Hennepin County News and COVID-19 Update - May 9

commissioner marion greene

May 9, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This week the County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to pass significant emergency measures for county residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts to support housing, business, families and youth will be foundational to the county's evolving response to serve all those who work, go to school, and live in Hennepin County. 

Thank you again for your continued engagement and support. It isn’t easy to abruptly uproot old patterns and ways of being. The uncertainty of these times is stressful and uncomfortable. Your contributions cannot be downplayed and are deeply appreciated.

Be well,

marion signature


Emergency Rental Assistance

The board allocated $15 million for emergency rental assistance for low-income residents.

Low-income households and households of color have been disproportionately impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19. Many low-income renter households are working in the industries that have lost the most jobs due to COVID-19. To address these disparities, funds will be targeted to renters with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income.

This funding is expected to help 9,000 low-income Hennepin County residents maintain stable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board previously approved $740,000 to fund emergency housing assistance for renters and homeowners.

Learn more about the program.  


Helping Small Businesses Respond and Recover

The board allocated $15 million for small business relief and recovery efforts, including adding $10 million to the Hennepin County Small Business Relief Fund for emergency financial relief. An additional $5M will go to future business recovery efforts.

The impacts of COVID-19 have disproportionately affected small and minority owned businesses, who have also faced the greatest challenges in accessing financial assistance from other state and federal relief programs. To address these disparities, Hennepin County is partnering with the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and 10 community-based organizations to provide culturally-specific outreach and technical assistance.

The board also directed staff to develop guidelines and an implementation plan to help businesses reopen under new public health guidance and protocols.

This funding is expected to support response and recovery efforts for approximately 1,300 small businesses in Hennepin County.

The board previously approved $2 million of emergency business support to help local businesses recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Learn more about the program.


Council on COVID-19 business recovery

A new Hennepin County Business Advisory Council will support the rapid recovery of businesses from COVID-19.

The board established the advisory council Tuesday, which will include 20-25 representatives with business experience and ability to represent the diversity of Hennepin County's business community.

Representatives will identify opportunities and needs in the business community, provide guidance and input to county staff on potential programs and initiatives, and act as a liaison between the business community and Hennepin County.


COVID-19 Response Activation Toolkits:

Hennepin County has partnered with the Musicant Group to develop two “COVID-19 Response Activation Toolkits,” to help community partners navigate and respond to the changing demands on public spaces as a result of the pandemic.

  • The Business District Toolkit offers creative ideas for commercial districts and their small businesses to help navigate COVID-19. 
  • The Active Living Toolkit (coming soon) will be aimed at planning, public works and parks staff as they strive to plan for outdoor recreation and active transportation while maintaining social distancing.

View the completed Business District Toolkit and watch for the Active Living Toolkit (coming soon) 

For more information: contact Denise Engen at denise.engen@hennepin.us


Supports for Youth Involved with County Services

The board approved a directive focusing on youth educational stability, health and wellbeing.

Hennepin County will develop strategies to support youth impacted by COVID-19, particularly youth involved in county systems and out of home placement.

Efforts will focus on access to distance learning and educational stability.


Updated Board Calendar

In order to make timely decisions related to COVID-19, Hennepin County board meetings and committee meetings will now take place every week through the end of July.

View the updated calendar.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

not alone


1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition. You are #NotAlone. Find resources, statistics, and tools at nami.org/mentalhealthmonth

Personal Protective Equipment Donations Still Needed

Staff working in quarantine operations, as first responders, in public health, and in clinics and hospitals are running low on supplies that keep them safe and help them continue their work protecting our community. We are accepting items at drop-off locations to help protect responders.

Priority items needed

  • Protective face wear – N95 or N100 respirators, PAPRs and surgical masks
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Tyvek Coveralls
  • Tyvek Foot covers
  • Eye protection (wrap-arounds or chemical splash)

Learn more and fine drop off locations here. 

Property Tax Abatement Update

The board approved a measure to automatically waive penalties for certain property tax payments due on May 15 but made on or before July 15. 

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.

For property taxpayers who owe more than $100,000 in a year and will not be able to pay property taxes due on May 15, there will be an application to have penalties waived after late payment penalties are incurred. This application will become available after the May 15 deadline. We strongly encourage individuals to apply if needed. In the meantime, find updates on the Hennepin County Tax Payment Options page.

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

Up-to-Date Resources

Community resources


Hennepin County Resources

Hennepin County is continually finding ways to continue providing residents with services during this time.

Find the most up-to-date information about how to access these services.


Use the Hennepin County local resource site to find updated information on food shelves and meals, financial assistance, mental health services, domestic violence services, and resources for housing and utilities. 


Call 612-348-5553 to speak with Healthcare for the Homeless staff about accessing quarantine and isolation space. Find additional resources for those experiencing housing instability. 


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.


While offices are closed to the public, the state continues to take applications for Emergency Assistance (EA) and Emergency General Assistance (EGA), and other assistance.

Learn about free and low-cost internet options to support distance learning.


Review a list compiled by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office on scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Visit the Hennepin County Library Curbside Pickup FAQ for details on how to safely access physical materials from the collection.

The Domestic Abuse Service Center is currently operating remotely. All services can be accessed by calling (612) 348-5073.


Minneapolis Resources

The City of Minneapolis opened up space for walking, rolling and biking to support active recreation and safe access to essential businesses with Stay Healthy Streets. 


Minneapolis Public Schools is offering weekly food pick up at nearly 50 food distribution sites across the city of Minneapolis. Food is free and available to any child 18 years or younger. 


Saint Louis Park Resources

Saint Louis Park public schools are offering free meals for school-aged children. Questions? Call the School Nutrition Department at 952-928-6146.


State Resources

Find State COVID-19 testing locations near you.


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

State of Minnesota Dedicated COVID-19 Hotlines: 

  • Community (schools, child care, business) questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
  • Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)


If you need assistance covering your energy bills, the state’s Energy Assistance Program may be able to help.


Resources for Essential Workers

Metro Mobility is now providing free door-to-door service from home to work and work to home for any person who works at a healthcare facility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Free Nice Ride memberships available for healthcare workers.


Healthcare Worker Childcare through U of MN Medical Student Group


MetroMobility offering grocery delivery to certified riders


Additional Community Resources

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. 


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


'Free Meals for Kids' Mobile App


Homes for All COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Resources


Twin Cities Restaurant Curbside Order Pick Ups Options


Arts at Home

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.

Play at Home, Short Plays to Watch at Home


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


Stream movies from MSP Film Society Virtual Cinema's selection or rent from the parkway theater.


Enjoy at Home:

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


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