Here are some home helpers agencies that can help consumers with problems and questions related to housing; and some that can help people achieve homeownership.
ACCESSIBLE SPACE INC.
ASI is a nonprofit corporation that provides accessible and affordable housing for adults with impaired mobility, traumatic brain injuries and physical disabilities. ASI also can provide personal-attendant care and supportive living services. Housing is available throughout the Twin Cities metro area, statewide and 19 other states.
Residents who meet low-income guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pay approximately 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. Write to Accessible Space Inc., 2550 W. University Av., Suite 330N, St. Paul, MN 55114 or call 651-645-7271 or 1-800-466-7722. www.accessiblespace.org.
(formerly Central Community
Housing Trust of Minneapolis)
Aeon is a nonprofit provider of safe, affordable housing in Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods. It provides permanent affordable apartment homes to homeless young people and adults, adults seeking a sober community, low- and moderate-income single people and families. Call 612-341-3148 or write to Aeon, 1625 Park Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404 or visit www.aeonhomes.org.
ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGAN- IZATIONS FOR REFORM NOW HOUSING
ACORN Housing offers classes for first-time home buyers, mortgage counseling and helps clients obtain affordable mortgages through lending partnerships for low- and moderate-income applicants in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Write to ACORN, 757 Raymond Av., Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55114 or call 651-642-9639. www.acornhousing.org.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S CONSUMER DIVISION
This state office works on behalf of consumers to ensure that state trade regulations and consumer laws are enforced. Its staff members takes complaints on a variety of consumer matters and can help consumers resolve problems with businesses. The office also can refer consumers to the government agencies that can best address their problems or explain what options a consumer might have in pursuing a claim. For information, call the citizen assistance line, 651-296-3353 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Or visit www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/housing/default.asp or write the consumer division at 1400 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101 for free publications on housing topics such as "The Home Buyer's Handbook" and "Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities.''
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
A private, nonprofit organization, it provides services and programs to assist consumers and businesses. The bureau might be able to provide a home buyer, seller, renter or builder with a company's reliability report. Consumers also can register complaints regarding consumer business disputes. The bureau also can provide arbitration and mediation services. It publishes free brochures and books on housing-related topics. For information or to request a brochure, write to the Better Business Bureau, 2706 Gannon Road, St. Paul, MN 55116-2600, call 651-699-1111 or visit www.thefirstbbb.org.
CARVER COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Provides home-buyer, home-improvement and foreclosure prevention programs and information on Section 8 rental assistance in Carver County. Call 952-448-7715 or visit www.carvercda.org.
CENTER FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
An independent, nonprofit organization, it offers energy-conservation programs on behalf of utilities and public agencies. CEE also operates a loan bank that offers below-market financing for energy-related improvements to residential property, including rentals. For information, call 612-335-5858 or visit www.mncee.org.
Nonprofit group builds, renovates and manages rental apartments and townhouses throughout the metro area. For information about locations and vacancies, call 651-291-1750; for information about new housing developments, call 651-290-6228. Visit the website at www.commonbond.org.
COMMUNITY ACTION PARTNERSHIP OF SUBURBAN HENNEPIN COUNTY
Nonprofit housing agency provides services for current and prospective homeowners of low and moderate incomes in suburban Hennepin County. Programs include mortgage foreclosure prevention, home-buyer education, rehab advice and reverse-mortgage counseling for senior citizens. Call 952-933-9639, or write 33 10th Av. S., Suite 150, Hopkins, MN 55343 or visit www.capsh.org.
COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS INSTITUTE
National nonprofit can help with questions about condominium, co-op or homeowner associations. Publications available include information on legal matters, financial management, transition, insurance and maintenance. For information, write to CAI, 1000 Westgate Dr., Suite 252, St. Paul, MN 55114, or call 651-203-7250 or visit www.cai-mn.com.
