COVID-19 Update: Bridges and Housing Trust Fund Rental Assistance Programs
On May 6, 2020, Minnesota Housing issued remote inspection procedures for the Bridges and Housing Trust Fund (HTF) rental assistance programs to use during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency that was originally declared by Governor Walz in Executive Order 20-01. The temporary inspection procedures were as follows:
- Submit a written request to Minnesota Housing for a waiver, demonstrating a hardship that prevents completion of the inspection prior to the household moving into the unit;
- Affirmative acknowledgement from the administrator and the landlord that the unit is required to meet the local housing maintenance code or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Quality Standards (HQS), as applicable;
- Submit documentation that provides Minnesota Housing adequate assurances that the unit currently meets the local housing maintenance code or HUD HQS, as applicable; and
- Agree to complete a physical inspection within 30 days after the peacetime emergency ends. The inspection documentation must be provided to Minnesota Housing, and owners will have 30 days from the time of the inspection to cure violations, if any. If the unit does not meet all requirements at that time, rental assistance may be terminated.
Minnesota Housing has modified this COVID-19 remote inspections procedure by waiving the requirement that the units be subject to retroactive physical inspections after the end of the peacetime emergency.
To confirm that housing deficiencies were not missed using this temporary process, administrators must notify households of this amended procedure and provide households with the opportunity to request an inspection if they think housing deficiencies exist in their unit. You will receive an email from the Minnesota Housing program manager outlining this process for your organization. Inspections will resume on a regular schedule after the peacetime emergency ends.
After the peacetime emergency ends, new units will no longer be inspected using these exceptions. Virtual inspections will be allowed in some circumstances, as outlined in the Bridges (Section 4.04) and HTF (Section 5.03) program guides.
For questions related to Bridges and Bridges RTC, contact Ellie Miller. For questions related to HTF, contact Erin Menne.