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.

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

Learn more about Public Housing on Housing Benefits 101.

Eligibility

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 Fund

Overview

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 Fund can help them pay for housing costs while they are hospitalized for mental illness. Crisis Housing Fund can help a person pay for housing while they are hospitalized for mental illness. The Crisis Housing Fund 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.

Once an application is turned in, the Minnesota Housing Partnership will send payment within five working days of getting the completed application. The payment will be sent to the agency that applies for the funds on behalf of the patient. The applicant agency is responsible for using the funds to pay the expenses.

A person is eligible for Crisis Housing Fund Assistance 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;
  5. Has no other way to pay for housing; and
  6. Needs help in keeping current housing.

What is Covered

Crisis Housing funds cover housing expenses that a person was previously paying, but is no longer able to pay, because their income is being used to pay for treatment. The funds must be used to help the person keep community-based housing. Program funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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

How to Apply

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

To apply for the funds, a Payment Request Form must be turned in to the Minnesota Housing Partnership. However, the Payment Request Form can only be completed by the “Applicant Agency’s adult mental health targeted case manager”, not by the client.

Eligible Applicant Agencies include nonprofits, governmental agencies, and Indian tribes.

If you meet the eligibility rules described above, you should ask your case manager about completing a Crisis Housing Fund application. If you are applying from a community hospital, and you do not already have a county case manager, the hospital must contact the county to request case management services for you.

Crisis Housing funds can be only requested by mail. Download the Payment Request Form, have your case manager complete all the requested information, and send it (in an agency envelope) to the Minnesota Housing Partnership, attention: Crisis Housing Fund.

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 $852 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 2019, 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 human services agency.

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.

The allowance is equal to the federal SNAP maximum allowance for a single person. 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;
  4. Apply for rental assistance; AND
    • Be relocating from an institution OR
    • Be eligible for self-directed MA PCA services, OR
    • Be a waiver recipient living in their own place

In order to get MSA Housing Assistance, you must also apply for, or have applied for, subsidized housing. If you don't apply for subsidized housing, you will not be eligible for MSA Housing Assistance. You can complete the Verification of Application for Housing Assistance form if your local public housing authority is not accepting new applications.

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 Fund

The Crisis Housing Fund 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 Crisis Housing funds. 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 Crisis Housing Fund, Section 8 and other programs on Housing Benefits 101.