211 Resource Helpline Expands to Help Minnesotans Access $100 Million in Housing Assistance

Categories: 211, COVID-19
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On Aug. 24, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) announced the launch of the new $100 million COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, which provides housing assistance payments to prevent homelessness for eligible renters and homeowners.

Greater Twin Cities United Way and our partners helped advocate for this emergency funding earlier this summer, in part by leveraging our 211 resource helpline data to underscore the unprecedented housing assistance needs that were arising because of the pandemic. Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program is funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and is designed to cover expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities or other past-due housing-related expenses.

211 Expansion

Our 211 resource specialists provide nearly 460,000 referrals to critical services for people in need every year. Because of our existing infrastructure and expertise, MHFA selected United Way’s 211 resource helpline to be the point of contact for people seeking these housing resources.

Through a contract from MHFA, United Way’s 211 resource helpline has expanded to support Minnesotans seeking to apply for these funds. To support this service, we’ve engaged over 30 additional call center staff who are helping streamline access to these housing resources for interested callers, which is important because housing services can be very difficult to access.

By serving as the go-place to get started, 211 is making these services easier for our neighbors to access as well as easing the burden on agencies providing these services. As of Aug. 26, two days after launching the program, our 211 team has already handled almost 2,000 calls.

How to Apply

Minnesotans interested in applying for housing assistance through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program can call 211, text “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211, or go online to 211unitedway.org. Once the process begins, applicants can track their status online.

Learn more in this MPR story: Behind on rent? A new $100 million housing assistance program may help.

6 thoughts on “211 Resource Helpline Expands to Help Minnesotans Access $100 Million in Housing Assistance

  1. I am in need of sober living or low income housing or help to getting into a place so that I can go back to work. I would like in to be in st cloud mn area. I have in a treatment program at the moment by currently looking for a place as soon as I can my out date at treatment is riding on finding a place to live. Thank you

    1. 211 does cover the St. Cloud area. If you reach out to them, they should be able to help advocate for you to get access to resources.

    1. Unfortunately we would not have access to your records directly. That said, if you call or email 211, they should be able to give you an update.

  2. I am a senior on a fixed income and I am having trouble paying my Xcel Energy bill. I was on a budget plan, but now they are giving me a bill for $207.89 for average monthly True UP amount. I only have social security as my source of income and a small saving and checking account. Am I eligible for any assistance? Thank you.

    1. I know there are a few programs available through 211 to help with utility assistance. One of the operators should be able to help you with your situation.

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