Low-income residents may apply for housing assistance, regardless of immigration status.

Sahan Journal brings you reliable and authentic news about our newest Minnesotans. To receive a weekly email with a roundup of our stories, sign up for our newsletter.

Read this article in Hmong, Spanish or Somali.

Beginning today, April 22, the city of Minneapolis is accepting applications for its emergency rental program intended to assist low-income residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following pressure from several advocacy groups, the city announced a $5 million Gap Funding plan earlier this month. The funding, which the city says targets those who aren’t eligible for state or federal aid, allocates about $3 million to assist residents with housing costs and $2 million in loans for small businesses. 

Immigration or documentation status are not factors in an applicant’s eligibility for assistance.

The city began taking applications for housing assistance at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and will continue through noon on April 27. Each completed application will be assigned a random number and then considered in that order, said Asad Aliweyd, founder and executive director of the Minneapolis-based New American Development Center.

The Center, along with Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, CAPI USA, NorthPoint Health and Wellness, the YMCA, and Catholic Charities are partnering with the city to help people apply and process applications, Aliweyd said.

“We need our community to apply and get benefits, because the majority are eligible,” he said, adding that he’s received hundreds of calls from interested tenants since outreach for the program began. 

Am I eligible? 

Any Minneapolis resident who makes 30 percent or less of the area income, and has lost some of that income due to COVID-19, may be eligible for the Emergency Housing Assistance program. The city’s website lays out specific income thresholds based on household size. 

Residents who make 50 percent or less of the area median income with a child enrolled in a Minneapolis Public Schools elementary school can also apply for help through the Stable Homes Stable Schools program. The city is expanding the program by $1 million to help families struggling with housing costs because of the pandemic.

Income limits for the “Emergency Housing Assistance Program” is based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income requirements for low-income families. It’s calculated as 30 percent or less of the area median income.

Household sizeIncome limit

How much money could I get? 

Applicants can receive up to $1,500, which the city will pay directly to landlords or utility companies. In “extraordinary circumstances,” applicants may draw up to $2,000, according to the city’s website.

How do I apply? 

Beginning today at 9 a.m., through noon on April 27, you can apply online via the city’s website. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and Oromo.

If applying online is not possible, applicants can call the Tenant Resource Center at 612-302-3129 and leave a voicemail with their name and address. Someone from one of the community partner groups will return the call to complete the application over the phone within three days. 

What information will I need?

Applicants will need to have at their fingertips:

  • Their annual household income (before taxes) for May 2019 to April 2020
  • Their current monthly household income (before taxes)
  • The amount of income they’ve lost because of COVID-19 
  • The amount of money needed to pay for housing costs
  • If applying for the Stable Homes Stable Schools program, applicants will need to provide the number of children enrolled in a Minneapolis elementary school and the name of the school.