DAKOTA COUNTY, MN — Time is quickly running out for Dakota County residents to apply for rental assistance after Minnesota officials imposed a new deadline Wednesday with federal funds drying up.
RentHelpMN, which uses federal coronavirus-relief funds to help residents cover overdue rent, will stop accepting applications for assistance at 9 p.m. Friday.
Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Commissioner Jennifer Ho said the program's closure "will affect many households that continue to struggle to make rent" payments amid the coronavirus pandemic, with "the need for help … greater than the funds available."
"The pandemic has lasted a lot longer than anyone could have predicted, and longer than the federal rental assistance program was designed to address," Ho said in a news release. "We know there are more renters who are hurting out there."
RentHelpMN had been offering qualified applicants up to three months of future rent payments, in addition to past-due rent. However, RentHelpMN is now offering just one month's worth of future rent payments to conserve funds and try to help more renters, officials said.
The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency has requested more federal funding for rental assistance, but Ho said she does not expect the state to get more money.
"It pains me to see this program come to an end, but unfortunately we knew it would end before all the need was met," Ho said.
RentHelpMN has given out almost $350 million in rental assistance to Minnesota residents since the program was launched in April 2021, including $32.9 million since Jan. 15, according to the program's data dashboard.
Residents have submitted more than 87,000 applications for rental assistance, worth a total of $500 million, as of Jan. 20, according to the state's data.
RentHelpMN Income Limits for Dakota County Households
1 person: $55,950
2 people: $63,950
3 people: $71,950
4 people: $79,900
5 people: $86,300
6 people: $92,700
7 people: $99,100
8 people: $105,500
Click here for more information about RentHelpMN and an application form.