News from DHS for September 2023

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September 2023

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Grants will help 120 providers expand services for Minnesotans with disabilities and aging Minnesotans

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Organizations serving people with disabilities and aging populations across Minnesota will receive over $14 million to expand services to diverse communities, rural areas and regional centers.

Funding for the community-based provider capacity grants comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, with a recent commitment by Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Legislature to temporarily continue the grant program.

The grants will help organizations improve their capacity to provide Home and Community-Based Services for people with disabilities and aging Minnesotans. Providers that serve or plan to add services for rural and underserved communities will receive funding, along with organizations working to become Home and Community-Based Services providers for the first time.

The grants aim to help one or more of these communities:

  • American Indian and Indigenous people
  • Asian and Pacific Islanders
  • Black and African-born people
  • Latino people
  • People living in rural and regional centers outside the seven-county Twin Cities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

“So many providers want to expand their services and we are pleased to support them,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “These grants can be transformational, allowing them to extend their reach to more Minnesotans.”

For a geographic breakdown of the grants, visit (PDF).

Grants will help support people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia

Thirteen organizations across Minnesota will have resources to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, promote early diagnosis and connect caregivers to resources, thanks to new grants from the Minnesota Board on Aging. 

“These grants are strategic investments that can make huge impacts for these organizations and the people they serve,” said Maureen Schneider, interim chair of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “For small organizations doing the important work to fight Alzheimer’s and related dementias, this kind of funding can make the difference between keeping or losing a program or staff position.” 

Find a list of grantees in a Minnesota Board on Aging news release.

Seeking applicants to advise on community resource center development

Stock photo of father and daughter at community center

The department is seeking applicants for the Community Resource Center Advisory Council.

The Minnesota Legislature awarded the department $7.1 million in funding in 2023 to develop and implement a statewide network of community resource centers. 

Community resource centers are community-based coordinated points of entry that provide culturally responsive, relationship-based service navigation and other supportive services for expecting and parenting families and youth. Community resource centers focus on ensuring that families have equitable access to programs and services that promote protective factors and support children and families.

The advisory council’s purpose is to advise the commissioner on the development, implementation, evaluation and ongoing governance of community resource centers in Minnesota.

Those interested in serving on the council should complete an initial application through the Minnesota Secretary of State's website. The application period is Oct. 1 to Oct. 23. 

For more information, see the Community Resource Center Advisory Council webpage.

In social media: Honoring direct support professionals

Direct Support Professionals Week 2023

Meet Grant - our next featured direct support professional during DSP Recognition Week. Working as a DSP while studying special education in college provided opportunities for personal growth that he says will make him a better teacher. Smart young man! 

Caring for people with disabilities and older adults can be uniquely rewarding and help you meet your personal goals. Learn about job opportunities on the CareerForce website at and follow CareerForce to learn about job fairs in your area.

#DSPWeek #CaringCareerMN

>> 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.

Volunteers needed to advocate for Minnesotans living in nursing homes

Minnesotans are being called upon to make a difference in the lives of long-term care residents through volunteerism this October, as the state recognizes Residents’ Rights Month.

This year’s theme is “Amplify Our Voices,” emphasizing a community of long-term care residents coming together to make their voices heard. Minnesotans living in nursing homes need people who have the power to advocate for their rights and make a difference. The focus of the month is empowering residents living in long-term care facilities to speak up for their rights and advocating for those who want help in doing so.

Nursing home residents often face challenges that can compromise their health, well-being, and quality of life. In many cases, they can’t advocate for themselves. This is where concerned citizens can step in as ombudsman volunteers and help amplify their voices.

“We’re talking about vulnerable people who often have difficulty being heard,” says Cheryl Hennen, the State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care. “It takes all of us to amplify their voices and make sure their rights are protected. Certified Ombudsman Volunteers can be a critical link to these protections, but we need more volunteers than we have.”

Minnesota has had a significant shortage of ombudsman volunteers since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ombudsman's Office of Long-Term Care is encouraging Minnesotans to consider volunteering and championing the rights of long-term care residents.

More details are in an Ombudsman's Office news release.

Extension for parents, spouses providing PCA services ends Nov. 12

Effective Nov. 12, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will end the exception that allowed DHS to pay personal care assistance provider agencies for services provided by spouses and parents (including stepparents and legal guardians) of minors.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, PCA provider agencies could not bill DHS or a person’s managed care organization for services provided by these specific family members.

This information is also available on our website.

Fact sheets updated

No fact sheet updates in September.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

PrairieCare adds mental health beds for youth, young adults: PrairieCare recently celebrated the 30,000-square-foot expansion of its Brooklyn Park hospital and an additional 30 inpatient psychiatric beds designed for youth and young adults with mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, mood disorders and trauma. Commissioner Jodi Harpstead attended the opening along with others working to improve availability of care. Watch the KARE 11 story for more information.

Passion drives Neerja Singh as mental health advocate: Getting access to resources for mental health and seeking help can be exhausting; especially for youth of color, whose issues are not seen as genuine or worth prioritizing. DHS Behavior Health Clinical Director and 2023 Bush Fellow Neerja Singh has a passion for prioritizing this population. In a recent article published in MinnPost and the Star Tribune, Singh described facing frustrations, challenges, and compelling experiences dealing with the intersectionality of race and mental health while working in the field.