The following agencies help consumers with problems and questions related to housing and some can help 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 University Av., Suite 330N, St. Paul, MN 55114 or call 651-645-7271 or 1-800-466-7722. www.accessiblespace.org.


ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS 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.

Staff 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's assistance line, 651-296-3353 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Or visit the website at 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

The bureau is a private, nonprofit organization that 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 with the bureau regarding consumer business disputes. The bureau also can provide arbitration and mediation services.

The bureau 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.


MINNESOTA BOARD OF ASSESSORS

The board issues licenses to those who meet the education and experience requirements. A free Minnesota Assessor Education and Licensing Program manual that describes education and licensing procedures for people involved in valuing or classifying property is available online at www.taxes.state.mn.us/property_tax_administrators/other_supporting_content/assess.shtml or by calling the board's office at 651-556-6086.

The board also investigates complaints about assessors. Complaints can be filed by writing to the Minnesota State Board of Assessors, Mail Station 3340, St. Paul, MN 55146-3340.


BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE TWIN CITIES

The association provides information about member builders and remodelers as well as companies providing products and services to the building industry. It also presents the Parade of Homes Spring Preview, the Parade of Homes Fall Showcase and the annual Remodeler's Showcase (www.paradeofhomes.org). For information, call 651-697-1954.


CARVER COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

The 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

CEE is an independent, nonprofit organization that 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.


AEON (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, very-low-income single people and families and other low- and moderate-income households. For more information, call 612-341-3148 or write to Aeon, 1625 Park Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404 or visit www.aeonhomes.org.


COMMONBOND COMMUNITIES

This nonprofit company 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

This 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

CAI, a national, nonprofit educational organization, can help with questions about condominium, co-op or homeowners associations. Publications available through CAI include information on legal matters, financial management, transition, insurance and maintenance.

For information, write to CAI, 1000 Westgate Drive, 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.


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 COMMERCE'S ENERGY INFORMATION CENTER

The center is a state agency that provides free information on conservation and renewable energy for homes and small businesses. For information, call 651-296-5175 or 1-800-657-3710, 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 or visit www.humanrights.state.mn.us.


EAST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT CO.

This agency builds and sells housing in St. Paul's District 5 (the 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.

This nonprofit organization 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. Buyers may qualify for loans of up to $15,000 to buy a home. CPED also offers assistance with down payments and closing costs. For information, call 612-339-9466 or write to 15 S. 5th St., Suite 710, Minneapolis, MN 55402, or visit www.gmhchousing.org.

The organization also 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 neighborhoods, call Housing Resource Center NW, 612-588-3033; South Side residents can 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

Habitat 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.


HOME LINE

This nonprofit organization 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

Through many Twin Cities and statewide affiliates, 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.


HOUSINGLINK

HousingLink is an Internet-based nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing information to the Twin Cities metro area and selected regions of greater Minnesota.

Resources include an online searchable database of affordable vacancies and waiting lists, a Section 8 information page and HousingLink's Housing How-to Library. Landlords can list their affordable vacancies for free. For more information, visit www.housinglink.org or call 612-522-2500.


MINNESOTA INSURANCE HELPLINE

The helpline is a volunteer organization supported by the insurance industry. 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 helpline is located at the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers offices at 7500 Flying Cloud Drive, Suite 900, Eden Prairie, MN 55344.


LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF MINNEAPOLIS

This organization 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 and other problems. 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 housing-related 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

This agency provides development and financial assistance programs to sustain and improve the residential, economic and aesthetic environment of Minneapolis.

It 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 about programs, write to the agency at 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

The department 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. For information, call 612-673-3012 or visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/civil-rights.


MINNEAPOLIS HOUSING SERVICES

This agency, at 250 S. 4th St., room 510, Public Service Center, 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

This office 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. The office is at 1001 Washington Av. N., Minneapolis, MN 55401-1043.


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 should 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

This 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.


CONSTRUCTION CODES AND LICENSING DIVISION

The division establishes the state building code and provides information on all types of building codes. Call 651-284-5068 or visit www.doli.state.mn.us.


MINNESOTA TENANTS UNION

This organization provides information and assistance regarding tenants' rights and rental housing issues. For information, call 612-871-7485 or visit the office at 810 W. 31st St., Minneapolis or go to www.minnesotatenantsunion.org.


NATIONAL HANDICAP HOUSING INSTITUTE

NHHI 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

NeDA is a community-based organization that 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.


REALTOR ASSOCIATIONS

"Realtor'' is a trademarked term for a member of a real estate trade association. Generally, licensed real estate agents join a local association, which gives them membership in the National Association of Realtors and the Minnesota Association of Realtors. Many real estate license holders are not affiliated with Realtor associations; however, most involved with commercial or general residential sales are Realtors.

The Minnesota association supports the state's 22 local boards and their members by, for example, interpreting state and national policies relating to professional standards enforcement, antitrust and equal opportunity.

Twin Cities area boards include the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, which includes members from Hennepin, Scott, Carver, Sibley and McLeod counties; the St. Paul Association of Realtors, including Ramsey and Washington counties; the North Metro Association of Realtors, and the Southern Twin Cities Association of Realtors. For information about any of the associations and Realtor members, call the state association at 952-935-8313 or visit www.mnrealtor.com.


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

This federally funded agency 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 a variety of affordable homeownership programs including first-time home-buyer financing, home improvement programs and free mortgage foreclosure prevention counseling and evaluation. For more information, call 651-266-6626 or visit www.stpaul.gov/cityliving.


UNITED WAY 2-1-1

Formerly called First Call For Help, this 24-hour confidential information/referral service can direct 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

The VA provides home loans through mortgage lenders and other services to veterans, dependents and survivors. 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

The HRA 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.