Jul 29, 2021

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.

Rental Assistance

If you are struggling to pay rent or utility payments, apply for rental assistance from the State of Minnesota (RentHelpMN): www.renthelpmn.org

You can also call or text 211 for more information or help navigating the rental assistance application.

Assistance for Landlords

If your renters are behind on payments and your properties are located in Dakota, Hennepin, or Ramsey Counties, you may be able to begin an application for rent assistance dollars on behalf of your renters through the Zero Balance Project.

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.

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

Eviction Prevention

Minnesota’s eviction moratorium is now phasing out. Gradually, over a series of key dates, evictions will be allowed for lease violations and nonpayment of rent. Renters with a pending application for rent assistance cannot be evicted until June 2022. If you are behind on rent payments or you are having difficulty paying you rent, apply for assistance through RentHelpMN right away. Contact your landlord to let them know that you are having difficulty and that you are seeking assistance. In Hennepin, Ramsey, and Dakota Counties, the Zero Balance Project is also available to landlords to apply for assistance on their renters’ behalf. It is important for property owners and renters to communicate with each other to navigate these programs.

(Photo source: Minnesota Housing)

More information is available from the Housing Justice Center and HOMELine. Legal help, mediation, and social services are available to help renters and landlords navigate the rent assistance process and prevent eviction. More information on legal help and mediation is below.

Food

Utilities

RentHelpMN – the State of Minnesota’s rental assistance program – will accept applications for past due utility bills, including gas, electric, water, and sewer. Apply as soon as you can.

Many utility companies – including Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy – will not disconnect your service, will not charge you late fees, and will not report missed payments to credit agencies during the pandemic. This is by order of the Public Utilities Commission. If you are financially impacted by COVID-19, call your utility company and let them know. Some companies are making special arrangements for households impacted by the pandemic.

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, announced a moratorium on foreclosures during the crisis to help people stay in their homes. The American Rescue Plan included additional assistance for homeowners to avoid foreclosure, and the assistance will soon be available.

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.

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/


Didn’t find what you’re looking for? More information on housing help is here.

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