COMMUNITY MEDIATION PROGRAMS
The Minnesota Association of Community Mediation Programs offers mediation services for a variety of disputes, including issues between tenants and between landlords and tenants. Services are offered at offices throughout the metro area and are low-cost or free.
• Dispute Resolution Center in St. Paul, 651-292-7791.
• Mediation Services for Anoka County, 763-422-8878.
• Minneapolis Mediation Program, 612-822-9883.
• Community Mediation Services, 763-561-0033.
COMMUNITY NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING SERVICES
The nonprofit organization offers education programs on buying and financing a home, credit counseling and foreclosure prevention. The center also originates first-time home buyer loans, helps with refinancing and offers down payment assistance. Workshops and counseling are available in Spanish and Hmong. Call 651-292-8710, visit www.communitynhs.org or write CNHS, 35 W. Water St., St. Paul, MN 55107.
DAKOTA COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
This agency offers home buyer education, a first-time home buyers loan program, and down payment and closing-cost assistance, when available, for new or existing homes in the county. It also provides affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families and seniors. For information, call 651-675-4442 or visit www.dakotacda.org.
DAYTON'S BLUFF NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING SERVICES
This agency builds and rehabilitates single-family homes and provides entry-cost assistance and low-interest home-improvement loans to people in the Dayton's Bluff and Payne-Phalen neighborhoods with financing from local lenders, government programs and the NHS revolving loan fund. For information, call 651-774-6995 or write to Dayton's Bluff NHS, 823 E. 7th St., St. Paul, MN 55106 or visit www.dbnhs.org.
MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
The department's Division of Enforcement and Licensing investigates complaints about lenders, real estate agents, appraisers, insurance adjusters and agents and residential building contractors. For information, call 651-296-2488 or write to the Department of Commerce, Division of Enforcement and Licensing, 133 E. 7th St., St. Paul, MN 55101 or visit www.commerce.state.mn.us.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
HUD is a federal agency that funds and monitors housing projects and housing subsidies, insures home loans, investigates housing discrimination and provides lists of subsidized rental housing in the metro and outstate areas. There are fees for some services. For information, call 612-370-3000 or write to HUD at Suite 1300, 920 2nd Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402 or visit www.hud.gov.
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
This agency enforces and administers the Minnesota Human Rights Act, protecting people from discrimination in housing and other areas. For information, call 651-296-5663, 651-296-1283 TDD or 1-800-657-3704 or write to the department at the Army Corps of Engineers Centre, 190 E. 5th St., Suite 700, St. Paul, MN 55101, or visit www.human rights.state.mn.us.
EAST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT CO.
Builds and sells housing in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood, aided by foundation grants and city program funds. For information, call 651-771-1152, visit www.esndc.org or write to 925 Payne Av., Suite 201, St. Paul, MN 55130.
GREATER METROPOLITAN HOUSING CORP.
Nonprofit group works with the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Agency (CPED) and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to build homes for low- or moderate-income buyers. CPED also offers assistance with down payments and closing costs. Call 612-339-0601or write to 15 S. 5th St., Suite 710, Minneapolis, MN 55402, or visit www.gmhchousing.org. The organization operates housing resource centers that provide information about neighborhood revitalization programs in Minneapolis, as well as construction consultations. In northeast Minneapolis, call the Housing Resource Center, 612-378-7985; in the northwest, call Housing Resource Center NW, 612-588-3033; South Side residents call Southside Housing Resource Center, 612-722-7141. There's also a Shoreview office, Housing Resource Center North Metro, 651-486-7401, and the St. Paul Housing Resource Center, 651-228-1077. Or visit www.housingresourcecenter.org.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY/TWIN CITIES
Volunteers form a partnership with families that need housing and are willing to build or renovate in the Twin Cities. For information, call 612-331-4090. or visit www.tchabitat.org.
Nonprofit group provides services, from phone information to legal representation, throughout Minnesota except in Minneapolis. Home Line also helps tenants organize to deal collectively, especially in buildings threatened with conversion from subsidized to market rents. Call Home Line's tenant hot line at 612-728-5767.
