Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Rental Assistance
updated August 11, 2020

The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Rental Assistance program helps people pay for privately owned rental housing. It is funded by the state of Minnesota, but is run by local agencies.

HTF Rental Assistance is more flexible than many other housing programs:

  • You do not need to be eligible for the Section 8 housing choice voucher (HCV) program.
  • You may be able to get benefits even if you can’t qualify for other programs because you have a criminal record, poor rental history, or for other reasons.

If you qualify for HTF Rental Assistance, you will end up spending about 30% of your income on your housing and the program will pay the rest.

HTF Rental Assistance is meant to be short-term

The program is meant to help you for up to five years and while you are on it, you must create a transition plan for leaving it. The plan could include getting a better job and finding other housing programs that can help you.

You may be able to keep getting HTF Rental Assistance for more than five years if your income does not go up and you cannot get Section 8. For example, you may not be able to get Section 8 if you are on a waiting list, if the waiting lists in your area are closed, or if you have a criminal record or poor rental history.

Who It Helps

HTF Rental Assistance helps people with low income. Most people who get help from this program have income that is lower than 30% of median family income. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lists how much money this is for your family size in your area. However, you may be able to get HTF Rental Assistance even if your family income is up to 60% of median family income. It’s best for you to check with the local HTF agencies to see whether you qualify.

Different agencies in different locations may give priority to helping people in different situations. For example, HTF agencies may focus on helping those who:

  • Are long-term homeless
  • Have extremely low income
  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have chemical dependencies or mental illness

Housing Settings Where HTF Rental Assistance May Help

Usually, HTF Rental Assistance helps people rent any apartment or other housing where a landlord will accept it as a form of payment. This means that you can choose the housing you want to rent. The housing you choose will have to meet standards, which include making sure it is in good physical condition, is the right size for your family, and has a reasonable rent.

Sometimes, HTF Rental Assistance is only for specific apartments or townhomes. If you are offered one of these units and later move out of it, you will stop getting rental assistance.

Whether you choose your housing or move into a specific unit that is offered to you, you will spend about 30% of your income on rent.


To apply, contact a local HTF Rental Assistance agency. They will explain the full application process.

If there is more than one HTF Rental Assistance agency in your area, try contacting them all. Because different agencies may focus on different priority groups, you might qualify for help at one agency, but not at another. Also, some agencies may not have any openings for HTF Rental Assistance or you may be put on a waiting list.

Finding a Place

If you are approved for HTF Rental Assistance, you will either need to find a place to rent or will be given a specific place to live. If you need to find your own place, it will have to be within size and rent limits based on the number of people in your household, the area you live in, and other factors.

If you need to find a place, try different ways to look for housing. First, talk to your HTF Rental Assistance administrator. After that, you can:

  • Search online on websites such as HousingLink
  • Look at bulletin boards in community locations
  • Check ads in newspapers
  • Get recommendations from people you know, and
  • Ask your housing authority and other nonprofits that help people with housing.

Get Help

To learn more about HTF Rental Assistance, contact a local HTF Rental Assistance administrator.