Important Update

A request for proposals (RFP) was launched on April 4, 2024 and applications were due Monday, April 29, 2024 at 4:30 p.m.

If funds remain after this RFP, or if additional funds are identified, the program will reopen for applications later in 2024.

Program Overview

Through the Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) Preservation Fund, the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul (HRA) is offering 0% interest deferred subordinate mortgages of 20-30 years for acquisitions of rental properties with at least 3 units through a competitive application process. All loans are deferred, 0% interest loans that are fully repayable at the end of term.

In return, the applicant/buyer agrees to a Declaration on the property that holds at least 80% of the units affordable at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) or below, including 20% of those units at 50% Area Median Income (AMI). This includes both rent and income limits, based on the Multifamily Tax Subsidy Projects (MTSP) Ramsey County data from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. This information is based on HUD’s metro area AMI data for the Twin Cities region. A table of the current limits is included in the Rent and Income Limits section below.

At a high level, the HRA and NOAH Preservation Fund seek to:  

  • Support acquisitions of “naturally occurring” affordable housing (NOAH) rental properties,
  • Preserve NOAH units for at least 20 years,
  • Better connect NOAH units to income-eligible renters,
  • Continue to provide high-quality housing opportunities to low-income renters, and
  • Mitigate displacement of low-income households.

HRA Preservation Funding Priorities

The HRA supports innovative approaches to NOAH preservation which leverage private capital, include traditional and non-traditional buyers, and preserve affordability without displacing existing residents. The NOAH Preservation Fund is intentionally flexible to support the variety of gap financing needs across different types of acquisitions. When evaluating project proposals, staff will consider the following priorities:

  • Properties with a greater number of units in a building or assembled in a portfolio available for sale through a single closing.
  • Properties with a feasible plan for a limited equity cooperative or other form of community ownership as described by the applicant.
  • Acquisition of properties by small and emerging developers and owner/operators.
  • Developers who participated in the City's Emerging and BIPOC Developer Training and Engagement Initiative, or in other community initiatives for emerging developers, such as the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Real Estate Diversity Initiative (ReDI), LISC Developers of Color Cohort, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund Emerging Developers program, etc. are encouraged to apply for funding.
  • Deeper commitment to restricted rent requirements, either through longer period of affordability (e.g. 30 years) or more deeply affordable units, i.e. 30% AMI or 50% AMI units.
  • Applications that maximize outside leverage such as mortgage financing, equity, or philanthropic sources and have lower subsidy per unit.
  • Participation in other programs which provide housing opportunities to individuals with housing barriers such as criminal history.


An eligible borrower must demonstrate:

  • The capacity to own and operate high-quality, well-managed affordable housing.
  • Sufficient financing to address maintenance issues as described in a capital needs assessment (CNA) of the property.
  • Sufficient knowledge of NOAH property finances and property management, as evidenced by one of the following:
    • Attendance at the NOAH proforma training (March 6) and a property management training (March 5, March 27, April 27) as described in the Trainings & Events section below;


    • Share a description of your relevant experience that could substitute for the trainings, such as attendance at other training opportunities or types of real estate experience.

An eligible property must:

  • Be located in the City of Saint Paul with 3+ eligible rental housing units.
  • Have at least 80% of the units affordable, consisting of 60% of units at 60% AMI or below and 20% of units at 50% AMI or below.
  • Not have been built with low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) or other subsidies.

See full program guidelines for more details, including funding terms, underwriting guidelines, and funding priorities.

Application Timeline

  • April 4: Application window opens, RFP & scorecard made publicly available
  • April 8 – 29: Applicants meet with City staff for pre-application meetings (required)
  • April 29 at 4:30 p.m. Central Time: Applications due via email to
    • All applications, including supplemental materials, must be submitted to City staff on or before the due date.
    • See full list of required steps and materials in the Application Process section below.
  • May: Applications selected
    • Staff will assign a score to projects based on a scoring matrix developed from the preservation priorities and underwriting guidelines.
    • Selections will be made approximately 3-4 weeks after the application due date.
    • If there are enough high scoring projects, City staff may utilize the full $3M available in the Fund. 

Application Process

Step 1: Demonstrate your knowledge of NOAH property finance & management

  • Have attended in-person NOAH proforma training on March 6, 2024, and
  • Attend in-person property management training (options listed under Trainings and Events below)


  • Share a description of your relevant experience that could substitute for the trainings, such as attendance at other training opportunities or types of real estate experience.

Step 2: Schedule & attend your pre-application meeting with City staff

  • Identify the property you plan to acquire
  • Identify your first mortgage lender bank
  • Email with your step 1 information and request a pre-application meeting
  • Invite first mortgage lender to the meeting. If the lender cannot attend, the applicant should have a representative from the lender send an email to City staff that confirms proforma assumptions about lender financing terms and demonstrates at least a soft intent to offer financing. A formal commitment letter will be required at the underwriting stage.
  • Draft financial proforma for review and discussion at the meeting.
  • Attend pre-application meeting with City staff and, if available, first mortgage lender.

Step 3: Email materials to by 4:30 p.m. CT on April 29, 2024

  • Application form (included in RFP)
  • Financial proforma template
  • Rent roll – a current listing of units in the property including unit size (Studio, 1 BR, 2 BR, 3 BR, etc.) and the monthly rent amount.
    • Note: Resident names and incomes are not required. Please anonymize the rent roll.
  • Expenses - documentation of 3 years of management and operating expenses for the property, or for a property of similar size, location and condition.
  • Purchase agreement, or other evidence of site control for proposed acquisition - must be submitted along with all materials by the due date in order to be considered for financing.
  • Note: borrowers are encouraged to include a termination clause within the purchase agreement in case the project is not selected for funding.