MINNESOTA HOME OWNERSHIP CENTER
The organization provides mortgage counseling and education to help low- and moderate-income people become homeowners statewide. They also offer mortgage foreclosure prevention services. Counselors can determine homeownership readiness, review available loan programs and develop home-buying plans. Some community affiliates offer workshops in Spanish, Hmong and Somali. Call the Minnesota Home Ownership Center, 651-659-9336 or visit www.hocmn.org.
Provides affordable-housing information to the Twin Cities metro area and selected regions of greater Minnesota. Resources include an online searchable database of existing and planned subsidized rental units in the Twin Cities, affordable vacancies, waiting lists, a Section 8 information page and HousingLink's Housing How-to Library. Landlords can list their affordable vacancies for free. Visit www.housinglink.org or call 612-522-2500.
MINNESOTA INSURANCE HELPLINE
Individuals seeking information about all types of insurance, including mortgage, homeowner's and renter's insurance, can call 952-253-6234 or toll-free at 1-800-642-6121 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The help line is at the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers offices at 7500 Flying Cloud Dr., Suite 900, Eden Prairie, MN 55344.
LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF MINNEAPOLIS
Publishes fact sheets on housing issues, including information about looking for an apartment, security deposits, repair problems, roommates and discrimination. The fact sheets are free for low-income people; to receive a publications list and order form, call 651-228-9105, ext. 115, or visit www.lawhelpmn.org. Resources are in many languages. The Legal Aid Society also has a Housing Discrimination Law Project that represents people in central and southern Minnesota with housing discrimination cases including race, disability, familial status, national origin. Services are free to eligible low-income and elderly clients. Interpreters provided. Call the Minneapolis office at 612-334-5970 or visit www.lawhelpmn.org.
LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES
This organization, at 2414 Park Av. S., Minneapolis, offers the following services in the Twin Cities area:
• Advocacy and counseling services for homeless people, those with a housing emergency and those in need of affordable housing in Hennepin County at the LSS Housing Resource Center. Call 612-879-5266.
• Transitional housing for homeless families and single mothers with up to two children in Hennepin County. Call 612-871-0221.
• Transitional housing for homeless families in Anoka County. Call 763-783-4943.
• Transitional housing for youths in Ramsey County. Call 651-644-7739.
MINNEAPOLIS DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Provides development and financial assistance programs to sustain and improve the residential, economic and aesthetic environment of Minneapolis. Provides low-interest, long-term and fixed-rate mortgages for first-time home buyers; foreclosure prevention help; home improvement loans; deferred rehabilitation loans; funding to nonprofit developers and housing revenue bonds for development of affordable rental housing, and loans and grants to rental property owners and nonprofit developers to build affordable housing. For information, write to 105 5th Av. S., Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401, call 612-673-5095 or visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped.
MINNEAPOLIS DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS
Enforces civil-rights laws and investigates complaints of housing discrimination in Minneapolis. A manual that explains fair housing laws and gives specific examples of illegal discriminatory practices also is available at the Minneapolis office at 350 S. 5th St., Room 239. Call 612-673-3012 or visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/civil-rights.
MINNEAPOLIS HOUSING SERVICES
At 250 S. 4th St., Room 510, Public Service Center, it offers the following free services to Minneapolis residents:
• A telephone hot line to advise tenants and landlords of their rental rights. Call 612-673-3003.
• Walk-in services from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For information, visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs.
MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY
Provides information, referrals and assistance to families and individuals seeking low-income and Section 8 housing in Minneapolis. For information about affordable public housing or Section 8 rent assistance, call 612-342-1400 or visit www.mphaonline.org.
