A new program has launched to help Minnesotans who are struggling to pay their rent and utility bills due to the pandemic.
RentHelpMN will funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency federal aid to those who need it the most.
"It's basically meant to assist anyone who is low to moderate in income to help them pay for their rent and utilities."
Kristin DeGrande is the city's housing programs coordinator. In her role, she's helping spread the word about a new program that could prevent evictions and homelessness.
"The rent assistance does cover not only helping you to pay back rent, it also helps you to pay rent going forward and it also helps to pay utility bills," said DeGrande.
The program is similar to one last year but, this time around, applications will be funneled to one state portal under RentHelpMN.org. To be eligible, you must earn less than 80% of the median area income. In the Twin Cities, that amounts to about $78,500 for a family of four. Rent and utility bills dated on or after March 13, 2020 are eligible. Those who qualify can get up to 15 months of assistance.
"This program is very well funded and the program has been changed from last year to make sure they can qualify and process as many applications as possible," said DeGrande. "So if you think you might be eligible, if you are in need and you are wondering if you are eligible, I highly encourage you to go to the website."
In addition to renters, landlords are encouraged to register, alert tenants about the program and get them to apply. Also, even if you received rent assistance last year, you are eligible to apply again this year.