Sep 2, 2020

Resources for Households Impacted by COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, many households are looking for help covering their basic needs. While the Family Housing Fund does not provide direct assistance to individuals, we have compiled a list of resources that can help during this challenging times. Please reach out to them directly, as Family Housing Fund is not able to take phone calls about these programs. We will continue to update this resource page to provide the most up-to-date and useful information.

Housing Assistance

The State of Minnesota is providing housing assistance to help Minnesotans pay rent or make mortgage payments.

The COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) provides housing assistance payments to help prevent eviction, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners. Local administrators will review applications from individuals and families requesting assistance, verify eligibility, and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households.

For complete details on who is eligible to apply and what costs are covered by the program, visit www.211unitedway.org. Interested applicants may also call 211 (Toll Free: 1.800.543.7709; Local: 651.291.0211) or text “MNRENT” to 898-211 to learn more. The 211 helpline has dedicated multilingual staff available to answer questions about the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Unemployment Insurance

If your work hours have been reduced or eliminated, apply for unemployment insurance from the State of Minnesota. Apply online in English, Spanish, Somali, or Hmong: www.uimn.org

You should sign up immediately if any of the situations listed on that page apply to you. They are asking that you sign up online, as phone lines are reserved for people who don’t have internet access or who don’t speak English or languages that have translations available on the state website. If this applies to you and you live in the Twin Cities area, call 651-296-3644. English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali languages are available. If you need another language, press 1 and follow the prompts to speak to a representative and request an interpreter.

Impacted workers can apply immediately – the usual waiting period has been waived. If you are sick, quarantined, or home because of an outbreak at your work, you qualify for unemployment regardless if you have actually contracted a communicable disease.

If you stay home due to lack of child care, you qualify for unemployment, but there are some limitations. An applicant must make a reasonable effort to obtain other child care, as well as request time off “or other accommodation” from their employer. If that doesn’t help, then unemployment is an option.

Other Financial Assistance

If you need help paying for rent, food, or childcare, apply online for emergency and cash assistance, food benefits (SNAP), and childcare assistance: https://applymn.dhs.mn.gov/

You can also call the county where you live. Phone lines and language accessibility vary across counties.

  • Hennepin County: 612-596-1300
  • Ramsey County: 651-266-4884
  • Dakota County: 651-554-5611
  • Anoka County: 763-422-7200 (More information on Anoka County EA)
  • Washington County: 651-430-6459
  • Scott County: 952-496-8686
  • Carver County: 952-361-1600

The City of Minneapolis will provide housing assistance for low-income families to help with rent and utilities. Applications closed for this program on April 27, and applicants will learn more in the first week of May. More information: minneapolismn.gov/coronavirus/gap-funding

The City of Saint Paul will provide grants to low-income families impacted by the pandemic. Applications closed on April 19. More information: stpaul.gov/bridge-fund

Eviction Prevention

Governor Walz has ordered a halt to most evictions in Minnesota, so if you miss a rent payment you should not be evicted during this time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered a national ban on evictions for the rest of the year. To qualify for this protection, you must prove that you have lost income, cannot pay rent, and have tried to pay partial rent. You also must show that an eviction is likely to lead to homelessness or doubling up/living in close quarters with others.

If you are having difficulty paying rent, be sure to apply for Minnesota’s CHAP program, unemployment insurance from the State, and other financial assistance from your county, as described above. Contact your landlord to let them know you are having difficulty and see if you can work out a payment plan. If you believe you are about to be evicted despite the governmental protections, contact HOME Line: 612-728-5767. (More information on legal help is below).

If you are a landlord wondering if your properties are subject to the federal CARES Act moratorium, you may use this tool to find out who owns your mortgage.

Food

Utilities

Xcel Energy announced it will indefinitely suspend service disconnections and waive late fees when associated with COVID-19 challenges. Call 1-800-895-4999 for more information. CenterPoint Energy is doing the same for gas. Call 1-800-245-2377. USI Wireless is providing free internet access throughout the City of Minneapolis. Comcast has also expanded access to internet, waiving late fees, and providing free hot spots.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are halting water shut-offs. Your city tap water should be uncontaminated and safe to drink from the tap.

Legal Help

For legal help, call HOME Line’s tenant hotline: 612-728-5767

HOME Line’s services are available in English, Spanish, Somali, and Hmong.

For more information on the executive order to halt evictions, general advice on what to do if you cannot pay rent, and a sample letter to your landlord, visit HOME Line’s website.

Law Help MN has compiled FAQs and other legal resources related to COVID-19 here.

Mediation

Mediation can help renters and landlords come to an agreement that benefits all parties without the need for legal or court action. Reach out to mediators in your county:

Help for Homeowners

If you are a homeowner worried about your ability to pay your mortgage, reach out to your loan servicer as soon as possible, ask for the loss mitigation department, and discuss your options. You can find the number to call on your mortgage bill.

Several federal agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage owners Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have recently announced a temporary moratorium on foreclosures during the crisis to help people stay in their homes.

A network of nonprofit Homeownership Advisors offers nonbiased advice to homeowners in Minnesota to help them keep their homes. Find a Homeownership Advisor offering services in your area.

2020 Census

You should have received the Census survey in your mailbox, but you can also complete the survey online in just a few minutes: https://2020census.gov/en.html

In these uncertain times, it is critical that we have an accurate count of everyone living our communities. The final count will determine federal dollars coming into the state for years, which is incredibly relevant as we address the long-term impacts of this pandemic.

More Health and Human Services

No matter where you live in Minnesota, call the United Way at 2-1-1 or visit www.211unitedway.org/


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