Three largest housing agencies exceed 45,000 total applications
When the state’s three largest housing authorities opened their waiting lists for applications earlier this month, they knew the demand would be high. For the Metropolitan Council's Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA) and Saint Paul Public Housing Agency, the lists hadn’t been opened for four years. For the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, it had been more than 10 years.
Over the week-long application period, the three agencies — which represent the three largest public housing agencies in the state — received more than 45,000 applications. Specifically, Metro HRA received more than 17,000, Minneapolis more than 15,000 and St. Paul more than 13,000.
Each agency will place applicants on its waiting list through random lottery. Metro HRA will place 2,000 on its list, Minneapolis 2,000, and St. Paul 3,500.
More than 6,000 applicants applied for all three lists, which housing officials say indicates what’s at stake for people in need of stable housing in the region combined with the limited resources for housing.
“Opening all three lists at the same time was a great opportunity for regional collaboration,” said Terri Smith, director of the Metro HRA. “The number of people who applied illustrates the tremendous need for affordable housing for low-income families who seek safe, stable housing, in their communities.”
Applicants for vouchers: women with children, people of color
A deeper look at who the applicants are is also telling. Nearly 72% are female-headed households. Nearly half the households include children. About 28% indicated they are homeless, in transition, or living in a temporary shelter or motel. About 36% indicate they have a disability. Of the applicants, 70% identified as people of color or indigenous.
“More people in our region are directly dealing with the personal crisis of homelessness,” Smith said. “And as rents continue to increase and the availability of rental housing decreases, it will continue to directly affect the families who need this housing resource the most.”
The agencies will be working over the next several weeks to conduct lottery drawings for the waiting list placements.
The Metro HRA is the largest administrator of the Housing Choice Voucher program in the state of Minnesota. Metro HRA serves 7,200 households with rent assistance in Anoka and Carver counties, as well as suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
Read Chair Nora Slawik's June 2019 column: A troubling housing trend