MINNESOTA DISABILITY LAW CENTER AND LEGAL AID SOCIETY
The Legal Aid Society in Hennepin and Ramsey counties may be able to provide legal services in civil cases involving problems with mortgage foreclosures and cancellations of contracts for deed. New clients (usually low- income) in Hennepin County can call 612-334-5970. Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services also represents tenants in Ramsey, Washington, Carver, Scott and Dakota counties regarding housing repairs, discrimination and other issues. Call the St. Paul office at 651-222-4731. There are no fees for those who fall within income guidelines. For information, visit www.lawhelpmn.org.
MINNESOTA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY
MHFA provides housing-assistance programs for low- and moderate-income residents and makes loans at below-market interest rates to qualified applicants for building, rehabilitating and financing single- and multifamily housing. The agency also provides resources for renters, down-payment and closing-cost assistance for some low- income buyers and home improvement loans for homeowners. The office is at 400 Sibley St., Suite 300, St. Paul, MN 55101. Call 651-296-7608 or visit www.mnhousing.gov.
MINNESOTA MULTI-HOUSING ASSOCIATION HOT LINE
Nonprofit organization of owners, developers and managers of multifamily housing can answer questions about the rights and responsibilities of tenants and rental-property owners. Call the free hot line at 952-858-8222 or visit www.mmha.com.
NATIONAL HANDICAP HOUSING INSTITUTE
Rents apartments to people with physical disabilities and seniors in the Twin Cities. For information, call 651-639-9799 or write to NHHI at 1050 Thorndale Av., New Brighton, MN 55112, or visit www.nhhiaccessiblehousing.com.
NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT ALLIANCE
Provides free monthly home-buyer education workshops, advice and information on mortgage products and advocacy for consumer interests with lenders. NeDA works with lenders, local government agencies, Realtors and others to help make homeownership possible. Call 651-292-0131 for more information, visit www.nedahome.org or write 481 S. Wabasha St., St. Paul, MN. 55107.
PROJECT FOR PRIDE IN LIVING
PPL helps low- to moderate-income individuals and families work toward self-sufficiency by providing affordable single-family housing, rental housing, jobs and training throughout the metro area. For information, call 612-455-5100, visit www.ppl-inc.org or write to PPL, 1035 E. Franklin Av., Minneapolis, MN 55404.
RICHFIELD HOUSING AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The HRA, in cooperation with local lenders and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, can help city residents with remodeling loans. It also provides information to Richfield homeowners and new buyers who want to refinance and remodel homes. For information, call 612-861-9760, visit www.cityofrichfield.org or write to Richfield HRA, 6700 Portland Av. S., Richfield, MN 55423.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT/ U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Serves rural low-income residents with loans for single-family housing. For information, call the Department of Agriculture office at 651-602-7800, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn or write to the agency at 375 Jackson St., 410 Farm Credit Building, St. Paul, MN 55101.
ST. PAUL PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
The City of St. Paul Home Loan Fund provides affordable homeownership programs including first-time home-buyer financing, home improvement programs and free mortgage foreclosure-prevention counseling and evaluation. For more information, call 651-266-6712 or visit www.stpaul.gov/cityliving.
UNITED WAY 2-1-1
Formerly First Call For Help, this 24-hour confidential information/referral service directs callers to agencies or organizations with information on landlord/tenant problems, foreclosure, eviction, finding permanent and temporary shelter, financing for home purchase and rehab loans, energy assistance, subsidized and transitional family housing, senior housing and residential mental health services. Call 211 from land-based phones; from a cell phone, call 651-291-0211. For referrals outside the Twin Cities, call 1-800-543-7709. Callers can remain anonymous.
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
Provides home loans through mortgage lenders and other services to veterans, dependents and survivors. For information, call 1-800-827-1000, visit www.va.gov or write to Federal Building, Room 181, Fort Snelling, St. Paul, MN 55111.
WASHINGTON COUNTY HOUSING AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Offers home-buyer education workshops and a low- interest first mortgage program (county residents only) for qualifying low- to moderate-income individuals and families. Call for availability, 651-458-0936, visit www.wchra.com or write to 321 Broadway Av., St. Paul Park, MN 55071.