Section 8 Housing in Minneapolis

To qualify for Section 8 vouchers applicants must be 18 years old, citizens or documented immigrants, and earn less than 50% of the median income for their family size.
Written by David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In Minneapolis, anyone whose income is 50% of the median income for their family size can apply for Section 8 vouchers. Preference will be given, though, to applicants who are disabled, elderly, veterans, or homeless.
For a lot of
, housing is simply unaffordable, for many others paying for rent means making tough decisions about what else needs to be cut for the month. 
Section 8 is one avenue available to help those with low income afford to put a roof over their head. These vouchers can be life-changing for those who receive them, but unfortunately, the application can take weeks to complete and applicants that are selected can wait years before receiving a voucher. 
, and
home insurance
broker super app
put together this guide to the essential information about Section 8 vouchers in Minneapolis.

What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is a federal affordable housing program that started in 1974 with the Housing and Community Development act to provide subsidized rent to low-income Americans. The program is now usually called the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program
Through the program, low-income families can apply for vouchers that cover a portion of their rent, up to a limit. Recipients of Section 8 vouchers cannot pay more than 40% of their income in rent.
The actual limit of the portion of rent that a voucher covers is dependent on the “payment standard” for the city. Payment standards are calculated based on the housing market in the area. Typically, it is defined as the cost of renting a moderately priced home relative to the size of the applicant's family. The voucher limit will cover the payment standard, or the applicant’s rent minus 30% of their income, whichever is less
Some quick facts about Section 8 housing that are good to know:
  • Applicants apply for either housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers.
  • Applicants submit their applications to the local housing authority for the region they are looking for housing.
  • Housing choice vouchers are given to the tenant and allow them to apply the subsidy to any unit that will accept it.
  • Project-based vouchers are vouchers that landlords can apply for and attach for specific units. Tenants that receive assistance from project-based vouchers, therefore, cannot take it with them to their next rental unit.
  • Vouchers are assigned based on income, family size and family composition.
  • Tenants that receive a housing choice voucher cannot be required to pay more than 40% of their monthly income on rent.

Section 8 obligations

Tenants, landlords, and local housing authorities all carry obligations under Section 8.
Housing authority
Accurately complete the application with proper documentation
Screen potential tenants
Determine eligibility and issue vouchers
Find applicable housing and submit all required paperwork before the voucher expires
Comply with fair housing laws
Approve units and rental agreements
Pay rent on time
Ensure the unit remains in good condition
Conduct annual inspections of subsidized units
Notify the housing authority of any relevant changes
Notify the housing authority of any notices to the tenant, including eviction notices
Ensure all parties comply with the program rules
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Key Takeaway Low-income families can apply for Section 8 vouchers and receive federal assistance paying their monthly rent. Recipients will not pay more than 40% of their income toward rent.

What are the requirements for Minneapolis Section 8 housing?

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) directs the Section 8 program under the guidance of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The main requirements for Minneapolis Section 8 housing are based on income, and family size and composition, but other factors that the MPHA considers when selecting applicants include:
  • Applicants with disabilities: Some vouchers are reserved for applicants with disabilities
  • Age of applicant: You must be over 18 to apply, but people 62 or older have a better chance of receiving a voucher 
  • Veteran status: Being a veteran, widow, or widower of the US Armed Service can increase your odds of receiving a voucher
  • Being homeless: Preference is often given to applicants who are homeless or who currently reside in a shelter
  • Having children: Preference is also typically given to applicants that have children than those who do not
Income requirements for Section 8 in Minneapolis are listed in more detail in the table below. Generally to qualify at all family income has to be lower than 80% of the median household income in the area. However, usually applications will only be accepted if their household income is less than 50% of the median.
Family size
Low income (80%) limits
Very low income (50%) limits
Extremely low income (30%) limits
The overall median income in Minneapolis was $66,068 based on data from 2016-2020.
Here is a link
to the HUD's list of income inclusions and exclusions.

How to apply for Minneapolis Section 8 housing

In order to apply for the HCV program, the waitlist has to be open. The last time the waitlist opened was in June 2019. When the waitlist opens it will be published in newspapers and in available minority media. The public notice will state how and when to apply. 
MPHA website
has information for any portals that are currently open. For open application portals, you can fill applications out online, or submit them via mail or to their drop box at Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, 1001 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401.
Once you have submitted your application, if it is selected to move forward you will be contacted for an interview. If your application is accepted, it will move to the waitlist. Unfortunately, applications can stay on the waitlist for years before vouchers become available.

How to find Section 8 housing in Minneapolis

Once you receive a voucher, you have until it expires to find a suitable rental unit. This typically gives you 90 days, however, it is possible to apply for a 30-day extension if you can prove you have been looking diligently but have been unsuccessful finding a unit. 
To help with your search, try looking on online resources like
and check out
this map
from the HUD.
If you end up having to apply for an extension for your search, it will be extremely useful if you have evidence that you have been looking, so document everything. This includes rental applications, meetings with landlords, inquiry emails, etc. 
Once you have found a home that meets the program's criteria, send the lease and any required documentation to the MPHA. They will need to conduct an inspection of the unit before everything is finalized.

Other affordable housing initiatives in Minneapolis

The MPHA has a number of affordable housing initiatives. Eligibility requirements are a bit different for each one, and you can apply for any number of them, if you’re eligible:
  • Public Housing: Public housing is different from Section 8. It includes properties owned by the MPHA that are rented out at a subsidized price. There are separate portals for different groups of the population. Applications can be done through the
    MPHA website
  • Mobility Voucher Program: A subsection of their Section 8 voucher program for those on the Section 8 waitlist that requires applicants to move to an area of greater opportunity.
  • HUD-VASH Program: This program combines Section 8 vouchers with case management and clinical services from the Veteran Affairs Department to assist homeless veterans.
  • Family Unification Program: This program is intended to assist families for whom adequate housing is the primary reason for the imminent placement of their children in out-of-home care, and for youth (18-21 years old) that left the foster program after age 16 and do not have adequate housing.
For more information about/to apply for the other programs, check out the
MPHA website

How to find the most affordable auto and renters insurance in Minneapolis

Once you’ve moved into your new home, it is important to make sure that your property is protected from any unexpected damage or theft. Getting the
renters insurance
you need doesn’t have to be super expensive, but finding affordable options can be daunting and time consuming without the right tools.
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The amount Section 8 will pay depends on the cost of housing in the area, and the income of the applicant. Applicants typically pay between 30% and 40% of their income on rent.
Usually, once you receive a voucher, you can keep it forever unless you violate one of the terms, exceed the income requirements, or the housing authority runs out of money.
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