FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 14, 2020
Contact: Teddy Tschann
[St. Paul, MN] – At West Broadway Crescent Apartments today, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced a $100 million housing assistance program to help prevent evictions, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. The $100 million investment will be funded with federal dollars through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit families across the state hard. I’ve said throughout this fight that my top priority is Minnesotans’ safety, health, and wellbeing. And we know that stable housing is key to safety, health, and wellbeing,” said Governor Walz. “We hope this program will bring some relief to Minnesotans across the state who are struggling to afford their bills because of the pandemic.”
“Minnesota faced a housing crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and for some Minnesotans, a lost job or unexpected expenses have put their housing at risk,” said Lt. Governor Flanagan. “This housing assistance will help us keep individuals and families in their homes throughout this pandemic.”
In conjunction with the Governor’s announcement today, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency launched a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program Request for Proposals to select local organizations to administer the housing assistance program. Grants will be made to local administrators to provide outreach; accept and process applications from households requesting assistance; validate household eligibility; and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households to help maintain housing stability.
Local grant administrators will be selected in the coming weeks, and Minnesota Housing anticipates Minnesotans can begin applying for assistance with local grant administrators in the first part of August. Additional information about the program can be found on the Minnesota Housing website at www.mnhousing.gov.
“This housing assistance will allow Minnesotans to stay safe and stay home while we endure the effects of a pandemic,” said Housing Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho. “At the same time, we must keep the need to create and preserve more housing front and center. We need more housing.”
The Walz-Flanagan Administration has been working to prevent and end homelessness and housing instability both long before and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Administration has been working with communities to provide funding for outreach, shelter, and critical services. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in Minnesota, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor fought for state appropriations and provided more than $26 million to help shelters and street outreach workers give Minnesotans a safe place to go, creating more than 2,100 additional safe spaces statewide.
The Governor has helped maintain housing stability for Minnesotans struggling to afford their rent by suspending evictions. State resources have also been used to partner with local communities to provide hotel rooms and trained staff during and after the protests that followed George Floyd’s death.