Selection Process

Applicants should review the underwriting guidelines carefully when preparing both the application form and financial proforma. The selection process will include the following review of projects by staff:

  • Threshold review: review of each project to see if the proposal meets the HRA-approved program guidelines.
    • This includes but is not limited to:
      • Debt Coverage Ratio
      • Maximum Rents Proposed
      • Management and Operating Expense Records
      • Replacement and Operating Reserves
  • Alignment with affordable housing preservation priorities: during each RFP round, staff will review each project to determine which projects are most closely aligned with the HRA's preservation priorities.
  • Financial feasibility review, including guidance on developing proforma assumptions: Projects can best demonstrate financial feasibility through:
    • Relatively conservative assumptions about project income and expenses, as it is unlikely that a new operator of a NOAH property can drastically alter a project’s financial operating realities.
    • Generous assumptions about the need for rehabilitation of the property, as most NOAH properties require maintenance or renovation. First mortgage financing or owner funds can be used to support capital repairs.
    • A debt coverage ratio that provides sufficient cash flow to the project to hedge against the possibility of increased vacancy and/or increased maintenance costs or capital repairs, either immediately based on a capital needs assessment (CNA) or in the first few years after acquisition. Along those lines, the published underwriting guidelines indicate a minimum debt coverage ratio (DCR) of 1.11 in year one, and a maximum DCR of 1.25 in year one. In most cases, a project with a debt coverage ratio between 1.20 and 1.25 should have sufficient cash flow to manage risk without resulting in over subsidization of the project. Projects with a lower debt coverage ratio between 1.11 in Y1, and as low as 1.0 in Y2 and future years do still meet the minimum underwriting guidelines for the program, but applicants with limited cash flow projected should be prepared to explain how their project will manage the risk of increased costs or lower revenue.
  • Additional Feasibility review: Staff review may also include meetings with members of the project team, visit project sites, consultation with references for the project team, and onsite examination of the building and site to assess feasibility and viability of the acquisition and proposed business plan.
  • HRA goal to select a mix of small and large projects: The program is intended to support a mix of small and large projects. Approximately 2-3 projects will be selected per application cycle. This means that otherwise well-aligned projects may not be selected if there are more proposals than funding can support.

City staff will use a scoring matrix to assess and select projects based on the categories outlined above.

Trainings and Events

Past events

  • March 5, 2024: Property Management Fundamentals offered by Multi Housing Association (MHA)
    • This event was optional to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of NOAH property management.
  • March 6, 2024: Small NOAH Proforma Training Workshop offered by Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF)
    • This event was optional to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of NOAH property finances.
    • Email to be added to the waitlist for the next training.
  • March 7, 2024: Rehab Realities Roundtable
    • This event was optional and included as a potential event of interest.
  • March 27: New Property Owner Seminar offered by Multi Housing Association (MHA) and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF)
    • This event was optional to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of NOAH property management.
  • April 10, 17, and 27: Shared Ownership Loan Fund Information Session offered by the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD)
    • This event is optional for potential applicants who are interested in cooperative ownership models.
    • What: Learn more about MCCD’s offerings and shared ownership.
      • Community Wealth Building & Shared Ownership as a Job Creation and Retention Strategy
      • Eligible Shared Ownership Models
      • Employee-Owned Cooperatives and Other Forms of Employee-Ownership
      • Purchasing, Producer, Consumer, Marketing, and Processing Cooperatives
      • Real Estate Investment Cooperatives
      • Commercial Community Land Trusts
      • Loan Financing Terms & Interest
      • MCCD’s Business Advising & Specialized Technical Assistance
    • When: April 10 and 27 from 10 - 11 a.m.; April 17 from 6 - 7 p.m.
    • Where: Virtual
    • Cost: Free
  • April 27: Landlord 101 offered by City of Saint Paul Department of Safety & Inspections (DSI)
    • This event is optional to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of NOAH property management.
    • What: The Landlord 101 course is designed for the first-time landlord in the City of Saint Paul, to provide foundations for the development of their property management skills, and for those experienced city landlords who wish to better understand tenant, landlord relationships and responsibilities. Landlord 101 Certification of Attendance is awarded upon completion, which will meet the requirements of SPLC 40.04(b) (4), requiring first time Fire Certificate of Occupancy applicants to complete an approved course of instruction. A copy of the Landlord 101 course materials will be provided to each participant.
    • When: April 27, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    • Where: To be shared after registration
    • Cost: Free
    • Register: by mailing or faxing Landlord 101 registration form

Rent and Income Limits

Household Income Limits

# of persons








30% AMI








50% AMI








60% AMI








Maximum Rent Limits

# of bedrooms








30% AMI








50% AMI








60% AMI








Note: the proforma template will direct you to calculate utilities per unit, which are factored into the rent limit. The overall cost of rent and utilities for one unit cannot exceed the relative rent limit. (Source)


Programs which provide housing opportunities to individuals with housing barriers

  • HousingLink’s Beyond Backgrounds program supports property owners in providing housing opportunities to individuals with housing barriers.
    • Example of use:
      • Saint Paul’s Office of Financial Empowerment built on the Beyond Backgrounds program to develop Returning Home Saint Paul, a partnership with Housing Link and Ujamaa Place.
      • Check out the program evaluation report produced by Minnesota Justice Research Center to learn more about these kinds of programs and how it could fit into your project ideas.

Building decarbonization/energy efficiency

Tenant relocation requirements

Equitable affordable housing development

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last Edited: June 26, 2024