News from DHS for September 2022

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News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards

Human services organizations recognized for outstanding efforts

Seven Minnesota human services organizations will receive recognition for their commitment to providing housing, economic assistance, food, health care and other essential services to the state’s residents. 

The Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards from the Minnesota Department of Human Services acknowledge outstanding organizations, counties and Tribes for initiatives and innovations that address critical needs in Minnesota’s communities.

“Each year, we select groups that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the well-being of Minnesotans,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “We are so grateful for the work these organizations are doing to help advance our mission by delivering health care, housing support, economic assistance and other services to their neighbors to enable them to live full lives in community.”

This year’s winners are:

  • American Indian Cancer Foundation, St. Paul
  • C.A.R.E. Clinic, Red Wing
  • Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, St. Paul
  • Hennepin County Human Services Emergency Preparedness Unit
  • Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis
  • Housing Matters, Bemidji
  • Scott County Family Resource Centers, three locations

More details are in a department news release. Follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook for highlights from awards presentations.

MinnesotaCare premium relief continues through 2025

Approximately 90,000 Minnesotans will continue to save money on MinnesotaCare premiums through the end of 2025, thanks to the federal Inflation Reduction Act signed last month by President Biden. 

As part of the landmark law, MinnesotaCare premiums will remain at reduced levels for an additional three years, helping workers and families maintain their access to affordable health care. MinnesotaCare covers people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase other health insurance.

Until January 2026, people with incomes under 160% of the federal poverty level will not have to pay premiums for MinnesotaCare. People whose incomes fall between 160% and 200% of the federal poverty level will pay reduced premiums. The lower premiums began in 2021 and had been set to end in January 2023, until the new federal legislation became law.

More information is in a department news release.

Grants to improve choices for people with disabilities

Innovations that improve options for people with disabilities will go forward over the next two years across Minnesota, funded by a new round of state grants.

Ten service providers will share approximately $2.9 million to support people with disabilities to live and engage with others in their communities and access better employment opportunities. 

The grants are part of the department's innovation grant program for people with disabilities. Goals of the grants include achieving integrated, competitive employment and living in the most integrated setting. 

More information, including a list of grantees, is in a department news release.

In social media

Circus of the Heart registration now open

Shared on the DHS Facebook page

It's time to sign up for this year's Circus of the Heart event❣️

In addition to a half-day of fun and informative online programming, registered participants will receive a Circus Box packed with activities, giveaways and more. 🎁

Circus of the Heart is an annual event celebrating Adoption Awareness Month in Minnesota by honoring families who have
grown through adoption and kinship care while also providing information about adopting children and youth under state guardianship. The event is sponsored by MN ADOPT in partnership with DHS, counties and many adoption agencies.

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.

Logo for Minnesota SUD Summit listening sessions

Listening sessions on substance use services and needs set for Oct. 12

In the coming months, several partners will join forces to host an SUD Shared Solutions Summit where participants will begin work on a three-to-five year strategic action plan to improve Minnesota's substance use disorder (SUD) system.

To help inform the planning of this summit, partners are hosting two facilitated listening sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to identify and better understand opportunities, needs, gaps and bottlenecks in Minnesota’s SUD system.

The sessions will be held via Webex. Visit the DHS website to learn more and register.

Grants support higher pay for people with disabilities

Minnesotans with disabilities will soon have more opportunities to earn competitive wages and support their own independence.

A new round of state grants totaling $10.5 million will help providers make changes such as eliminating subminimum wages and expanding services to support people with disabilities in competitive employment. The Legislature and Governor Tim Walz approved the funding in 2021.

Provider Reinvention Grants from the department will go to 22 employment services providers. The University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration will also receive funding to support providers and job seekers.

More information is in a department news release.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Minnesota sees historic drop in child poverty: Child poverty has dropped by historic proportions in Minnesota and across the nation over the past 30 years, newly released U.S. Census numbers show. The Star Tribune reports it's a trend that some state social service leaders credit to welfare work requirements and a strong social safety net of programs they caution need to be saved for the future. Deputy Commissioner Nikki Farago also points out that programs need to address disparities.

Bemidji Area Housing Non-Profit Recognized for Work to Combat Homelessness: The housing crisis in Beltrami County is a growing concern for individuals and organizations alike. At the forefront of combating this crisis is the non-profit group Housing Matters. Commissioner Jodi Harpstead recently presented an award to the organization for its work in Bemidji and surrounding communities. Learn more in a Lakeland News PBS story.

DHS fact sheets updated

Safe Harbor: A path to empowerment for sexually exploited and trafficked youth (PDF)