Hennepin County News and COVID-19 Update

commissioner marion greene

April 11, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are staying safe in these unsettling times. My office wants to keep you informed of resources and relevant information on county operations during the COVID-19 pandemic – and that’s what’s in this newsletter. We know these are challenging times, but Hennepin County is here as we navigate this sea change.  

Please stay in touch with questions, and be on the lookout for communications and updates on my District 3 page, the Hennepin County COVID-19 response page, and my Twitter and Facebook pages. 

Be well,

marion signature

Governor Walz Extends "Stay at Home" Order to May 4 


On April 8, Governor Tim Walz made the decision to extend Minnesota’s "stay at home" order through May 4. The data shows that our collective effort to stay home as much as possible and practice safe social distancing is making an impact -- keep up the good work!

Find more information about the extended order here.

Stay At Home should never mean you stay somewhere unsafe. There are places of sanctuary open for anyone facing abuse or violence. Please call Minnesota's statewide crisis hotline - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - at 1.866.223.1111 or text 612.399.9995.

Hennepin County is one of the top counties in the state in social distancing – way to go! Please keep it up! Explore the data here. The site works best on a smart phone.

Please refrain from calling 911 for non-emergencies. Residents can report violations of stay at home" by calling 651-793-3746 or by emailing sahviolations@statemn.us

Read more here.

Additional County Funding for COVID-19 Response

The Hennepin County Board designated $3 million of additional funding for COVID-19 response.This action will provide equipment and services that are essential to responding to the pandemic, including safe and isolated living spaces for people experiencing homelessness. Learn more about other key actions commissioners have taken in response to the pandemic.


Additional $1 Million for Housing Homeless

Of the additional funding allocated to COVID-19 response, $1 million is dedicated to housing homeless Hennepin County residents. The funds will be used to lease more hotel space for individuals experiencing homelessness or housing instability that are at high-risk of becoming sick from COVID-19. The county's total spend in this area is $4 million.


Supporting Hennepin Healthcare Heroes

This is a time of enormous upheaval, and yet again and again people are also stepping forward to be outstandingly generous. If you are looking for a place to lend some support, please consider the healthcare workers on the front lines at Hennepin County Medical Center -- Hennepin Heroes.

This fund provides medical staff with the resources they need to care for themselves, while they care for us. This support takes many forms. To spark ideas for you I’ll share that one way this fund helps is by providing nutritious and delicious meals to keep workers going. If you would like to sponsor a meal, a day, a week of meals, you name it, HCMC will acknowledge the generosity on their social media platforms. No gift is too small.


Hennepin County COVID-19 Resource Line

The Hennepin County COVID-19 Resource Line includes help with clothing, financial assistance, grocery and household supplies, medical care and equipment, or medication. Call 612-348-3000. The line is staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Help is available in different languages. This line also may still be used for other county services. Learn more about Hennepin County Services here. 


Property Tax Update

Many of you have expressed concern about the upcoming May 15 property tax due date. Any adjustment to this due date requires action by the legislature and governor. Property taxes generate income for the county, but also the state, cities, and school districts. In Minneapolis property taxes also support the park board. 

I’m working with counties in the region, as well as jurisdictions within Hennepin County (school districts, etc. as listed above) in the hopes of coming up with a statewide approach, and barring that, a regional approach. Please stay tuned and know that I am working hard to find some amelioration for property owners in Hennepin County. 

Here’s recent coverage in the Star Tribune that you may have seen.


Curbside Pickup Announced for Eight Hennepin County Libraries

Beginning as early as April 13, Hennepin County Library will offer contactless curbside pickup at eight library locations. Pilot locations include Brooklyn Park, East Lake, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Ridgedale, Washburn, and Webber Park. Final details and FAQs will be announced shortly.

Hennepin County Virtual Library Cards

The Hennepin County Library system is offering virtual library cards, which provide access to many, many resources across the country and beyond. There are resources for students, families, and teachers. Not just books, but also tutoring, educational materials, and assistance with accessing community resources, too.

Read more about Hennepin County Virtual Library Cards here. 


Federal Student Loan Relief

The CARES Act passed by the federal government at the end of March provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers. Federal student loan borrowers will be automatically placed on administrative forbearance starting March 13 and will not be required to make payments until September 30, 2020.

Read more here.

Updated Resources


Minnesota Discrimination Helpline

On April 6, the Walz administration established a statewide discrimination helpline for Minnesotans to report instances of bias and discrimination the the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Every Minnesotan can call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or complete and submit this online form. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


New Hennepin County COVID-19 Service Website

Hennepin County is continually finding ways to continue providing residents with services during this time. You can find the most up-to-date information about how to access these services here.


