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Old 12-21-2022, 05:34 PM
 
401 posts, read 312,924 times
Reputation: 153

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I am very confused and overwhelmed by the information out there about rental assistance in MN. I have found dozens of websites but they all seem to say different things, or have different applications to fill out. I'm also not seeing the answers to my questions. It's just overwhelming and I thought if I could ask my specific questions, it would clarify things a lot.

1. Can you apply for rental assistance in a city or county that you don't currently live in but you want to move to?

2. Do you apply through the city, the county or the apartment you want to live? (I've seen all three, but surely one has to be the best route, right?)

3. What is the minimum income you need to qualify? (I only see maximum listed.)

4. Is it permanent? I have seen some things that appear to say it only lasts for a few months.

5. I am 50 years old and have Autism Spectrum Disorder (which is considered a legal disability), would this affect my ability to get approved, positively or negatively?

6. How long are the waiting lists, generally?

I have realized that my entire life I could have qualified for rental assistance, since my yearly income has always been about half of what the maximum allowed is. But instead I struggled, not knowing this, living in horrible conditions or being homeless having to sleep on my mom's couch. Since I can't find the information I'm looking for, I'm left to piece things together and to me, it sounds too good to be true. Could I really have been living in a nice modern apartment my entire life, only paying $300-$400 in rent!? It seems like there's something I'm missing here. Why do people struggle to pay rent when they could just go on rental assistance? Is there something else required that I am not seeing mentiond anywhere?
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Old 12-22-2022, 01:43 PM
 
Location: on the wind
22,807 posts, read 18,088,169 times
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Have you been searching for information at the local or city level? Do you even know what area you want to find benefits for or are you just trying to find the one that pays the highest percentage? This may be part of your problem. There are probably variations in the qualifications for local programs. FWIW, it took about 3 seconds to find this STATE level program that provides rental assistance for disabled, low income adults under 62. There is information about eligibility and types of benefits right on the website. You need to start talking to someone somewhere, why not there? They should be able to answer your questions, help you figure out what will work best for you and help you apply.

https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/a...sa-housing.jsp

As for why more people don't apply for benefits, not everyone wants to be dependent on the government for their living, they may not like the options available, apartments may not be conveniently located, or there are aspects of their situation other than income that prevent them from qualifying, such as having family that can house them instead. Or, a documented history of being unwilling to work instead of being unable to work. I wouldn't expect subsidized housing to be state of the art BTW. It's going to be pretty basic. As for a minimum income level why would there need to be one? It makes sense that a person couldn't qualify if their income is higher than some particular level, but not if their income is too low.

Last edited by Parnassia; 12-22-2022 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 12-22-2022, 02:04 PM
 
401 posts, read 312,924 times
Reputation: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
Have you been searching for information at the local or city level?
Isn't local and city the same thing? I have been looking at city and state of MN levels because I don't know which one is right (or better).

Quote:
Do you even know what area you are trying to find benefits for? Not knowing may be part of your problem.
Yes, I am open to staying in my city or moving to a few other cities in different counties.

Quote:
It took about 3 seconds to find a STATE program that provides rental assistance for disabled, low income adults under 62. There is information about eligibility and types of benefits right on the website. They should be able to help you apply and answer your other questions. You need to start talking to someone somewhere, why not here?
I did see that website you sent me but it confused the hell out of me because it named other programs that I have to qualify for first and it just overwhelms me when things aren't simple. I will try emailing them but I wanted a layperson to explain it in simple terms. They will also probably need to call me and that's not an easy thing for me (I have a few issues with that). So any place I can get answers without having to talk on the phone would be best.

Quote:
I wouldn't expect state subsidized housing to be state of the art BTW.
I don't need state of the art, anything would be better than the trailer I'm living in now. It has multiple roof/ceiling leaks (already had mold removed once), the floor is warping, it doesn't retain heat for longer than 10 minutes in the winter, the water pipes and drains freeze for half the winter, it's barely liveable so anything would be an improvement.

Quote:
As for a minimum income level why would there need to be one?
Well it just seems too good to be true, if someone only makes $100/mo. let's say, they could still have a place to live only paying $30-$40/mo. At what point does 30-40% get so low they won't accept it?
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Old 12-22-2022, 02:14 PM
 
Location: on the wind
22,807 posts, read 18,088,169 times
Reputation: 73971
A "layperson" may not know the ins and outs of the program unless they happen to receive benefits already. Probably not too many of those on C-D. Get the information you need right from the horse's mouth. If the website confuses you, you need to call and ask them for help. Good luck!
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Old 12-24-2022, 09:09 AM
 
3,753 posts, read 5,266,776 times
Reputation: 6154
I second the advice of Parnassia. Call the numbers provided on the websites as they will know better than the C-D blather crowd (me included).

Since you don't say where you are currently living, or where you are looking, here is the pertinent website for Ramsey County where I live.

https://www.ramseycounty.us/resident...tal-assistance

If you have your own transportation, I suggest looking at an outlying suburb in Ramsey County as quality-of-life is better out where there are parks and lakes. If you depend upon public transport, then inner city is your only choice. Still, some parts of St. Paul have a decent urban life provided you avoid those pockets of crime for which many discussions can be found in past C-D threads.
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Old 09-13-2023, 02:51 AM
 
Location: Minnesota, USA
1,207 posts, read 2,414,971 times
Reputation: 1923
Post Hopefully This Info Helps Someone Reading...

