RentHelpMN application deadline set for 9 p.m. Friday

New applications for the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program Rent Help MN must be submitted by 9 p.m. on Friday, Minnesota Housing announced this week.

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The timing of the deadline has some groups concerned about what’s next.

“I was definitely shocked when I saw the email,” said Saolia Tucker, organizing manager at African Career Education and Resource Incorporated (ACER.), said.

For more than a year, ACER has worked as a field partner with RentHelpMN to help educate people about the program.

“We’ve given them information on how the program is running, what the effects are, what can be improved on,” Tucker said.

Tucker thought the program had more time.

“We were kind of in the mindset that this could be further on at least into July,” Tucker said.

“We always knew that when it was gone, it would be out,” said Jennifer Ho, Minnesota Housing Commissioner.

Ho told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they’re not completely out of the $450 million in federal relief yet, but they’ve just had such a high volume of applications over the last few months.

“I know this news is hard for people who are having a hard time paying their bills to take in,” Ho said.

The deadline doesn’t impact anyone who already submitted an application. But it does affect anyone behind on January rent who hasn’t yet applied it.

“Make sure you hit that submit button, that’s the difference between starting an application and submitting an application,” Ho said.

Organizations like the Brooklyn Park-based ACER that work towards health equity and housing justice believe the end to this program will lead to more instability.

“Although we understand it’s going to be more work for us, it’s a fight worth fighting for,” Tucker said.

Ho says she’s personally asked the treasury department twice for more money. While it’s unlikely, she feels this all highlights a bigger issue.

“How do we invest in housing over the long haul so that people aren’t in these situations where people can’t afford the place they call home?” Ho said.

For more information on this program or to apply, visit here.

To learn more about ACER, visit here.