Housing Programs and Domestic Violence Awareness Month Were Focus of October's Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Forum
October 14, 2021
Housing Programs and Domestic Violence Awareness Month Were Focus of October’s Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Forum
- Anisa Hajimumin, Assistant Commissioner for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
October’s Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Forum shared lots of great resources for community members on housing programs available from Minnesota Housing. We also discussed Domestic Violence Awareness Month and learned about a new Restaurant Outreach Program from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Housing Program Opportunities
Minnesota Housing is Minnesota’s state housing finance agency. Their agency believes housing is the foundation for success, so they collaborate with individuals, communities, and partners to create, preserve, and finance affordable housing. One of the main goals of their work is to prevent and end homelessness.
Cheryl Rice from Minnesota Housing went over several of the housing programs available to renters, homeowners, and first-time homebuyers.
Start Up Program – For first-time homebuyers. The definition of a first-time homebuyer is someone who has not had an ownership interest in a principal residence for the past three years.
Step Up Program – For current or repeat homebuyers. Certain first-time homebuyers can apply to this program if their income exceeds the Start Up Program’s limit.
Homeownership Capacity Program – Launched in 2014 in response to Minnesota’s large disparities in homeownership rates between white households and BIPOC households. This program consists of non-profits helping prepare low-income renters and BIPOC households with the goal of homeownership to become sustainable homeowners through financial education and coaching.
Fix Up Loan Program – Offers affordable, fixed interest rates with loans from $2,000 to $75,000 for home improvement projects.
HomeHelpMN Program – Mitigates financial hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, and displacements. This program is for homeowners who experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020 and will be accepting applications soon.
RentHelpMN – Provides support for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Renters who apply can use the funding to pay for rental expenses such as rent, utilities, other housing expenses and future rent. For more help, call 2-1-1 to be referred to a local community partner who can help you complete your application.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Next, Biiftuu Adam from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety gave an overview on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is not just physical violence, but includes emotional abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, and more. Domestic violence is a lot more common than people may realize. One in four women and one in 10 men experience domestic violence. The best thing to do if you know someone experiencing domestic violence is to listen, be supportive and create a safety plan to help them leave their current situation. The Department of Public Safety’s website offers a statewide directory of available services for domestic abuse victims. One of the many community-based services available is the Minnesota Day One Crisis Line. This is a statewide 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. For help, please call 1-866-223-1111.
Minnesota Department of Revenue Launches Restaurant Outreach Program
Finally, Gina Amacher and Jesse Fronek from the Sales and Use Tax Division of the Minnesota Department of Revenue gave an overview of the new Restaurant Outreach Program. There are many challenges when it comes to running a restaurant. Owners can get very busy focusing on the day-to-day business operations and might forget to stay updated on their recordkeeping. The Restaurant Outreach Program was created in January 2021 to educate small restaurant owners and encourage long term compliance. They are currently reaching out to small and independently run restaurants to share available tax resources and to answer any of their tax-related questions. So far, they’ve received positive feedback from the restaurant owners who they’ve been able to assist.
If you missed this month’s forum, you can watch our discussion on DEED’s YouTube channel.