This CARES Act funded program allocated $100 million in Minnesota to cover housing expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, or other housing-related expenditures. This money is available right now through December 31 on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Income must be at or below 300% of federal poverty guidelines, with a preference for those that at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.
- Eligible utility expenses include gas, electric, water, sewer.
- Propane is currently not an eligible expense but Minnesota Housing is taking it under consideration.
- Phone, cable, internet are NOT eligible expenses.
- Other utilities may be approved, on a case by case basis, by Minnesota Housing.
- Only past-due expenses incurred on or after March 1, 2020 and before December 20, 2020 are eligible.
- All payments are made directly to the utility provider, not the tenant.
- In order to process the application and distribute the payment to your co-op, the service provider has to verify with your co-op that a member has a past-due account.
To apply for CHAP assistance:
- Apply online at www.housinghelpmn.org or call United Community Action Partnership (Jackson County members) 800-658-2448 or Minnesota Valley Action Council (Martin County members) 800-767-7139.
- General FAQ's including information on income limits and what is covered: http://www.mnhousing.gov/sites/np/covid19housingassistanceprogramFAQ
Energy Assistance Program (EAP)
The second program is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), which is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and helps low-income renters and homeowners pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs. Congress recently passed a continuing resolution through December, so about 90% of the funds should be released and available by the end of October.
- October marks the beginning of the 2020-2021 program year.
- Household income must be at or below 50 percent of the state median income ($54,357 for a family of four) to qualify for benefits.
- EAP’s primary benefit is primary heat, but EAP also provides crisis benefits of up to $600 per program year for those who have been disconnected or have received a disconnection notice. (It was raised to $1,200 at the end of last program year, and may be raised again if funds are available.)
- The income look-back is once again at three months. (The look-back was one month at the end of last program year, and may be lowered to one month again if funds are available.)
- Applications must be received or postmarked by May 31, 2021 for EAP benefits for the 2020-2021 program year.
To apply for EAP call United Community Action Program (Jackson County members) 800-658-2448 or Minnesota Valley Action Council (Martin County members) 800-767-7139.