Supportive Housing
updated March 28, 2024

Supportive housing is affordable rental housing that includes services which support residents in improving their quality of life. It is often for people who are experiencing homelessness and have difficulties getting and keeping housing. If you live in supportive housing, you pay a portion of your income for rent and you get services for free.

Supportive housing is available in many locations across the state. In some cases, all apartments in a building could be supportive housing. In other locations, a few supportive housing units might be in a mixed-use building that includes market-rate rentals or offices. Elsewhere, you may be able to choose your own apartment, get help paying for it, and get free supportive services, similar to how the Section 8 housing choice voucher program works.

Supportive housing is funded by state, federal, and private agencies and is owned and managed by different local organizations. Each local organization that runs supportive housing may have different priorities for whom they serve. They may also use different methods to reach out to eligible people in their area.

Who It Helps

Many of the supportive housing units in Minnesota are meant to help people who are currently experiencing long-term homelessness. Long-term homelessness means you either:

  • Haven’t had a permanent place to live for the last year or longer, or
  • Haven’t had a place to live on at least four different occasions during the last three years.

So, you may have had places to stay for a while, like with a relative or friend, or at a shelter, but they weren’t your place where you could stay for a long time and have some stability.

To qualify for supportive housing, you also must have low income — the exact income limit depends on the organization that runs the housing site. Additionally, each supportive housing site might focus on helping certain populations, such as families, single adults, youth, people with disabilities, and so on.

Services You Can Get

Supportive housing includes various support services for the populations it serves. Each site may provide or connect people to different services, depending on the needs of the residents. The services that a site could have include:

  • Case management
  • Goal planning
  • Mental health services
  • Educational services
  • Employment services
  • Life skills training
  • Childcare
  • Children’s services and activities
  • Recreational activities, and
  • Support groups.

Here are examples of different kinds of supportive housing:

  • At one site, there might be only four supportive units with a services provider who visits once a week to check in on things and help arrange any needed services.
  • At another site, every unit in the building might be supportive and front desk staff might be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The site might also offer a variety of services and activities right there in the building.
  • A third site might require sobriety or that residents participate in certain activities or services.

These are just some examples. Depending on the needs of the people who live there, a site could offer many other types of services.

Find Supportive Housing

There are many different ways to end up in supportive housing:

  • Supportive housing services providers reach out to local organizations, such as food banks, shelters, and nonprofit services providers, and might find you through this outreach.
  • You might be referred to supportive housing by a shelter or another organization that is helping you in other ways.
  • You might go to the office of an agency that provides services at housing locations.
  • You might talk to a property manager at a housing site.

When you connect with a supportive housing agency in one of these ways, you may be able to sign up for a waiting list to get a unit when one that’s a good match for you becomes available. With some supportive housing, there are no waiting lists, so you may have to keep checking to see if there are any open units.

Find local homeless services

If you experiencing homelessness or having trouble paying rent, use HB101's Homeless Services Map to find help. When you use the map and apply for services with one organization, your information goes into a central system that matches your needs with housing services in the area, even if they are operated by other organizations.

Check the Homeless Services Map.

Get Help

While there is not yet a centralized location where you can apply for supportive housing at more than one agency, there are some places where you can start your search: