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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Minnesota paid out more than $100 million in rent aid in October

Minnesota’s Housing Finance Commissioner Jennifer Ho announced Wednesday that Minnesota renters who need help making housing payments are now receiving it much faster than before.

RentHelpMN, the state’s rental assistance program, paid landlords $101.6 million in October, Ho said. This is more than the payments made in the last five months combined.

“I expect this momentum to continue,” she said.

So far, the state housing agency has made over $200 million in 41,470 payments. It has received 56,506 applications for payment from tenants and landlords, requesting assistance of $359 million.

Most of the payments are providing assistance to very low-income renters, Ho said. Two-thirds of the recipients are people of color.

The state and Minnesota’s largest cities and counties are set to receive $10 million in federal rental subsidy funding under legislation passed over the past two years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the early months of the program last spring, many landlords and tenants complained of months of delays in receiving payments. At the time, Ho said, his agency was receiving more applications for aid than it could process.

Since then, the agency has been able to expedite payments after adding employees and receiving additional federal funding for processing applications, the commissioner said.

The program, which can pay up to 18 months of unpaid rent, continues to accept applications for assistance, and Ho urged Minnesotans who have fallen behind on their rent or utility bills to request emergency assistance. .

Landlords are barred from eviction tenants who have applied but not yet received rental assistance. This eviction moratorium remains in effect until June 1.

Those who have rent dues can apply for assistance online at RentHelpMN.org or by calling the 211 helpline (651-291-0211). The helpline has received about 7,000 calls per week, Ho said, and the service has added new employees to reduce call times.

In addition, it said, its employees have helped 246 tenants who have received eviction notices, certifying that those people had applied for assistance or referred them to legal aid.

He also said that the State Public Utilities Commission is preventing utilities from disconnecting tenants who have pending applications for assistance.

World Nation News Desk
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