News from DHS for July 2022

Minnesota Department of Human Services logo


JULY 2022

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Summer food aid coming for over 400,000 children

P-EBT sandwich graphic

As the cost of groceries climbs, the families of 410,000 Minnesota children will receive support to help them provide healthy foods this summer.

Federal funds totaling up to $180.5 million began going to the families of 320,000 schoolchildren and 90,000 children age 5 and under this month. Most eligible families do not need to apply for the Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or Summer P-EBT, and will receive the benefits automatically.

“With food prices skyrocketing, families need this support so they can provide nutritious meals for their children over the summer,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “The economic impact will also be substantial as people spend their Summer P-EBT benefits at grocery stores and farmers markets.”

In late July, DHS will load $435 onto P-EBT cards for each schoolchild who was approved for free or reduced-price meals and enrolled in the last month of the recently completed 2021-22 school year.

In early August, DHS will issue $218 on family EBT cards for each child 5 or younger, if they are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Minnesota Family Investment Program or Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and in child care. In October, the department will issue $217 in Summer P-EBT benefits per eligible child 5 and younger and not enrolled in school at the start of school year 2021-2022, directly to their families’ EBT cards.

More information is in a department news release.

Afghan evacuee emergency response proves once again that ‘Minnesota is a welcoming state’

Operation Allies Welcome MN event

Staff from the DHS Resettlement Program Office hosted a special event in late June to mark the end of the department’s Operation Allies Welcome Minnesota emergency response to providing safe haven to more than 1,200 Afghan evacuees in Minnesota.  

Held at the same hotel in Bloomington, Minn., that DHS rented out to house Afghan evacuees, the event celebrated, honored and thanked the numerous volunteer organizations throughout the state that helped make the department’s emergency Afghan evacuee response so successful. 

“Their coming here wasn’t the beginning of their journey and it’s not the end of their journey,” Refugee Coordinator Rachele King said of the evacuees in her opening remarks. “We know that resettlement takes a community. The best resettlement is done not to somebody, but with somebody.”

Commissioner Jodi Harpstead echoed King’s gratitude in speaking to attendees. “Thank you for coming together to provide one of the most effective welcomes we’ve ever seen in our state’s history,” she said. “You all embody the gift of hospitality and were generously willing to share that gift with new Afghan friends and neighbors and we are deeply grateful for all that you have done. You’ve proved once again that Minnesota is a welcoming state.”

While Minnesota’s resettlement organizations are accustomed to providing temporary housing and services to “a few families a week,” Harpstead said the response to helping Afghan evacuees resettle in Minnesota was something she and others had never seen before. “When we heard that we might have more than 1,000 evacuees coming in a short amount of time, it was clear this was not business as usual and that we would have to stand up a whole new approach to pulling this off smoothly,” she said. “The response had to be especially well coordinated to ensure any person placed in Minnesota has access to the right supports.”

Thanks to the numerous volunteers who came together to provide food, hotel space, translators, transportation and other services for evacuees, Harpstead said that’s exactly what took place. “We’ve learned so much together that we can use in the future to provide another welcome to Minnesota in an urgent situation,” she said. “By helping them during this important part of their lives, you have made Minnesota stronger.”

DHS invites input from LGBTQI+ community on gender terms

The LGBTQI+ community in Minnesota is invited to participate in a virtual discussion via Zoom on a set of proposed gender identity data standards for DHS systems from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16.

The project has included researching emerging work across the U.S. and industry standards, with an eye towards being more inclusive with DHS systems and programs. The goal is to better understand the needs of the community and arrive at a set of terms that are comfortable for the majority of individuals, from varied age, ethnic, racial, geographic and experience backgrounds.

No names are being collected and the session will not be recorded — just ideas and input.

Can't attend the discussion? Share your feedback in our online survey.

In social media

Screenshot from Direct Access video

Posted this month on the DHS Facebook page

Changes to Minnesota’s substance use disorder (SUD) treatment system are resulting in more choice and shorter wait times for people seeking publicly funded services. This short video explains Direct Access, Minnesota’s new person-centered approach to SUD treatment.

If you’re concerned about your alcohol or drug use, visit to learn how to get a comprehensive assessment, and how to get help paying for treatment. #TreatmentWorks #RecoveryisPossible

Follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook for timely updates on DHS news and events.

Follow our DHS Careers Facebook page for announcements of hiring events, job postings, internships and more.

Accessible formats

For accessible formats of this publication, write to, or call 651-431-2000 or use your preferred relay service.

Governor Walz outlines ten-year economic expansion plan

Governor Tim Walz announced a ten-year economic expansion plan (PDF) for the state on July 27. The Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion released the 28-page report, titled “Minnesota’s Moment: A Roadmap for Economic Expansion,” which offers long-term steps to continue improving Minnesota’s economy. 

“We challenged a broad network of Minnesota leaders to look toward Minnesota’s future and find opportunities to make Minnesota a global destination to work, live, and own a business,” said Governor Walz. “The result – dozens of bold new ideas – will guide not only our Administration, but the state’s work for the decade to come.”

The report details dozens of recommendations (PDF), ranging from ways to expand child care to support working families, collaborate with employers and labor organizations to prepare students for their careers, and expand public-private partnerships to provide support for small business owners. The comprehensive report covers recommendations from public safety, to infrastructure, to health care, to reducing barriers to job creation and innovation.

“Workforce shortages and other economic pressures have created significant challenges for the human services system,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “The roadmap laid out by the Council will help ensure access to affordable housing, health care, and other critical resources so all Minnesotans can reach their full health potential and participate in economic expansion.”

More information is in a Governor’s Office news release.

Take survey on eliminating subminimum wage by Aug. 7

Minnesota's Task Force on Eliminating Subminimum Wages wants to hear ideas about what people with disabilities, their families, and people who serve them would need if subminimum wage ends in Minnesota.

Share your thoughts in an online survey by Sunday, Aug 7.

Also, learn more about what the task force has accomplished at an online lunch and learn event from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug, 3. Register for the session online.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Minnesota delivers new help for pregnant people, babies: July delivered some welcome news for people who give birth while covered by Medical Assistance. They will now continue to receive Medicaid coverage for 12 months after giving birth instead of only 60 days. Medicaid Medical Director Dr. Nathan Chomilo explains how this investment will help make progress on serious disparities in birthing outcomes for Black Minnesotans and Native Americans in a Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder article.

Robots debut as caregiver assistants in Minnesota nursing home: Two interactive caregiver assistants were deployed in a Minnesota nursing home this month. Assistant Commissioner Dan Pollock and others discuss how the robots will allow staff more time for valuable patient care in a Star Tribune article.

Changes to Allow More Choice for Those Getting Treatment: With over half a million Minnesotans battling a substance use disorder, timely access to effective treatment remains crucial. Learn more about a novel approach to treatment access being implemented across Minnesota in a Phoenix Spirit article by Neerja Singh, clinical director of the Behavioral Health at DHS.

Finance & Commerce’s Top Projects of 2021: The renovation and expansion of the Forensic Services facility in St. Peter (formerly known as the Minnesota Security Hospital) is one of 51 honorees for top building projects in Minnesota. Learn more in a Finance & Commerce article.

DHS fact sheets updated

Increasing access to federal disability benefits (PDF)