COVID-19 Resources for Renters

The information provided here is general in nature and is not intended to be legal or health advice. It is designed to help renters understand the impact of COVID-19, and some helpful resources.

COVID 19 Housing Assistance Program is Now OPEN

Governor Walz announced that up to $100 million of funding will be allocated from the state’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to create a new housing assistance program to help renters that have fallen behind on rent and/or utilities due to COVID-19.

The application is now OPEN

To see if you qualify for COVID-19 Housing Assistance, begin by filling out the pre-application:
  • Go to this website.
  • On the right side of the page, click "Apply" next to MN COVID Housing Assistance Program.
You can also access the application by texting “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211 or calling 800.543-7709. 

Who is eligible to apply for assistance?
Individuals and households must meet all of these criteria:
1. Minnesota resident.
2. Income at or below 300% of federal poverty guidelines, with a preference for those at or below 200%. To see if an income qualifies, click here.
3. 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 an December 30th, 2020.
4. Unable to make the payment(s) owed because of the public health emergency. For example: unemployment, illness, or another COVID-19 related issue.
5. What expenses are eligible? Rent payments. Utility payments. Additional housing related costs approved by Minnesota Housing.
6. How are payments made? Funds are paid directly to the landlord. For utlities, funds are paid directly to the utility company.

HEADS UP! We recommend that you connect with your landlord now to confirm exactly how much you are behind on rent. This will make filling out the application faster and easier.

Mediation Services

Are you struggling to effectively resolve challenging problems with your landlord? Check out the free services offered by Community Mediation Minnesota. Learn more

COVID-19 Housing Court Procedures

Learn how eviction cases are being handled during the pandemic. COVID-19 Housing Court Procedures

Emergency Assistance for Counties and Cities

Some Minnesota counties have emergency assistance funds to assist renters who have been financially harmed by COVID-19.

Counties

Carver County
Hennepin County
Olmsted County
Ramsey County
Scott County
St Louis County
Washington County

Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority
(including Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Wabasha, and Winona)

Is your county not listed here? They may still offer assistance. Contact them to find out.

Cities

Minneapolis (Coronavirus gap funding)
St Paul (Coronavirus bridge funds)

COVID-19 Rental Webinars

Tenant legal advocacy group Homeline has been producing a series of webinars about current legal issues that Minnesota renters are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recordings are available here.

Evictions

Due to COVID-19, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order that stops evictions, lease terminations, and Writs of Recovery during the peacetime emergency. The state of Minnesota is still under the peacetime emergency, so the eviction moratorium still applies. Learn More: FAQ Executive Order.

Unemployment Insurance

Were your work hours reduced or eliminated? Apply for unemployment insurance. Apply online in English, Hmong, Somali or Spanish.  Do you speak a language other than English, Hmong, Somali, or Spanish? If so, call 651-296-3644 to start the application process.

Food

  • Find food shelves and free meals near you: Hunger Solutions
  • Minneapolis Public Schools is providing meals for its students. Learn more
  • St. Paul Public Schools is providing meals for its students. Learn more
  • Do you need long-term food benefits (SNAP)? Apply here 

Utilities

Xcel Energy will waive late fees and stop service disconnections if they are because of a COVID-19 hardship. Call 1-800-895-4999 for more information.
CenterPoint Energy will waive late fees and stop service disconnections if they are because of a COVID-19 hardship. Call 1-800-245-2377 for more information.

Internet

  • USI and Comcast are expanding access to the internet in the City of Minneapolis. Learn more
  • Low cost computer and internet resources. Learn more

Communication with your Landlord

If you are struggling to pay rent, or will have this problem soon, here are some tips for communicating with your landlord.


Talk
to your landlord right away when the problem occurs.
Be honest with them about your current income situation. How has the spread of COVID-19 impacted your work?
Consider discussing the resources/assistance types that you’ve sought thus far.
Explain how vulnerable your family will be. How many members of the family will be impacted by the loss of housing?
Find out what other people in similar positions are doing with this landlord or with others. Discuss the Minnesota Multi Housing Association's 'shelter in place' guidelines.
Ask about payment arrangements.

Your landlord is likely experiencing a high degree of stress and concern over the current circumstances as well. Strive to ensure that your communication with them is as clear and calm as possible. Document your conversations.