What is Section 3?

Section 3 is a provision of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968 that promotes local economic development, neighborhood economic improvement, and individual self-sufficiency. Section 3 is intended to ensure that when employment or contracting opportunities are generated because a Section 3 covered project or activity requires the employment of additional persons or the awarding of contracts for work, preference must be given to low and very-low income persons or business concerns residing in the community where the project is located.

Section 3 covered projects involve the construction or rehabilitation of housing (including reduction of lead-based paint hazards), or other public construction such as: street repair, sewage line repair or installation, updates to building facades, etc.

Section 3 is both race and gender neutral. The preferences provided under this regulation are based on income level and location.

About the Twin Cities Section 3 Collaborative

The Twin Cities Section 3 Collaborative empowers Twin Cities metro area Low Income and Public Housing Residents and Businesses to connect to jobs, training opportunities, contracting opportunities, and apply for Section 3 certification.  The Consortium consists of the City of Saint Paul, St. Paul Public Housing Agency, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Anoka County, Washington Community Development Agency, and the Dakota County Community Development Agency.  The purpose of the Collaborative is to consolidate resources and be a One-Stop Shop for all things Section 3 in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.  What this means is when you get certified with the Collaborative, your Business and/or Resident certification is reciprocated with any of the agencies and offices in the Collaborative.  Furthermore, you can use the information here to gain access to jobs, training, and contracting opportunities offered by any of the Collaborative members and more.   

Am I Eligible?

An individual is eligible as a HUD SECTION 3 RESIDENT if they meet the following criteria:

1) Reside in the 13-county Twin Cities metro area, which includes the counties of: Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright counties in Minnesota; and Pierce and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.

and at least ONE of the following:

2) Applicant must receive the following type(s) of Public Assistance:  MFIP, DWP, WIC, Heating Assistance, Free or Reduced Lunch Program, or Public Housing or Indian Housing; or 

3) Cumulative household income does not exceed the income limits established by HUD. Cumulative household income includes the personal income of all individuals living in the individual’s home. The limits are scaled for household size in 2019:




















A business is eligible as a HUD SECTION 3 BUSINESS if they meet the following criteria:

1) Business must operate/headquarter within the 13-county Twin Cities metro area, which includes the counties of: Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright counties in Minnesota; and Pierce and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.

and at least ONE of the following:

1.  BUSINESS OWNED BY A SECTION 3 RESIDENT:  The business is 51% or more owned by Section 3 Residents.

2.  BUSINESS EMPLOYS SECTION 3 RESIDENTS:   At least 30% of full-time, permanent employees of the business are currently Section 3 Residents or were Section 3 Residents within 3 years from beginning their employment with the business. Each full-time employee claiming preference must complete the Section 3 Resident Self Certification.

3.  BUSINESS COMMITS TO SUBCONTRACTING TO OTHER SECTION 3 BUSINESSES:  The business commits to subcontracting over 25% of the dollar award of all subcontracts to Section 3 Business Concerns who meet one of the above qualifications. An authorized company representative must provide a signed, one-page letter on company letterhead stating the company’s commitment to exceed the 25% subcontracting goal, and a brief plan indicating with which Section 3 firms the company currently has relationships and what strategies will be used to exceed the 25% subcontracting goal.

For faster processing, please print out applications below, complete it legibly, and email it to Jef Yang at jef.yang@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

For Section 3 Residents

Resident Certification Application

Jobs and Training Opportunities (Link)

For Section 3 Businesses

Business Self Certification Application

Contracting Opportunities, Training, Networking, and Community Resources (Link)

Current Section 3 Business List


Federal HUD Section 3 Business Registry

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is pleased to announce the national expansion of the Section 3 Business Registry, which had been piloted previously in Detroit, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. The Section 3 Business Registry allows businesses that meet one of the definitions of a Section 3 Business Concern to self-certify their status with HUD. It also offers a searchable online database of self-certified Section 3 business concerns that can be used by government agencies, Public Housing Authorities, developers, contractors and non-profits to notify Section 3 business concerns about the availability of local HUD-funded contracts. HUD anticipates that the Section 3 Business Registry will help increase the visibility of Section 3 business concerns and provide them better access to HUD-funded contracting opportunities in their communities. Additionally, the registry is a valuable tool to help recipients of covered HUD funding achieve compliance with the requirements of Section 3. Please visit www.hud.gov/sec3biz to learn more about HUD’s Section 3 Business Registry.

Section 3 Working Capital Loan Program

The City of Saint Paul sponsors a working capital loan program targeting low-income Section 3 businesses in and around the City of Saint Paul. Applicants who meet certain criteria may be eligible for loans that they may be unable to qualify for in the private marketplace. For more information, please contact Brian Singer at the Neighborhood Development Center at 651-379-8422.

Tax Incentives

Employers who hire Section 3 residents may be eligible to receive the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This credit reduces an employer's cost of doing business. For a step-by-step guide to earning a tax credit for new hires, view the WOTC Fact Sheet. For more information, visit the WOTC website or call the WOTC Coordinator at 651-259-7507.


Last Edited: April 3, 2020