Homeless Assistance

Hennepin County has set up a new hotline through Healthcare for the Homeless to help people access quarantine and isolation space, or to speak with a nurse or social worker. Please encourage anyone who may need these services to call 612-348-5553. In addition, this list of resources may help people experiencing housing instability, including key information like how to access shelter, how to apply for food or rent assistance, and where to find public restrooms.


Legal Resources Related to COVID-19

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid has created a webpage with updates on court cases and advice for people with questions about housing, safety, health, unemployment benefits, etc. during this time.

Visit the site here.


The Domestic Abuse Service Center Offering Remote Services

On March 16, the Domestic Abuse Service Center (DASC) began offering services remotely to continue supporting victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. All remote services can be accessed by calling (612) 348-5073.


Mental Health Resources

Mental health may be difficult to manage during this uncertain time. The Minnesota Department of Health has numerous resources for how to reduce stress and anxiety:

Visit the site here. 


Personal Mask Use

You can help protect others around you by wearing a non-medical grade mask when going out in public. A mask can catch respiratory droplets so they don’t come into contact with other people. However, wearing a mask is not meant to protect you and is not a substitute for social distancing. 

In this video, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams shares ways to create your own non-medical grade mask.


Free Nice Ride Memberships for Healthcare Workers

See more here.

Census 2020


As we are all doing our part to respond to COVID-19, one practical thing we can do to help our community right now is respond to the 2020 Census.

The information collected from all of us in the 2020 Census will determine the resources available for our community for the next 10 years.

More than $15.5 billion a year is at stake for Minnesota for health care, education, transportation and other vital programs. That’s approximately $2,800 per person per year or $28,000 over 10 years!

Learn about options to complete the 2020 Census and watch a short video.

View Census 2020 important dates.


Minnesota Health Plans to Waive COVID-19 Related Expenses

Minnesota’s health plans have agreed to waive cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19. This move comes in response to the Governor’s Commissioners of Health and Commerce sending a letter on March 13 urging the health plans to remove barriers to coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnesotans with commercial insurance—including individuals, small businesses, and some large businesses—are now eligible for the following benefits:

  • Minnesotans will have no cost-sharing charges for COVID testing.
  • Minnesotans who are hospitalized will have no cost-sharing charges for in-network hospitalization.
  • Minnesotans will have expanded access to telemedicine services. This will help people to stay home and access care if they need it.

Read more here. 


City of Minneapolis Gap Funding

More than $5 million in City funding and new programming is now being dedicated to help renters, families, small businesses and employees hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City is taking steps to make sure these funds complement, not duplicate, the work made possibly by new State and federal funding. Among other things, the funding will provide housing assistance to low-income renters who have lost income and forgivable, no-interest loans for small businesses. Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council partnered on the creation of this special gap funding package. 

The gap fund for housing includes:

The gap fund for small businesses includes:

  • $2.2 million in forgivable and zero-percent loans to support small businesses and self-employed workers.
  • Modifications to the City loan program: The City’s existing 2% participation loan program for small businesses will be modified to set the interest rate to 0% and expand the eligible expenses to include working capital costs.

Read more about the gap funding package and eligibility information.


Hennepin County Environment and Energy Services

Although Hennepin County Environment and Energy staff are working remotely and limiting site visits, staff are still available to provide technical assistance on a variety of environmental topics, including: 


Library Online Access Update

With physical locations closed, there are still many ways to stay connected with our library.

Read with the children in your life, and keep them exploring and learning from home with resources like ExploraKids and World Book Kids.

From the New Yorker to ESPN to Good Housekeeping, browse and read hundreds of the most current magazines online.

An enormous collection of eBooks are at your fingertips with cloudLibrary.

You can access digitized material from Hennepin County Library's Special Collections. Browse Hennepin County maps from the mid-1800s, look through photos of your favorite Minneapolis neighborhoods or research your home’s background. Our county's rich history is open to view, download, and print, no library card requred!


Park Board Asking for Commitment to Social Distancing


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is asking for the public’s help in keeping parks and trails open by staying 6 feet apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Governor Walz’s "Stay at Home" order went into effect, MPRB staff, commissioners and park police have been flooded with reports of park users disregarding safety guidelines by crowding popular park locations and trails, not staying 6 feet apart, and participating in team sports and group activities.

The MPRB implores all its park users to strictly keep 6 feet apart to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep the park system open.

Read more here.

See an overview of what's open and closed in Minneapolis parks here


Resources and Access at Home

Immediate Community Updates:

Internet and Online Connectivity Resources:

Experiences Online:

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


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