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 (MPHA), it had been more than 10 years.

Over the week-long application period, the three agencies received more than 45,000 applications for a total of 33,171 individual applicants when accounting for duplication. Specifically, Metro HRA received more than 17,000, Minneapolis more than 14,000 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—or 13% of 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.”

Family applicants for MPHA
One-person applicants for MPHA
Applications submitted for MPHA’s waiting list
MPHA applicants identified as people of color
Average household income for MPHA applicant

Applicants for MPHA vouchers: women with children, people of color

A deeper look at who the applicants are is also telling. For applications submitted to MPHA, 72% are female-headed households. Nearly half the households include children. About 38% indicate they have a disability. Of the applicants, 81% identified as people of color or indigenous. The average household size for MPHA applicants was just over two people and the average income was just over $31,000, which is around 35% of area median income.

The agencies will be working over the next several weeks to conduct lottery drawings for the waiting list placements.

MPHA currently serves about 3,900 households with Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance, as well as more than 1,400 specialized vouchers that are drawn from a different waiting list. Families contribute approximately 30 percent of their income toward rent and utilities; MPHA pays the rest.

To learn more about MPHA’s Section HCV program and to find more information about checking waitlist status, visit