Annual Report: Simplifying Affordable Housing

HousingLink Logo

2022 Annual Report

Amplifying Choice and Equity

HousingLink strategically partners with other agencies that serve and reach marginalized communities. In partnership, the projects we work on like Beyond Backgrounds and Housing Hub strive to combat the impacts of inequity and racism. Read our Racial Justice statement.


Build Wealth MN
CAMHI Community Adult Mental Health Initiative (Benton, Stearns, Sherburne, and Wright Counties)
City of Minneapolis
City of St. Paul
Dakota County
Dunbar Strandness
Family Housing Fund
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Greater MN Housing Fund
Hennepin County
Itasca Consulting Group
JP Morgan Chase

Marshall School of Business, USC
Metropolitan Council
Minnesota Housing
Minnesota Management and Budget
Orbach Affordable Housing
Ramsey County
Returning Home St. Paul
Sail Property Management and Consulting
Southern MN Regional and Legal Services
Suburban Area
Continuum of Care
University of Minnesota
Urban Land Institute
Vail Place

Increasing Housing Access and Knowledge through our Website in '22

1,784,088 Searches for Affordable Housing
22,607 Affordable Vacancies & Waiting List Openings Listed
3,206,514 Page Views of Housing Resources 
127,220 Views of housing authority waiting list status
153,199 Visits for subsidized housing information
6,648 Views of Voucher Assistance Program information for owners
and managers
6,834 Listings that would consider a section 8 voucher
2,973 Visits for Fair Housing Information
1,970 Visits for landlord education on Fair Housing, Preventive Maintenance,
Regulations and more!
28,097,528 Notifications of housing openings sent via text and email since 2017


Beyond Backgrounds


Housing access is especially difficult for people with criminal, credit and rental history barriers. Our Beyond Backgrounds program helps provide relief to people with these challenges. For the past 5 years people could only use Beyond Backgrounds by referral.

In 2022 we opened the doors to anyone who needs it! When an owner/manager rents to someone who buys Beyond Backgrounds Financial Assurance, they can draw up to $2,000 above the security deposit to cover damage to the unit, unpaid rent, legal fees, and more.

Over 300 renters have found housing under this new Beyond Backgrounds program model!


Success Stories

"I was having trouble getting accepted to an apartment because I have a low credit score, and even lost my Housing Choice Voucher. However, with Beyond Backgrounds I was able to find a place close to my kid's school and their friends. My kids and I now have a safe place to live." - I.J.

"I really couldn't have found a place without Beyond Backgrounds." - D.M.

"This is a game changer and it's so important for small landlords like me. I have been hurt by a few tenants doing a lot of damage, and I don't have the extra funds to cover that type of cost. Now, I can rent to people and not have to worry as much about what might happen. I like giving renters a second chance, so this is immensely important for me as a landlord.” - Michelle


Development of Housing Hub continued in 2022. Housing Hub is a service that will transform how low-income renters access housing waiting lists, and how properties manage their waiting lists and fill openings. Housing Hub is now available for properties to add their waitlists!


We help community leaders, human services professionals, renters, and owners/managers stay informed. Here is the information on which they rely:

Minneapolis and St. Paul Rental Housing Briefs

These monthly reports are among our most popular published products. In a snapshot, readers get an update on rents, affordability, subsidized housing & more. They help community leaders and citizens understand the state of rental housing in their cities.

View Minneapolis Rental Housing Brief
View St Paul Rental Housing Brief

Housing Connection

Housing Connection

This bi-weekly e-newsletter is sent to 3,300+ subscribers. It features updates on affordable housing resources, places that accept Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), notifications of subsidized waiting list openings, affordable housing news, events, job openings, and more.

Subscribe Here

Landlord Link

This monthly e-newsletter is sent to over 2,000 property owners and managers. It features property management tips, upcoming education and networking events, rental housing news, and programs owners and managers can access to improve their properties and have better renting experiences!

Subscribe Here

Housing Authority Waiting List Alerts (HAWL)

Housing Authority Waiting List Alerts (HAWL)

Housing Authority Waiting List alerts (HAWL) is HousingLink's longest running e-newsletter. It notifies 8,000+ subscribers when a major waiting list opens for a subsidized housing program such as Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

Subscribe Here


HousingLink is the gold standard for affordable rental housing data in Minnesota. Here are our offerings:

  • Streams - A searchable database of subsidized rental housing in the Twin Cities.
  • Twin Cities Rental Revue - A subscription-based quarterly report that shows the median rents for multifamily, single family, duplex, condo, and townhome rentals in the Twin Cities metro area.
  • Twin Cities Rental Housing Trends - An interactive, rolling, 12-month visualization of key rental market trends in the Twin Cities.
  • MN Housing Measures - Private market rent data contributes to this annually-updated, interactive visualization of three key measures related to affordable rental housing in Minnesota, in partnership with The McKnight Foundation.
  • Housing Counts - An annual report of affordable housing production and preservation in the Twin Cities Metro, in partnership with Family Housing Fund.
  • Hennepin County Rental Housing Brief - A quarterly report featuring a summary of affordable listings in Hennepin County and intended for use by developers and policymakers with an interest in affordable housing.
  • Rent Reasonableness data for housing authorities on a contractual basis.
  • Housing research for community agencies as requested.


Allina FoundationMetropolitan Council
Andersen Corporate FoundationMinnesota Housing
American Heart AssociationMinnesota & St. Paul Foundation
Bloomington HRAMinneapolis Public Housing Authority
CH RobinsonOtto Bremer Foundation
Dakota CountyPlymouth HRA
Family Housing FundRadias Health & Mental Health Resources
F.R. Bigelow FoundationRamsey County CDBG
Google, Inc. (in-kind)Redmon Law Chartered (in-kind)
Hennepin CountyScott County
Hugh J. Andersen FoundationScott County CDA
Initiative FoundationSt. Paul - Returning Home St. Paul
Many individual donorsSt. Paul Foundation
Mardag FoundationSt. Paul Public Housing Agency
Margaret A. Cargill Fund of the Minneapolis FoundationStearns County
McKnight FoundationSuburban Metro Area Continuum of Care
Medica FoundationWashington CDA




Katie Topinka
Housing Development Policy Coordinator, City of Minneapolis CPED


Dorine Onyancha
Property Manager/Compliance Specialist, Orbach Affordable Housing Solutions


Michael Grover
Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (partial year)


Wes Johnson
Loan Portfolio & Servicing Manager, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund


Ellen Sahli
President, Family Housing Fund


Dave Baker
Senior Technical Recruiter, J.P. Morgan Chase

Todd Eatmon
President, Core Living

Summer Jefferson
Housing Tax Credit Supervisor, Minnesota Housing

Tyler Keyes
Housing Program Director, Vail Place

Laura Jelinek
Senior Leadership Attorney: Housing, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services

Cara Melvin
LISW, Manager, Programs & Ancillary Services, State Court Administrator’s Office, Park Apartment

Terri Smith
Director, Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority

Libby Starling
Director of Community Development and Engagement, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis


Finances  FINANCES

Income: Granite 44%, Contracts 32%, Earned Income 7%, In Kind/Other 7%; Expenses: Program 81%, Administrative 13%, Fundraising 6%


1400 Van Buren St NE, Ste 215
Minneapolis, MN 55413