Minnesota Housing: RentHelpMN is not a speedy program

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(ABC 6 News) – Thursday, Minnesota Housing reassured renters who have fallen behind that help is on the way — it’s just taking longer than Minnesotans would like.

In Minnesota, if a renter is in the process of seeking rent help from the state, they cannot be evicted. And Thursday, Minnesota Housing said that money is on the way.

So far, Minnesotans have requested $226 million in rent help, but the state has only paid $47 million to renters. Over 40,000 Minnesotans have submitted applications to Minnesota Housing for rental assistance since April.

"This program is not speedy, and when people are behind, it’s really a stressful situation to be in and we feel that stress. Really just focusing on getting an accurate payment out the door has been a top priority for me and my team," Jennifer Ho, the Minnesota Housing commissioner, said.

The state is expecting the number of renters in need of assistance to increase after this weekend because, Saturday, federal unemployment benefits expire. This means thousands of Minnesotans won’t be receiving weekly unemployment checks anymore.

"We completely expect that’s going to have an impact on more renting households not being able to pay their rent, so it’s as important as ever to get the word out about rental assistance available through this program," Ho said.

Minnesota Housing said there are more than 120,000 Minnesotans currently spending more than half of their income on rent.

If you’re behind on payments, you can apply at renthelpmn.org or call 211.