Hennepin County News and COVID-19 Update - April 18

commissioner marion greene

April 18, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you for connecting with my office in these unsettling times. We hope you are staying safe and healthy. This newsletter continues to share resources and relevant information on county operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know these are challenging times, but Hennepin County is here as we navigate this sea change.  

New in this newsletter is a section dedicated to the arts. Whether it’s theater, visual art, or music, we hope you’ll enjoy some of these resources, shared with our office by local galleries and theaters.

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.

Property Tax Update

The Hennepin County Board is considering a proposal to waive late fees for certain property taxpayers, with a vote on April 21.

For property taxpayers who owe less than $100,000 in a year, and who do not escrow, no penalties will be charged if payment is received on or before July 15.

Property taxpayers who do not fit these criteria can apply for a penalty waiver starting May 1. The county is currently building out the online portal for this application. 

Hennepin County asks taxpayers who can pay even a portion by May 15 to do so.

Up-to-Date 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.


SNAP Update

If you receive SNAP benefits but can’t leave your home to get groceries, you may now designate someone to use your EBT card on your behalf.

Learn more here. 


Curbside Pickup Announced for 8 Hennepin County Libraries 

Hennepin County Library are now offering contactless curbside pickup at eight library locations. Pilot locations include Brooklyn Park, East Lake, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Ridgedale, Washburn, and Webber Park. Visit the Curbside Pickup FAQ for details on how to safely access physical materials from the collection.


Energy Bill Assistance For Renters and Homeowners

If you need help covering your heating bills, the state’s Energy Assistance Program may be able to help. Funding is still available for households in need, and eligibility criteria have been loosened to ensure as many households as possible can benefit during the pandemic. 


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.



Engaging with our Local Art Scene

MN Art Mart is an instant way to help artists who rely on income from contract labor, traveling gigs, and sales of work, who have been adversely affected by the events of COVID-19.

Learn more here. 


Play at Home, Short Plays to Watch at Home was launched in March 2020 by a collection of theaters who were producing plays, business as usual, when a global pandemic had other plans. Prioritizing the safety of their communities, they made difficult decisions to cease or postpone programming for the remainder their seasons. But the story doesn’t end there. With a spirit of resilience, adaptation, and invitation, they came together to create the Play At Home project, a series of short plays commissioned specifically for this moment of unprecedented isolation to inspire joy and connection for all.

Learn more here. 


Find your next read at the Advocates for Human Rights Book Club.


Stream movies from MSP Film Society Virtual Cinema's selection.


Additional Online Experiences:



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. 


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.


UPDATE:  City will begin taking applications April 22 for Minneapolis Gap Funds for Housing for renters

The City of Minneapolis will begin taking applications April 22 for the City’s $3 million in Gap Funds for Housing for renters.

The online application will open 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, and close noon Monday, April 27. Applications will be available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali and Oromo.

Apply online or call

Applicants can apply online or call the Tenant Resource Center at 612-302-3180. Callers will need to leave a voicemail message. An intake worker will return the voicemail message within three days.


UPDATE: Applications open for new forgivable small business loans through April 20

The online application will open 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, and close noon Monday, April 27. Applications will be available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali and Oromo.

Apply online or call

Applicants can apply online or call the Tenant Resource Center at 612-302-3180. Callers will need to leave a voicemail message. An intake worker will return the voicemail message within three days. Documentation status does not affect eligibility.

Learn more about Minneapolis gap funding

Donations for gap funding

The City is open to accepting donations from private individuals or entities for the Gap Funds for Housing and the Forgivable No-Interest Loans for Small Business Program. Learn more


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.

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.

Resources and Access at Home

Immediate Community Updates:

Internet and Online Connectivity Resources:

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


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