Minnesotans struggling with housing related bills can apply to the state's Housing Assistance program by Monday.
The Governor's Office issued a press release Thursday emphasizing the availability of the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program to assist people struggling to avoid homelessness by providing financial aid so they can make their mortgage, rent, or utility bill payments.
Minnesotans can apply at 211unitedway.org. They can also call 211 for assistance, with multilingual staff available.
“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted people with the lowest incomes," Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said in the press release from the Governor's Office. “Help is available to prevent people from losing their housing right now. This is one of the most important things we can do to prevent people from becoming homeless."
The $100 million Housing Assistance Program was first announced in July.
More than 28,000 Minnesotans have applied since then, requesting a total of more than $67 million, according to the press release.
An additional amount of more than $190 million in state and federal assistance has been directed to housing stability and homelessness, according to the Governor's Office.
The state's Energy Assistance Program also has $106 million in federal funding to help income-eligible Minnesotans with heating bills. Residents can submit applications to their local service provider, which can be located via the Commerce Department’s Energy Assistance Program webpage or calling 800-657-3710.
“The importance of stable housing has never been clearer than during this pandemic,” Gov. Walz said in the press release. “As Minnesotans struggle to make ends meet, we are taking action to help people keep their homes and to provide options for people without a home. We know more is needed, and that’s why we will be working to get additional funds in the upcoming special session.”
At least 8,000 people experience homelessness daily in Minnesota. Roughly half are comprised of families with children, according to government data.
Unhoused people who contract COVID-19 are hospitalized 5.5 times more than those who are not, and are six times more likely to require intensive care, according to the press release.