Announcing! Renter Support Fund Program Changes
Since PPNA began administering the Renter Support Fund in 2019, we have provided low-barrier, high-trust rental assistance to 500+ renter households in Minneapolis. In recent years, we have seen funding plummet and demand skyrocket. This prompted us to consider changing how we operate the program to better fit our capacity as a small nonprofit.
Earlier this fall, we sent out a survey with questions about the Renter Support Fund. Over 150 of you responded! Thank you to everyone who shared your feedback and ideas with us.
Here’s a quick list of what’s changing and what’s staying the same! Keep reading to learn about the results of our survey and the changes we're making in more detail.
What is Changing
Program Objective: The new objective of the Renter Support Fund is to provide some relief to cost-burdened Minneapolis renters through low-barrier cash assistance.
Reduced Stipend: Starting in January, selected renters will receive $600 instead of $900. This will allow us to support more renters, 36 every six months instead of 24.
Choice of Amount: Renters will now be able to choose their stipend amount: $300, $450, or $600. Folks can take what they need and leave what they don’t.
What is Staying the Same
Same Eligibility Criteria: Any adult who is a renter, lives in the City of Minneapolis, and spends 30% or more of their income on housing costs is eligible to apply.
Low Odds: We expect to continue receiving 300+ applications a month, with funding for only 4-6 renters a month. We aim to be more transparent about the low odds.
Program Changes in Detail
We hear you loud and clear!
More than 150 people, primarily renters, completed our survey. The vast majority (92%) said the Renter Support Fund should continue to exist. A majority of respondents also said to make minimal, if any, changes to the program.
A realistic objective
The previous objective of the Renter Support Fund was to improve housing stability for cost-burdened Minneapolis renters. But 44% of fund recipients were still concerned about losing their home after receiving funds. Given that all renters noted improvements after receiving funds, the new program objective is to provide some relief to cost-burdened Minneapolis renters through low-barrier cash assistance. To us, this new objective stays true to the spirit of the program, while being honest about our limited capacity.
Less Money, More Renters
With the new program objective, we believe there is reason to lower the stipend amount from $900 to $600. An amount of $600 is still significant for someone experiencing housing cost-burden. This change will also allow us to support 150% as many renters as previous years—if current funding levels hold, 72 renters per year instead of 48.
In the past, all selected renters received the same amount of funds. For the first time, renters will be able to choose the stipend amount: $300, $450, or $600. We know everyone’s situation is different. Giving renters a choice over the amount of funds enables them to take what they need and help PPNA stretch our resources even further. High-trust and high-choice has been our motto from the beginning. We believe this change aligns with that value.
In 2022 and 2023, renters had the option to choose a one-time lump sum payment or three monthly payments. In 2024, all renters will receive funds as a lump sum payment. When given the choice, only 10.2% of renters opted for monthly payments, and this change will allow PPNA to keep a low administrative overhead.
Solidarity Across Neighborhoods
The Renter Support Fund is open to renters living in any Minneapolis neighborhood who spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs. In 2024, some funds will be earmarked for renters living in Greater Powderhorn, but the majority of funds will continue to be city-wide. Of the funds raised through house parties hosted by Powderhorn residents, 50% will be set aside for Greater Powderhorn residents. All renters will apply through the same application form.
Increased Transparency About Low Odds
One of the primary reasons PPNA considered changing the Renter Support Fund is because of our limited funding capacity, currently around ~1.5% of applicants. However, the majority of respondents didn’t support further limitations on who can receive funds — the Renter Support Fund’s low barrier approach is what makes it unique. Instead, PPNA is planning to be more transparent about the low odds of receiving funds. At the same time, we will continue seeking ample resources so that we can improve our selection rate and support even more renters.
Only One Piece of the Puzzle
Many of those who completed our survey noted that direct assistance is only one way to advance housing justice. We agree, and we believe systemic change is needed. In particular, PPNA believes these policy and funding changes are needed to advance housing stability:
Increasing minimum wage
Increasing public benefits
Curbing egregious rent increases
Curbing predatory behavior of investor landlords
Passing robust renter protections—and enforcing them!
* For the purposes of transparency, PPNA staff made final decisions about the Renter Support Fund. We paid close attention to community input. We communicated information about any program changes with renter applicants, past fund recipients, and donors before sharing it publicly. We will honor any restrictions placed on existing donations.
Support Renters Today!
Your continued support is essential to provide material support to cost-burdened renters in our community. Give today to support renters in your community!
We are so grateful to everyone who has donated, volunteered, or shared your ideas with us! The Renter Support Fund helps move us towards equity as a community, and we couldn't have done this without you, the community. Please email email@example.com with any questions about the impact of your gift!