Minneapolis families struggling to pay rent amid the coronavirus pandemic can apply to the city for emergency aid starting next week. Here’s how it works.

What is the Gap Funding Plan?

The city created the Gap Funding Plan this month to help provide rental assistance and small business loans to people struggling to pay their bills because of the pandemic. The rental assistance portion creates a $2 million Emergency Housing Assistance Program to help low-income families throughout the city and uses $1 million to expand rental assistance in the Stable Homes Stable Schools Program, which supports families with children enrolled in a Minneapolis public school.

Who qualifies?

For Emergency Housing Assistance, Minneapolis families must make 30% or less of the area median income — roughly $27,000 for a family of three. They must also show that they have experienced “a significant loss of income” because of the pandemic.

For Stable Homes Stable Schools, they must have a child enrolled in an elementary school in the Minneapolis Public Schools and make 50% or less of the area median income — about $45,000 for a family of three.

The city says it will not ask about immigration status.

How much can a family get?

Most will receive $1,500 payments, while some large families could receive up to $2,000.

When and how can I apply?

The city will open applications at 9 a.m. Wednesday and will accept them through noon April 27.

Applications will be available at minneapolismn.gov/coronavirus/gap-funding in English, Hmong, Oromo, Somali and Spanish.

Starting Wednesday, people who do not have internet access will be able to call the Tenant Resource Center at 612-302-3129 and leave a voice mail. The center is preparing for about 1,000 calls a day and expects to return each voice mail within three days.

How do the payments work?

The money will go directly to a landlord or utility company. It can be used to pay late rent, rent due within 15 days or utility bills. Because the renters are not receiving the payment directly, they will not have to report it as income, according to the city.

How many people will get money?

The city said it hopes to help at least 1,500 households but acknowledges that many more will probably apply. The city is working to create criteria for a random selection process.

I applied for a small business loan through the Gap Funding Plan. Can I get rent help?

Yes.

Is there assistance for homeowners?

The Gap Funding Plan is only for renters. The city separately gives money to the Minnesota Homeownership Center and suggests that people contact that organization for help with mortgage payments.

How is the city paying for this program?

The city is using money from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as well as money freed up when the city got additional federal grant money to cover other expenses.