Mortgage Assistance Program for Minnesota Homeowners Affected By Coronavirus

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program has $30 million to distribute to eligible homeowners affected by the coronavirus national emergency.

As of November 9, 2020, Minnesota has $30 million remaining from an original allotment of $100 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to distribute to homeowners (and renters) who’ve been economically impacted by the COVID-19 national emergency.

The state’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program offers eligible homeowners money for their mortgage payments, among other things. Assistance is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no deadline to apply. But whatever money is leftover at year’s end, if any, will likely be returned to the federal government.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program provides funds to eligible residents to cover:

  • mortgage payments (including escrowed property taxes and insurance if needed to prevent a foreclosure)
  • rent payments
  • contract for deed payments
  • manufactured home park lot rents
  • manufactured home payments
  • utility payments, like electricity, water, sewer, natural gas, and garbage
  • homeowners’ association fees
  • homeowners’ insurance, and
  • additional home-related costs that Minnesota Housing approves.

At this time, the amount of money you can receive isn’t capped, but is subject to program fund availability. You can get housing assistance only for an eligible expense, and you’ll have to provide supporting documentation that verifies the balance you owe.

How to Qualify for Mortgage Payment Help in Minnesota

This program is for residents of Minnesota who meet all of the criteria listed below.

  • You must be a homeowner (or renter) with an income at or below 300% of federal poverty guidelines. The program gives priority to those at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. To find out if your income qualifies, see the FY 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • You must have an eligible expense, like overdue mortgage payments, which you incurred from March 1, 2020, to December 30, 2020.
  • You must be unable to make the payment(s) because of unemployment or illness due to the COVID-19 public health emergency or another coronavirus-related issue.

Homeowners With Federally Backed Mortgages Might Not Qualify

Homeowners with federally backed mortgages might not be eligible for assistance from Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program. But under the federal CARES Act, a homeowner with a federally backed mortgage loan, regardless of delinquency status, who's experiencing a financial hardship that's due directly or indirectly to COVID-19, can get a forbearance of up to 360 days. Federally backed mortgage loans include loans owned or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Also, homeowners with federally backed mortgages are protected from foreclosure until December 31, 2020.

How Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program Works

To apply for assistance from Minnesota's program, you need to:

  1. Determine whether you’re eligible by calling 211, 800-543-7709, or 651-291-0211. You can also visit 211unitedway.org or text "MNRENT" or "MNHOME" to 898-211. If you meet initial eligibility requirements, you’ll get a referral to the online application form. You can also pick a local administrator from your geographic region to help you through the application process.
  2. Complete the online Common Household Application Form and provide all required supporting documentation, like proof of income and personal identification.
  3. Work with your local administrator. (It might take several weeks or longer from the time you apply until the local administrator contacts you to continue the process.) Local administrators review applications, verify eligibility, and process housing assistance payments for those who qualify.

To get additional details about this process and find out exactly what documentation you’ll need to provide along with your application, visit Minnesota Housing’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program website.

If it turns out you're not eligible for housing assistance from this program, you’ll be connected with other resources, if available. Go to the Resources for Renters and Homeowners section of Minnesota Housing’s COVID-19 website for a list of additional resources.

How to File an Appeal If You’re Denied Assistance

Be aware that if you’re denied assistance from Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, you can appeal the decision. Contact the grant administrator to request an appeal, either in writing or orally, within ten days of your denial letter’s date. The grant administrator will then assign personnel to review your appeal request. If, after review, your application is determined eligible, you’ll get assistance based on the time and date of your original application submission. Otherwise, you’ll receive another denial letter with the reasons for upholding the denial.

The grant administrator will complete the appeal review within five business days of getting your request for appeal. If your appeal is successful, your ability to receive assistance depends on whether any funds remain available. So, even if you prevail on your appeal, you might not get any money.

Also, you can apply more than once if you have new, eligible, unpaid housing bills.

How to Get More Information

To get more information about Minnesota's COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, call 211, 800-543-7709, or 651-291-0211. Multilingual staff is available to answer questions from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Effective date: November 9, 2020