June 2020 E-Newsletter

Jan Callison - News from District 6


  June 2020

This has been a month like no other in Hennepin County. It started with the on-going challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It ends with the shocking death of George Floyd and the ensuing violence and unrest.

Much of this newsletter is devoted to information about Hennepin County’s response to COVID-19, including the creation of a rental assistance fund, a small business assistance fund, identification of housing alternatives for folks who are homeless, assistance for non-profits and more. You will find additional information on these initiatives in the section entitled Board Meetings. Our board briefings have begun to focus on potential changes to county services and facilities in the aftermath of the pandemic.  You will find more information about them in the section entitled Board Briefings.

Regarding the tragic death of George Floyd, I posted the following message on Friday on my Facebook page:

I awoke with a deep sense of sadness this morning. I’m sure many of you did too.

The death of George Floyd is a tragedy, shocking and inexcusable. It exposes a system that is deeply unfair and destructive to people of color. I join in the calls for justice. But I want justice to end in conviction and that requires giving the prosecutor the time to develop and build the strongest possible legal case. And so I am willing to wait.

The destruction going on in Minneapolis and elsewhere is also tragic, threatening lives and livelihoods and affecting communities that are uniquely vulnerable. These are communities where substantial public investment has been made in housing, workforce training, social services, healthcare and other supports. They were already at heightened risk because of the pandemic. This will further challenge their resilience.

And, finally, I feel an imperative to continue to focus on COVID-19 despite what is happening and in part because of the very challenges that it poses to these same communities. I want us to re-open more libraries so that folks have access to computers and library materials, particularly students. I want us to talk about a plan to reduce infections and deaths in communities of color and among our seniors. I want us to consider what I call a literacy corps to see if we can hire the newly unemployed to tutor at risk students and potentially narrow the achievement gap.

I hope we can resume these conversations soon. In the meantime, I support the calls for justice as well as the calls for calm.

Blessed be the peacemakers.  

As of this writing, the County is still assessing damage to county facilities in Minneapolis from the riots. Among the buildings affected are the East Lake Library, the Central Library, the South Minneapolis Service Center and the North Satellite Service Center. Damage includes, variously, broken windows, fire and sprinkler damage, vandalizing, looting and graffiti. Facility Services did remarkable work minimizing or preventing damage to public buildings.

Similarly, the work of the Sheriff’s Office has been exemplary helping to keep the peace under extraordinary circumstances. Like many of you, I watched in awe as sheriff’s deputies remained calm in the face of extreme provocation. They have worked long and difficult hours this week.

Finally, I want to thank County Administration. For more than two months, they have labored under the unprecedented burden of COVID-19. They now also must deal with the aftermath of this past week’s events.

It feels good to turn the calendar to June! I wish you, your family and your community all the best.

Jan Callison

In this edition

Board meetings

May 5, 2020

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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Emergency rental assistance

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

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.  

Testing and support for long-term care facilities

The board established a new program that will provide onsite COVID-19 testing, technical assistance and guidance to long-term facilities in Hennepin County.

A disproportionate number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have occurred in Hennepin County, primarily driven by cases arising in long-term care facilities.

While Hennepin County only makes up 23% of the state’s population, 49% of hospitalizations and over 66% deaths related to COVID-19 have occurred here. Long-term care facilities account for 36% of Hennepin County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and 85% of deaths.

Hennepin County and Hennepin Healthcare will partner to provide increased onsite testing for residents and staff. The program will provide support and direction in the following areas: infection prevention and control, personal protective equipment, staffing plans, and supports for staff wellbeing.

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.

May 19, 2020

Hennepin County COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

The board approved a Hennepin County COVID-19 preparedness plan to keep people safe as the county brings more staff back to physical locations to serve residents.

The plan requires employees to do self-screening at home before coming to work and requires worksite training for all employees. The plan also requires all employees and visitors to wear face coverings in all county facilities. The face coverings must cover both mouth and nose, as well as be secured to the head with ties or ear loops. The county will provide face coverings to employees and visitors who do not have them.

The county’s plan will be reviewed regularly and updated as needed.

The county continues to take a phased approach to bringing back in-person services at county facilities. Many services continue to be offered online and by phone, mail, drop-off, and fax. For the latest service updates, go to https://www.hennepin.us/covid-19.

Federal CARES Act allotment

The board approved a $2.5 million federal CARES Act allotment for emergency relief and recovery. The allotment supports private non-profits and community organizations impacted by COVID-19 that serve county-involved individuals, families, and youth.

Funding will support facility adaptations, technology, supplies, and personal protective equipment that the providers need to safely carry out services during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Board briefings

In addition to our regularly scheduled board meetings, the board often meets on Thursday mornings to receive board briefings. These are informal opportunities to discuss emerging issues. No votes are taken. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

Weekly briefings

Hennepin re-opening strategies

The county board holds a weekly briefing regarding Hennepin's re-opening strategies.  The strategy and plans for libraries and service centers will be discussed at a future, yet to be scheduled, briefing.  Briefing videos are not archived, they are only available to watch live.  If you are interested in seeing the schedule for past briefings or receiving the PowerPoint presentation from past briefings, please email my office.  The link to watch live briefings as well as other board meeting videos is below. 


