Changes made by Minnesota Legislature to fund COVID-19 response
The Minnesota Legislature approved the following investments recommended by Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to address the needs of vulnerable Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emergency child care grants
$29,964,000 has been appropriated to the commissioner of human services for emergency child care grants to assist child care providers to continue serving children of essential workers who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible programs include DHS and tribal licensed family child care and child care centers. Providers must agree to prioritize care for children of essential workers, stay open until the emergency is declared over, and use health and safety practices that prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Grant amounts will range from $4,500 to $21,000 per month and be distributed through Child Care Aware of Minnesota. The appropriation is for fiscal year 2020, and funds are available until Dec. 31, 2020.
Affected statute: Chapter 119B.19, subdivision 1a
Additional food assistance funding
$9 million has been appropriated to the commissioner of human services to address food bank, food shelf and transportation needs in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be available to approximately 400 food shelves, transportation organizations to distribute food and supplies between food banks and food shelves, and food banks that distribute food to food shelves. Food banks will receive at least $3 million of the funding.
HungerSolutions will distribute the funding to eligible entities by a combination of formula allocation and competitive grant processes. The appropriation is for fiscal year 2020, and funds are available until June 30, 2021.
Affected statute: Chapter 256E.34
Additional Emergency Services Grant program funding
$26,537,000 has been appropriated to the commissioner of human services to assist homeless shelter providers in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will maintain or expand shelter capacity that promotes health and safety and quarantine options, purchase hygiene and sanitation supplies so providers can comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, and support staffing needs to protect the health and wellness of participants and staff.
Nonprofit organizations and local or tribal governments are eligible for the funding and do not need to be current Emergency Services Program grantees.
The appropriation is for fiscal year 2020. Funds must be expended by Feb. 1, 2021, or until 60 days after expiration of the peacetime emergency declared by the Governor, whichever occurs first.
Affected statute: Chapter 256E.36
Housing support rate increase
$5,530,000 has been appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of human services to increase Housing Support room and board and standard supplementary service rates. This funding will help people receiving Housing Support services maintain their housing and assist service providers comply with federal and state health and safety guidance for the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a onetime appropriation is for services between March 1 through May 31, 2020.
Affected statute: Section 256I.05, subdivisions 1 and 1a