resources for finding affordable housing

locating affordable housing

Affordable housing is hard to find in the Twin Cities area.  Market priced apartments are usually more expensive than a refugee can afford and there are long waiting lists for subsidized housing.  If waiting lists are shorter, a refugee may not qualify due to abbreviated rental history and will be bumped from the list if they get to the top without proper eligibility qualifications. Below are some resources regarding subsidized housing and conducting an affordable housing search.  If you are helping a refugee family conduct a search or apply for subsidized/public housing, please contact WRM’s Housing Resource Developer if you have any questions.

housing resources sites:



What is subsidized housing?

Please follow this link to the HousingLink Subsidized Housing page to find out more about subsidized housing: http://www.housinglink.org/HousingResources/SubsidizedHousing.aspx

How do I find project-based subsidized housing in Minnesota?

  • Search Rental Listings in Minnesota at www.housinglink.org. For minimum and maximum rent, select =% of income.
  • Go to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, www.hud.gov, and select the state of Minnesota under “State Info.”  Click on the link to “Get Rental Help” and then “Search for a subsidized apartment.”

Where are Public Housing and Section 8 waiting lists open in the metro area?

  • Check out HousingLink’s Housing Authority Waiting List for the most recent status update on Public Housing and Section 8 throughout the metro area: http://www.housinglink.org/HousingResources/WaitingList.aspx.
  • Go to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, www.hud.gov and select the state of Minnesota under “State Info.”  Click on the link to “Get Rental Help” and then “PHAs in Minnesota.”

Public Housing Agencies:
St. Paul PHA                                                                651-298-5158
Minneapolis PHA                                                      612-342-1400
Bloomington HRA                                                    952-563-8937
Dakota County CDA                                                 651-675-4400
Hopkins HRA                                                              952-939-1329
Metro HRA                                                                  651-602-1428
Plymouth HRA                                                          763-509-5410
Richfield HRA                                                            612-861-9770
Scott County HRA                                                    952-402-9022
South St. Paul HRA                                                   651-451-1838
St. Louis Park  HRA                                                 952-924-2579
Washington County PHA                                       651-458-0936

If there are no subsidized housing options available, where should I look for affordable housing?

 What resources are available if my refugee family or refugee partner is in market-rate housing and cannot afford rent?

The counties have Emergency Assistance Programs for income-eligible families with dependent children.  Families can access this money once per year if the money will provide a long-term solution to a housing-related emergency, e.g. the family is being threatened with eviction for not paying rent, but if this rent is paid the family will be able to save enough money to pay rent in the foreseeable future.  To apply, go to the county public assistance office.  Make sure the applicant brings proof of a) identity, b) state and county residence, c) SSN, d) emergency and cost to alleviate emergency, e) income, f) deductions from countable income, g) assets, h) relationship to child(ren), i) pregnancy, if applicable, j) immigration status, if applicable, k) rent and utility payments for the past 12 months.

Minnesota Council of Churches has a Refugee Supportive Housing Network which can provide rent subsidy.  Eligible clients must be referred through a referring agency.  Please speak with WRM’s Housing Resource Developer to pursue this option.

If these are not feasible options, call United Way 2-1-1 to see if there are any other resources available in the family or individual’s area.

I have noticed that the landlord is neglecting his/her responsibility to make repairs, provide general maintenance, keeping buildings safe and sanitary, etc.  What do I do?

First try to speak to the landlord.  If he/she does not respond, inform them that you will be filing a complaint with the city. To file a complaint or to request the unit be inspected: dial 3-1-1, contact your city office directly by phone, or visit the city’s webpage.