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Learn About Your Housing Options

Click on the links below to automatically scroll down to learn more about housing options in the 10-county Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area.

Ownership: Condominiums & Cooperatives
Market Rate Rentals: Independent & with Some Services
Assisted Living Rentals: Supportive Housing with Services
Subsidized Rentals: Independent Rentals & Rentals with

Memory Care: Residences Specializing in Dementia &

Residential Care Homes: General Care & Memory Care

Ownership: Condominiums & Cooperatives

Condominium Ownership

Condominium ownership is a term that describes a situation in which residents hold the title to the unit in which they live, but all the common property is held by the residents together. Mortgages and taxes are the same as for any owned home, and fees are collected to cover the costs associated with the common elements (exterior maintenance, landscape, parking sites, cleaning of common areas, and so on). A reverse mortgage can be obtained on most condominiums, which can useful if there is ever a substantial assessment. There is generally an elected Board of Directors that makes decisions for the group of owners.

Cooperative Housing

Cooperative housing is a corporation, composed of residents, who own and operate the property. Residents purchase shares in the corporation in order to live there. Members sign an occupancy agreement in which they agree to pay a one-time membership fee as well as their portion of the mortgage and maintenance costs. ‘Limited equity’ coops are those that allow the seller to realize only a certain amount of gain or profit when the unit is resold. Because the living space is not owned outright, there may be certain conditions in selling one’s membership and equity; these are explained at the time of purchase.

Market Rate Rentals

  • Rentals with Income Guidelines
  • Campus Style Communities
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities Life Care Communities

Market Rate Rentals

“Market rate” means that a housing unit is paid for by rent, in the same way as any apartment. A lease is signed that states the monthly rent for a period of time; usually six months or a year. Sometimes month to month leases are available. At the end of the lease the landlord can increase the rent.

Apartment sizes can vary greatly. Studio and efficiencies are available to 1, 2, and 3+ bedroom apartments with one or more bathrooms. Complexes may offer several different versions of an apartment and costs can vary by adding a bathroom, sunroom, square footage, or view. Costs can also be affected by the addition of services, such as housekeeping and meals. Typically apartment complexes are low rise or high rise apartment buildings, but some units are available that are townhouses, where each unit has its own entrance or quad homes, a group of 4+ apartments connected in the center.

Rentals with Income Guidelines

Some developments may have a percentage of the units set aside for moderate income residents as part of government financial help for the original development. These apartments are below market rate and renters pay a set amount for their monthly rent.

Independent Housing: Housing with a Few Services and Campus Style Communities

In terms of services, apartment complexes can vary greatly. They can offer no services to a few, such as dining and housekeeping. Anyone living in a market rate housing unit may also be eligible for services from outside sources.
Other types of apartment complexes include campus style settings with assisted living and memory care nearby, but in separate buildings. They can also have a mix of independent and assisted living apartments in the same building or wings that offer independent living and assisted living.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities & Life Care Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities CCRCs, and Life Care Communities both offer a continuum of care that allows residents to “age in place”. Campuses for these types of communities include separate housing for those who live independently, assisted living for those who need more support, and skilled nursing care for those who need continuous care. Residents of CCRCs pay an endowment fee upon entering as do residents of a Life Care Community, but residents of CCRCs pay for services as they need them and Life Care residents pay a flat fee that remains the same as long as they live there. For both types of communities there is a second person fee for services.

Assisted Living

Market Rate Rentals with Services

Market rate rentals with assisted living services are sometimes called Assisted Living or Housing with Special Services, or Service Rich Housing. These rentals are just like market rate rentals, except that they have more services available to residents. This may include help with some daily chores, or meals, medication reminders, or other services from a ‘menu’. Services are paid by the resident, either separately or as a part of the rent. In some circumstances Alternative Care (AC) or Elderly Waivers (EW) may cover some or all of the costs. Read about Alternative Care (AC) and Elderly Waivers (EW) in the article ‘Subsidies for Services’. In many cases, there is an understanding that the menu will be used more as one ages.

Subsidized Rental Apartments

Independent Rentals and Rentals with Services

It can take time to qualify for and find housing that is affordable. But the result can be worth the effort. Rents in these facilities vary according to ability to pay, based on gross income, (before taxes or Medicare deductions), and assets. Assets include income from Social Security, wages, pensions, welfare, etc. and interest or dividends from IRAs, Certificates of Deposit, stocks, and bonds. With assets such as stocks and bonds only the interest from the asset is counted as income. Assets such as cars and clothing are not counted.

Types of Subsidies

Subsidies for apartments vary, but the most common subsidy requires the renter pay 30% of their gross income for rent. Another subsidy has a rent range, meaning there are lower and upper limits to how much rent you are required to pay based on your income.


Services can be provided on-site and can include assistance with housekeeping and laundry, meals, and on-call nursing. Personal assistance with grooming, dressing, bathing is also available.

Building Amenities

Amenities differ from building to building, but all buildings have community and laundry rooms and elevators. Wheelchair accessible apartments are available. A weekly postal van, bookmobile, milkman, and grocery bus or shopping bus help residents take care of their shopping needs. All buildings have large community rooms, some equipped with televisions, pool tables, libraries and card and game tables. Some have an “O.K. Care Program”, where residents must hang an I’M O.K. card on their door by a certain time or someone checks on them. Most are located for easy access to bus lines and shopping.

Income Guidelines for Minneapolis and St. Paul

*Low Income: 1 person: $44,800 / 2 people; $51,200
*Very Low Income: 1 person: $29,350 / 2 people: $33,350

*subject to change

Memory Care

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Residences

A growing number of senior residences specialize in care for people with Alzheimer’s and related symptoms of dementia. Some are stand alone facilities that are Dementia Only, while others are a specialized unit in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. Twenty-four hour supervision is required along with security systems to safeguard residents. Residents may have shared or private rooms or small apartments. Some costs are basic, but they also depend on the level of care a person needs. Residences may have specialized building features that help minimize confusion and agitation; secured wandering paths, color-coded hallways, visual cues. Professionally run communities provide ways to help build self-esteem, preserve dignity, nurture independence, and remind residents of a happy time and place. Often, repeated basic skills and familiar tasks or routines help stimulate the mind and keep residents from feeling isolated or confused. Of course nothing can compare to the attention of family and friends and many communities are extending visiting times and are providing private gathering places for people within the residence.

Residential Care Homes: General Care and Memory Care

Residential Care Homes offer the opportunity to receive the assistance you need in an intimate home setting—in a real house located in a residential neighborhood. They offer professional services with a high ratio of staff available to assist as needed. These services range from very basic assistance or reminders, to memory care and complex service needs. The small setting offers the opportunity for individualized care which caters to unique needs and preferences. Most operate with a philosophy of care that allows ‘aging in place’, with more intensive services available as care needs progress. These homes offer a ‘hands-on management’ approach. Most have owners available on site. They are licensed in a variety of ways, all of which involve regulation and inspection by State, county and/or local agencies. The intimate, family feel of these homes make them an excellent choice for memory care, with natural comfort stemming from the home environment.


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