assistance, households must meet all of the criteria listed below:
  • Be a Minnesota resident.
  • Be a renter or homeowner with an income at or below 300% of federal poverty guidelines, with a preference for those at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. To see if your income qualifies, please see the FY 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • Have an eligible expense that was incurred after March 1, 2020 that is past due. Housing assistance funds can only be used for eligible expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.
  • Be unable to make the payment(s) owed because of the public health emergency due to unemployment, illness, or another COVID-19 related issue.
If you currently receive rental assistance that adjusts with income (i.e. Housing Choice voucher, project-based assistance, or another form of state or federal rental assistance), you are generally not eligible to apply for rental assistance in the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program. You may still apply for assistance with eligible utility expenses.

Households with a federally backed mortgage covered under the CARES Act may not be eligible for assistance. If you have a federally backed mortgage covered under the CARES Act (includes loans from such agencies as the Federal Housing Administration, Veteran’s Administration, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac), you will be required to contact your mortgage servicer to obtain a special forbearance, a loan modification, and/or set up a repayment plan. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.

What expenses may be eligible for assistance?

If needed to maintain housing security, avoid displacement, and are past their due date, eligible expenses may include:

  • Rent payments
  • Mortgage payments (including escrowed property taxes and insurance in the case of foreclosure prevention)
  • Contract for deed payments
  • Manufactured home park lot rents
  • Manufactured home payments
  • Utility payments
  • Homeowners Association fees
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Additional housing related costs approved by Minnesota Housing 

I think I'm eligible for this program. What is the application process?

There are three main steps in the application process:
  1. Determine initial eligibility
  2. Complete the online Common Household Application Form (application form)
  3. Work with a Local Administrator

Step 1: Determine Initial Eligibility

There are three ways to determine your eligibility:
  • Call 211 (Toll Free: 1.800.543.7709; Local: 651.291.0211)
  • Visit 211unitedway.org
  • Text "MNRENT" or "MNHOME" to 898-211
Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline has dedicated multilingual staff available to answer questions about the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.
 
Whether you call, text or go online, you will be asked a set of initial eligibility questions. If you meet the initial eligibility criteria, you will be referred to the online application form and can select a local administrator from your geographic region to help you through the application process. There may be more than one administrator in your region, and you are free to choose any administrator that serves your region.
 
If you are not eligible for this housing assistance, you will be informed of that immediately and will be connected with other resources, if available.
 
Minnesota Housing cannot accept or process requests for housing assistance. Please follow the above instructions to determine eligibility and be connected with a local administrator.

Step 2: Complete the Online Common Household Application Form

If you meet the threshold for the initial eligibility you will create an account online and complete the full application form, including:
  • Select the type of housing assistance requested,
  • Upload income documentation, and
  • Provide evidence of past due housing expenses.
If you do not have computer access or need any other help, you can request assistance to help create your account and complete the full application.
 
Please note that determining final eligibility and the ability to issue any housing assistance payments is based on the information collected in the application form. Completing the application does not guarantee housing assistance payments.

Step 3: Work with a Local Administrator

You will submit your completed application form to the local administrator you choose. That local administrator will contact you to further discuss your application, collect and review the required documentation and, if approved, issue the housing assistance payments.  

Is there a minimum or maximum amount I can apply for?

At this time, there is not a minimum or maximum dollar amount that you can request. However, the amount of housing assistance approved must be for an eligible expense and be supported with the appropriate documentation. All requests for housing assistance are subject to availability of program funds.

How long does the application process take to complete?

The length of time to process your application will vary, and includes factors such as whether you need help with documentation, the completeness of the documentation, and the number of applications under consideration by the local administrator. Local administrators will process applications as quickly as possible. We anticipate high demand for this housing assistance, and we appreciate your patience during the processing period. Administrators will update the status of your application and you will be able to log into your account to track your application’s status.
 
You may complete much of the application process online and the local administrator will be able to help you do this. If you do not have a computer or internet access, please tell 211 or your local administrator and they will help with paper application materials.

What happens if I am determined to be not eligible or denied?

You will be informed why you are not eligible and directed to other resources, if available.

I was denied COVID-19 housing assistance. Is there an appeals process?

Yes. Please see the appeals policy for more information.

Can I apply for assistance more than once?

At this time, there is not a limit on the number of times you may apply. However, each application must start from the beginning, including providing the necessary income documentation.
 
Please note that you can request assistance for more than one eligible housing-related expense in a single application.

What documentation will I need to provide in order for my application to be approved?

You will be asked to provide the following documentation (or pictures of them):
  • Personal identification number from one of the following:
    • Driver’s license/State ID
    • Passport Number (does not have to be limited to US passports)
    • Social Security Number
    • Tribal Identification Number
    • Alien Registration Number
    • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Other: Please identify what form of identification you are providing
    • If you do not have an ID, you will check the box "I do not have an ID."
  • Verification of balance owed (utility bill, past due rent/mortgage bill, etc.)
  • Contact information for the organization to be paid (landlord, mortgage company, utility company, etc.)
  • Proof of your total gross income from the prior four weeks
You will be able to scan or take a photo to upload the required documentation into the online application form. If you prefer to provide paper copies, please work with your local administrator. If you are not able to provide the required forms of documentation, you may be able to discuss alternatives with your selected local administrator. Personal identification documents do not need to be submitted.

Can a landlord apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant that owes past rent?

No. Tenants need to directly apply for their past due rent. If the housing assistance application is approved, payments will be made directly to the landlord.

Do I have to participate in any mandatory programs to receive this assistance?

There are no mandatory programs that you must participate in in order to receive this assistance.

Do I have go through Coordinated Entry, the statewide system for homelessness prevention and assistance resources, to apply for this housing assistance?

You do not need to go through Coordinated Entry to apply for this funding.

If I apply for and receive this housing assistance, will it affect my Coordinated Entry status?

Applying for this housing assistance will not impact your Coordinated Entry status.

I don't qualify for this program but I still need help paying my rent or mortgage. Where can I look for help?

Who should I contact if I have general questions about the program but not about my own personal eligibility?

Call 211 (Toll Free: 1.800.543.7709; Local: 651.291.0211).

How can I get updates about the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program?

Updates will be posted on this webpage as they are available. You can also sign up for our eNews list  (use Google Chrome or Firebox to access the sign-up link) to receive news and updates.