I hope everyone is holding up as well as you possibly can during this difficult situation. While much of the attention regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is focused on Minnesotans’ physical health, we cannot ignore the toll this is taking on people’s mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-MN) has resources available. If you or someone you know is in crisis, text “MN” to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255.
Also, social distancing shouldn’t mean isolation, but for folks with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in our community, this can be a significant problem. The Alzheimer’s Association has online resources, virtual community programs, telephone support groups, caregiver tips and a 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.
This afternoon, Governor Walz unveiled a new COVID-19 dashboard that tracks the virus in Minnesota and provides the latest data on available ventilators, ICU beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), and testing. The dashboard also contains links to a number of important resources for Minnesotans: employer and employee support, housing, child care, and much more. You can access this resource here.
Minnesota’s small business community is experiencing great financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The state of Minnesota and the federal government have a variety of resources available including disaster loans, a small business loan guarantee program, and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has compiled a guide detailing all of these resources in one spot to help businesses determine which programs work best for them. You can access the guide here.
With the growth of our “gig economy,” the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting self-employed Minnesotans particularly hard and I know many in our community have questions about help available for them. For the first time ever, self-employed and contract workers will soon be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Department of Employment and Economic Development is working with the U.S. Labor Department to get the new system up and running to allow these payments to be made. In the meantime, DEED is accepting applications at www.uimn.org, and a helpful guide is available here with step-by-step instructions.
With approximately 420,000 children under the age of 12 living in a household of critical sector essential workers, and about 270,000 of them needing care during this time, child care providers are an essential part of our collective response to this crisis. In the COVID-19 Legislative Aid package – approved by legislators last week and signed into law by Governor Walz Saturday – there are $30 million in one-time grants to child care providers. Monthly grant awards start at $4,500. All providers awarded a grant are also eligible to receive an additional $1,000 per month if they meet certain criteria.
Applications for the grants are now available through Child Care Aware MN here.
The Legislature, Governor Walz and the federal government have all taken action to address this crisis. The Minnesota House has a COVID-19 page here which chronicles legislative actions taken so far and many resources listed in one document. Governor Walz has issued 26 executive orders so far, and you can access these here. On Sunday, he will deliver his State of the State address at 7pm from the Governor’s Residence, and you can watch the message on his YouTube channel. Finally, the federal government approved a sweeping stimulus package with help for individuals, businesses, public health investments, and more. NPR has a succinct summary here.
I encourage you to reach out to me if I can be of assistance during this time. My email is email@example.com and my phone number is 651-296-0141. My Facebook page is here and I frequently post updates there.
Please take care of yourself, your neighbors, and your family.