I don't know if you have found what you need already - but here are my answers after each of your questions. Perhaps they will be of assistance to someone.

Sam's mom




Quote:
Originally Posted by GaiaGoddess View Post


1. Can you apply for rental assistance in a city or county that you don't currently live in but you want to move to?
  • Yes.
  • There are regional housing authorities that cover several areas (such as Metro HRA).
  • There are city housing authorities that are specific to that city (such as Saint Louis Park HRA).
  • There are also county HRA's - such as Dakota County HRA.
  • There is also Site based housing assistance. Some of which is site based Section 8 Housing - this you apply for to those specific locations and that housing stays with that location. If you move - you lose your assistance.
  • There is Section 42 Housing as well - I believe you find this in a lot more complexes that have higher end rent and extras - they provide this subsidy and because of this they get huge tax benefits from the government.
  • I believe Section 42's minimum income is $1 (though i could be mistaken) and Section 8 / which is actually called the Housing Choice Voucher Programme - has a minimum of $50 to start but I do not think that continues to be such - again, i could be mistaken.
  • The other caveat is for those who are elderly or either disabled according to the SSA or their state/county has independently determined them disabled - income guidelines may be different.
  • Lastly, there is also Public Housing in general - which is often high rise or low rise buildings and some individual family homes. People who are elderly or disabled may qualify sooner for that - but, again, you're then left with public housing vs independent choices on living amongst others within the community.


2. Do you apply through the city, the county or the apartment you want to live? (I've seen all three, but surely one has to be the best route, right?)
  • I think my answer to your first question should be sufficient to answer this - mostly.
  • The BEST route is subjective.
  • The truth is that whilst many locations have opened their waitlists recently - you'll still wait years and years in many of those locations.
  • Site based - at specific apartments can't hurt to apply for but that will restrict you to staying there and not being able to qualify for other subsidies (or it used to be that way).
  • If you are open to anywhere within your state - if you are able to do so or have someone to help - do some research on which Authorities have the most available vouchers and prioritise applying at those. Often, I would think, outside of the Metro and suburban areas are going to give you access quicker.


3. What is the minimum income you need to qualify? (I only see maximum listed.)

See my answer to your first question.

4. Is it permanent? I have seen some things that appear to say it only lasts for a few months.

See my responses to previous questions.

5. I am 50 years old and have Autism Spectrum Disorder (which is considered a legal disability), would this affect my ability to get approved, positively or negatively?

If you are declared by the state or SSA as legally disabled - whilst it may present barriers for you to access the help to begin with - it is a benefit to being prioritised for assistance.

As you age - the same thing will happen - aging creates barriers and opportunities - not to mention, not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to age. *wink*


6. How long are the waiting lists, generally?

I haven't looked at the waiting lists in ions. It used to be that they were decades long - especially in the urban areas. COVID and the uprisings and issues related to our unhoused neighbours seemed to cause dollars to be put towards more vouchers in more housing authorities. I have not kept up with the details.

Could I really have been living in a nice modern apartment my entire life, only paying $300-$400 in rent!?
Why do people struggle to pay rent when they could just go on rental assistance?
Is there something else required that I am not seeing mentioned anywhere?


I have housing assistance due to being legally disabled (and now i am considered elderly in some cases 55/56). I fought tooth and nail to get the voucher - i mean i truly fought for it. there are "secret' ways to get vouchers that no one in the system wants people in general to know about. it took me absolute persistence and a background in advocacy and the fear of being homeless to finally get my voucher AND contacting the city council about the discrimination i was facing in the process to get them to advocate for me - they were excellent and the ONLY reason why i finally did get my voucher.

That being said - it's not the rosy picture you paint. Sure, you could be fortunate and get something modern, well kept, the picture of perfection - or you could get a landlord who just does not care, who will not fix your stove that has not worked in five years, with tiles falling down in your bathroom, and you constantly fear the pests that other tenants report having will make their way into your apartment. You could end up in a place like that because finding a landlord who will accept a Housing Choice Voucher - section 8 - is incredibly difficult to find.

I am grateful for the assistance i get - especially since the death of my son. But the difficulties are also things like having a deep desire to work - at least as much as one's health will allow - but having the system be set up to actually deter you from doing so. Before my recent decline - when I was working as much as i was able - i was actually paying out more than I was earning... Meaning - between an increase in rent, increase in my medical premiums, loss of help paying my medicare premiums, no longer qualifying for x, y, or z - i literally was left with less money than if i had sat on my bum and did nothing. I still worked - because the benefit to working is the working itself and I deeply need that - but when disabilities flare and five months into employment I must take a break from working for another three months - it's a bit chaotic and a lot to manage - the adjustment from the different programmes does not catch up immediately so i end up in great financial struggle during that time when my health is at its worst.

Once you receive a voucher and live in that area it was issued, for one full year - after that you can take that voucher anywhere in the US AND places like Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands - again, iF you can get someone to rent to you.

If you have community who owns properties and one of them will rent to you at subsidised rates - once you get a voucher you are golden.

i hope this helps you or others.

Sam's mom


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