Other Housing Programs

Public Housing

Public housing is rental housing for people with low incomes that is owned and managed by a local government agency. Public housing comes in many sizes and types, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings.

Public housing is very affordable. Usually, you will only have to pay 30% of your household income. Learn more about how your income and your earnings affect your rent.

Some units are reserved only for those who are elderly or disabled.

Learn more about Public Housing on Housing Benefits 101.


Eligibility requirements for public housing are usually the same as for the Section 8 voucher program.

Almost all people with disabilities who are getting SSI benefits have a low enough income to qualify for public housing. Public housing is for low-income families and single people. Almost all people with disabilities who are getting SSI benefits have a low enough income to qualify for public housing.

To qualify, it is also necessary to be a citizen of the U.S. or a noncitizen who is a permanent resident, a temporary resident alien, or who has refugee, asylee or other eligible immigration status.

If you are eligible, the housing authority will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. As part of the application process, the housing authority will probably check your credit and your history as a tenant.

They will also check to see if you have any criminal history. Just like with Section 8 housing, if you have had problems with a housing authority in the past, or you owe money for rent or damages to a housing authority, you will probably not be allowed to live in public housing.

How to Apply

Applying for public housing is a lot like applying for Section 8 housing. Public housing is operated by local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), and Housing Redevelopment Authorities (HRAs).

You apply to the local housing authority to get on their waiting list. Just like the waiting lists for Section 8 vouchers, waiting lists for public housing may be very long. Also, there might only be a few of the type or size of housing that you would like. It is a good idea to apply to several waiting lists in order to improve your chances of getting housing.

HousingLink Resources

HousingLink's Housing Authority Waiting List Report contains the most current information on the status of Section 8 Voucher and Public Housing waiting lists in the Twin Cities seven-county metro area. This report is updated whenever a change in waiting list status occurs. This report will also tell you which housing authorities have open waiting lists.

HousingLink also has a list of rental housing that is currently available and affordable.

Crisis Housing Assistance Program


If a person is living in Section 8 or public housing and is hospitalized for a mental illness or substance abuse treatment, the housing authority should be informed immediately so that they can recalculate the income of that person. If someone is hospitalized and can’t work, their income-based contribution to their housing should be significantly lowered. This can keep them from losing their housing.

However, if someone does not live in a publicly funded housing unit, the Crisis Housing Assistance Program can help them pay for housing costs while they are hospitalized for mental illness. The Crisis Housing Assistance Program can help a person pay for housing while they are hospitalized for mental illness. The Crisis Housing Assistance Program gives short-term housing assistance to persons with a mental illness whose income is being used to pay an inpatient psychiatric treatment of 90 days or less.

The program can be used by people who rent, own, have payments for mobile home lots, or who are paying in any way for their own permanent and community-based housing.

A person is eligible for the Crisis Housing Assistance Program if s/he:
  1. Is not on a federal subsidy program;
  2. Has a serious mental illness;
  3. Has a low or moderate income, by federal standards;
  4. Is expected to be hospitalized for less than 90 days, and the treatment is:
    • Inpatient or residential mental health care
    • Inpatient or residential substance use care (with a severe mental illness), or

    • Partial hospitalization (PHP);

  5. Has no other way to pay for housing; and
  6. Needs help in keeping current housing.

What is Covered

The Crisis Housing Assistance Programs covers housing expenses that you were previously paying, but are no longer able to pay, because your income is being used to pay for treatment. The funds must be used to help you keep community-based housing. The payments are sent directly to person or agency that you owe them to, like your landlord, mortgage company, or utility company.

Expenses can include payments towards:
  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Utilities (this includes heating fuel, electricity, water, sewer, garbage, and basic traditional telephone services)

How to Apply

In order to apply for the Crisis Housing Assistance Program, you must have already exhausted all other ways of paying for your housing expenses.

You can apply online, or by using a paper form and emailing or faxing it in. Your hospital or treatment facility can help you apply. You will need to include:

  • Proof of your income, like screenshots of your bank information and direct deposit payments from your employer, unemployment, SSI, or other income

  • A list of how much and who needs to be paid, like your landlord, utility company, or phone company (with their complete address and account information)

  • A letter from a medical provider or paperwork showing your diagnosis of a serious mental illness .

If you need help, call 952-915-3698 and they will call you back within 48 hours. Learn more about the Crisis Housing Assistance Program and how to apply.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) Payments

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) is a state program that gives a monthly cash payment to people who are aged, blind, or disabled, and who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Some people who don't get SSI may still be eligible for MSA if their income is low enough and they meet other program requirements.

For example, if you get SSDI that is less than $1,024 a month and your assets are below $10,000, then you probably qualify for MSA.

MSA payments can help you pay for room and board. People getting MA-Waiver or Personal Care Assistant (PCA) services may be eligible for an additional MSA cash supplement to their SSI, to live independently in the community in non-licensed or registered rental housing.

The MSA benefit you get depends on your living arrangements, the amount you receive in SSI or SSDI (if you get an SSI or SSDI benefit), and whether or not you have any special needs expenses. In 2024, the monthly MSA benefit for most people is $81 ($111 for couples).

To learn more about the benefits and eligibility requirements of the MSA program, read DB101's MSA section.

To apply for MSA, visit or call your county or tribal human services office.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) Housing Assistance

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) Housing Assistance can give additional funds to help you stay in your home or make the transition from an institution or mental health program to housing in the community.

MSA Housing Assistance offers $457 per month. Every year, this amount is adjusted on July 1st, to be half of Supplemental Security Income's Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).

If you are eligible, the funds will be added to your MSA payment.

To qualify for this program, you must be:
  1. Eligible for MSA;
  2. Under age 65;
  3. Have monthly shelter costs more than 40% of gross monthly income; AND
    • Be relocating from an institution or Housing Support (formerly GRH) setting into your own place in the community OR
    • Be eligible for self-directed MA PCA services, OR
    • Be a waiver recipient living in their own place.

MSA Housing Assistance can be used to pay the initial costs of moving into community housing such as a rental deposit and utility and phone set-up costs.

Learn more about MSA Housing Assistance on Housing Benefits 101 and watch the below video.


Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

If you or a member of your household is living with HIV/AIDS, you may be able to get help with housing costs through the HOPWA program.

Local housing authorities give rental help to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, through the HOPWA program. The State of Minnesota also has HOPWA funds available to give short-term rent, mortgage, and utility payment help.

Learn more about Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) on Housing Benefits 101.

To get housing help through a local or state HOPWA program:
  1. At least one person in your household must have AIDS or a related disease (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or HIV infection).
  2. Your household must have low or moderate income.

To Apply

To get HOPWA rental help you should ask your HIV case manager for a referral.

Learn more about HOPWA.

Emergency Rent Help

Crisis Housing Assistance Program

The Crisis Housing Assistance Program can help you pay for housing costs, if you are hospitalized for mental illness or substance abuse treatment, and you are living in your own home or a rental unit that is not part of a government assistance program.

Your hospital or treatment facility can help you apply for the Crisis Housing Assistance Program. See the full program description here.

Section 8 and Public Housing Tenants

If you are living in Section 8 or public housing and you are having trouble paying your rent, contact your local Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) or Public Housing Authority (PHA) for rental assistance.

Learn more about the Crisis Housing Assistance Program, Section 8, and other programs on Housing Benefits 101.

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