Hotel use enters new phase, Emergency Rental Assistance, Get your check, and more

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March 2021

Heading Home Hennepin Monthly Newsletter

The Heading Home Hennepin monthly newsletter aims to be a resource for the community of individuals that work to increase housing stability for residents of Hennepin County.


This month in the HHH Newsletter:


  • Hotel use: 3 reasons why we've reached a 'rolling back' phase

Community Resources:

  • Apply for emergency rent assistance
  • Housing and Homeless online resources
  • Tips on how to receive a stimulus check if you are experiencing homelessness or housing instability
  • Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness

Service Provider Resources:

  • DHS is seeking to provide services through Homeless Assistance Grants

  • Upcoming trainings through MESH
  • Heading Home Corps Site Application Now Open
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Hotel use: 3 reasons why we've reached a 'rolling back' phase


Vaccines, along with infrastructure and service changes, have allowed the county to start rolling back its response to COVID and homelessness.

"Since March 11 last year, we've been following a policy of public health response," said David Hewitt, senior department administrator for Housing Stability. "Using hotels for isolation and quarantine was part of our strategy to deal with underserved populations during the pandemic, and we've now reached the next phase."

The county is no longer placing people in hotels, which was our emergency stopgap to prevent COVID-19 from uncontrolled spread in shelters. A case management team has been put in place to help move folks from these sites into permanent housing and has so far helped more than 170 people do so. As people vacate the hotel rooms, the space is being turned back over to the hotel businesses.

Single adults in need of shelter should call Adult Shelter Connect at 612-248-2350 for help reserving a place at a shelter.

Several factors made this next phase possible:

Vaccines: People experiencing homelessness, and staff and volunteers who work with them, have been prioritized to receive the COVID vaccine. As of March 16, Public Health's Health Care for the Homeless, in partnership with Hennepin Healthcare, has provided 1,943 first doses of the vaccine and 200 second doses to people experiencing homelessness and homeless service providers.

Shelter changes: All shelters have now transitioned to providing space 24/7 instead of just at night. (Federal funding allowing for round-the-clock shelter is secured through September 2022.) The shelter facilities have been reconfigured to operate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations– such as social distancing, cleaning protocols, masks and touchless hand washing.

Additional shelters open: Three new shelters have recently made more space and person-centered services available. The Salvation Army has added a 30-bed shelter for women in south Minneapolis. The American Indian Community Development Corporation opened Homeward Bound, a 50-bed shelter providing culturally specific services for the Native American community. And Avivo Village, an indoor community of 100 private dwellings, opened March 8. All are operating 24/7 and have infection control protocols in place.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, only an estimated 377 people experiencing homelessness have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hennepin County – out of more than 100,000 total cases in the county.

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Community Resources:


Apply now for emergency rent assistance

HC Rent Assistance

Don’t let COVID-19 take your home

Apply now for emergency rent assistance from Hennepin County. Households with unpaid rent and low incomes may qualify for help paying for rent and utility bills.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 19 at noon.

Apply now

This is an initial short-term program to get urgent help to households with high need. More help will be offered to even more households through a statewide COVID-19 Emergency Rent Assistance program opening later this month.

Rent is still due during the State of Minnesota’s evictions moratorium. You can’t be evicted for not paying rent under Governor Walz’s executive order, but this order may be lifted soon and you will be at risk of eviction if you have unpaid rent. Don’t wait to apply for help.



Housing and Homeless Resources

Waypoint logo

Hennepin Waypoint - Use Waypoint to find free and low cost community resources near you.

Renters' Help Tool

Renters' Help Tool - use this tool to search for services related to an urgent housing situation, including being behind on rent, facing eviction, or a dispute with a landlord.

TRC logo

Tenant Resource Center - Talk with someone about maintaining your housing situation and avoid the “service run around”.   (612) 767-9737;

Hennepin Housing Key

Hennepin Housing Key - Use this tool to connect people looking for housing with people providing housing.

YSN logo

Youth Services Network - Use YSN MN to help youth find shelter and services.

No Wrong Door logo

No Wrong Door Resource Hub - Use this tool to easily find resources to better serve youth & learn more about sexual exploitation.




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Tips for obtaining a stimulus check if you are experiencing homelessness or housing instability



  • Must be a US Citizen, permanent resident or qualifying resident alien
  • You have a work eligible social security number (View SSA website for more info)
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent

How to claim:

If you don't have a permanent address

  • Ask a shelter, direct service provider, place of worship, friend, or relative if they can serve as your address
  • Use a post office box, or rent a personal mailbox if you have the means
  • Contact a post office in your area and ask if they will hold your mail as General Delivery

Additional tips:

  • Setting up a bank account at a local bank can help speed up the process
  • You can also use the IRS tool: Get my payment
  • Beware of scams - View this list of scams via Get My Payment Illinois. 

Sources: @Hamdia_Ahmed via Twitter, MarketWatch, IRS Economic Impact Payments. Get my payment IL


Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness

With many students returning to school, we want to remind everyone that each school district or charter has a point of contact to help make sure these rights are upheld. Liaisons can help set up transportation or provide additional support to remove barriers for students. A directory of Minnesota Liaisons can be found here.

For more information, please visit National Center for Homeless Education or Minnesota Department of Education: Homeless McKinney Vento.  Please share the following flyers:

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Service Provider Resources



DHS is seeking to provide services through the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Homeless Assistance Grants

DHS, through its Economic Assistance and Employment Support, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), is seeking to provide Outreach, Drop-in Center/Day Shelter, Emergency Shelter, Scattered-Site Transitional and Rapid Re-Housing, Site-Based Transitional and Permanent Supportive Housing services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Minnesota between the period July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2023.

Proposals must be submitted electronically by 4:00 pm CT on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

There will be a responder’s conference on Tuesday March 23 at 1:00 p.m. On March 23 you can join the meeting here, using access code 187-575-1838 and meeting password 8zY5vaZrJu2 or join by phone by calling 415-655-0003.

Please email with any questions.


MESH logo

Upcoming trainings offered by MESH

  • March 18: Homelessness 101: Cultural Awareness 101
  • March 19: Homelessness 201: Mindfulness
  • March 25: Office Hours: Housing Support
  • March 26: Homeless 201: Motivational Interviewing Skills Practice IV: Learning Collaborative
  • April 2: Homelessness 201: Mindfulness 2: Navigating Conflict

View training here.


Americorps logo

Heading Home Corps Site Application Now Open

Heading Home Corps is a new AmeriCorps program in Minnesota.  Heading Home Corps is looking for sites to place Housing Resource Navigators. A Heading Home Corps Housing Resource Navigator supports individuals experiencing homelessness - navigating resources and supports to secure safe and stable housing. 

Interested in bringing Heading Home Corps to your organization? Want to dive deeper? Visit for more information. 

Contact us

Heading Home Hennepin


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