There is a dedicated COVID-19 webpage on the Hennepin County website.  Information regarding services and board actions related to COVID-19 are updated on a continual basis.  At the bottom of the page there is a sign-up for email updates related to COVID-19.


County calendar

June 19, 2020

Apply for Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District Board


Watershed districts educate and engage residents, and the work they undertake benefits the quality and quantity of water in local, as well as downstream watersheds and communities.  

Learn more and apply at hennepin.us/advisoryboards by June 19.

June 27, 2020

Zero waste challenge


You may be surprised by the variety of actions you can take to reduce waste and live a lower waste lifestyle.

Hennepin County’s online Zero Waste Challenge has more than 100 actions to choose from in eight categories.

Check off the actions you already take, then select up to five one-time actions and five daily actions to make progress on during the challenge. The challenge is underway but you can still join and take part until June 27.  Learn more and sign up now at www.hennepin.us/zerowastechallenge


Hennepin County Services


Our service centers continue to provide services in a variety of ways. Many services can be completed via mail, drop-off service or fax. We are also doing a phased approach for opening our service centers for things that need to be completed in-person, like driver’s license renewals. You can now make an appointment at the Brookdale and Ridgedale Service Centers.

Schedule an appointment

  • Call 612-348-8240
  • Email ServiceCenterInfo@hennepin.us and include the following information:
    • What type of services you need
    • A phone number where you can be contacted

To maintain social distancing standards, we can only provide appointment-based services at this time. Previous appointments will not be honored and walk-ins will not be accepted.

Driver’s licenses and state IDs need to be renewed in-person. Expired IDs during the state of emergency have an automatic date extension for two months after the state of emergency has ended. We are still in the state of emergency in Minnesota, so you will have time to renew an expired ID.

For more information visit hennepin.us/servicecenters.

Drop-off facilities open with new procedures and changes in operations

Dropoff facilities

The Hennepin County Drop-off Facilities in Bloomington and Brooklyn Park are open for the public to dispose of hazardous waste, problem materials, and recycling.


The drop-off facilities are operating with new hours. The facilities are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The facilities are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Changes to materials accepted and guidelines

There have been some changes to the materials accepted. Residents should check guidelines at hennepin.us/dropoffs for updates and materials accepted, and can find specific disposal information for common household materials in the Green Disposal Guide.

Payment, if applicable, is being taken with credit card only (Visa, Discover, Mastercard). For safety, we're temporarily not accepting cash or checks.

Residents should expect longer-than-normal wait times and are encouraged to visit on Wednesdays and Thursdays if possible. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the busiest days at the facilities.

Keeping safe

Drop-off facility staff have adjusted operations to maintain social distancing and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. Staff now wear masks and gloves.

Follow these steps to ensure the health and safety of yourself and staff:

  • Remain in your vehicle unless otherwise directed by staff.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Store items in the trunk of your vehicle, truck bed, or trailer. Only bring in items that one person can load out of a vehicle by themselves. Staff will remove most items from vehicles.

Be patient and follow staff instructions.

2020 Census


More than 88 million households across the country have already completed the census. That’s over 60%! Minnesota has the highest response rate in the nation at 70%. And Hennepin County is already at 74%. But some cities and communities have much lower response rates.

Our census team is working with Hennepin County cities and community partners to make sure we meet, if not exceed, our 2010 response rate of 82%. However, we are concerned that many people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may not complete the census.

This is where you can help: Call, text or email five people you know – friends, co-workers, or extended family members. See how they doing during this chaotic time and then ask them if they’ve completed the census.  Here’s how:

The information collected will determine the resources available to our community for the next 10 years for healthcare, education, housing, transportation, emergency services and other vital programs.

Extension for drivers license renewals


You do not need to renew your expired driver’s license or ID card right now. Governor Walz signed a bill into law extending the expiration date for driver’s licenses and ID cards that expire during the peacetime emergency. Find out more information here.

2020 election


Election season has begun. There are a variety of ways to participate in elections from home this year. Here are a few things you can already do to participate in the 2020 elections.

Register to vote

Register to vote online with the Secretary of State.

File for office

Candidate filing is open for offices with a potential primary. Candidates can file for office by mail, email or drop-off. Candidate filing closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. For more details visit our file for office webpage.

Apply for absentee ballots online

Apply for an absentee ballot online with the Secretary of State.

Some important dates to mark on your calendar:

  • June 26 - Absentee voting opens for the primary election
  • August 11 - Primary election
  • November 3 - Presidential election

Updated board meeting calendar

Commissioners amended the board meeting calendar to include additional meetings for timely response to COVID-19 related items.

Board meetings and committee meetings will now take place every week through the end of July.

View the updated calendar.

About District 6

District 6 map

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners consists of one commissioner from each of seven districts. I am proud to represent Deephaven, north Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, northern Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata and Woodland.

County information

Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Sellwood
Policy Aide

Bill Fellman
Administrative assistant/scheduling


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