Funding Resources for COVID Response

Coronavirus Relief Fund-Emergency Services Program (CRF-ESP) Funds

In March 2020, the Minnesota State Legislature allocated $26.5 million in funding to assist providers in responding to needs of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID pandemic. This funding is called Emergency Services Program-COVID (ESP-CV). Those funds became available April 1, 2020 and remain available until, a) the funding runs out, b) 60 days after the Peacetime Emergency is lifted, or c) Feb 2021, whichever of these three occurs first.

ESP-CV funding has been critical to responding to community needs and has been instrumental in supporting additional shelter capacity, purchasing hygiene/sanitation supplies for shelter and outreach workers, and supporting provider staffing needs. The good news is that the Walz-Flanagan administration allocated $19 million in Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to assist in sustaining the ESP-CV activities when they end.

These funds are intended to:

  • Sustaining activities to protect people experiencing homelessness from COVID-19 eligible for the Legislature’s $26.5 million appropriation to DHS’s Emergency Services Program (ESP). Funds can be used for the same activities as ESP-CV including Shelter Capacity, Hygiene/Sanitation Supplies, Staffing, and Food for shelters and encampments.
  • Supporting victim service providers for activities similar to ESP-CV for those who are not homeless. A victim service provider is defined as a provider whose primary mission is to provide direct, specialized services to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and/or human trafficking/exploitation.
  • Fund Light/Moderate Rehab necessary to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency including capital improvements for shelters and other settings to enhance infection control (e.g., dividing large rooms for sleeping accommodations into smaller rooms, installing plexiglass at front desks, or increasing spacing for bunks).
  • Support Isolation Spaces for suspected or confirmed COVID-positive people who are experiencing homelessness or who cannot safely isolate at home and who do not require a hospital level of care.

Funding Details:

  • On-line survey is rolling, meaning you can apply at any time until the survey closes on November 30, 2020.
  • Funds can be requested for activities through Dec 30, 2020.
  • Funds can only be spent towards activities that occur prior to Dec 30, 2020.


Before beginning a survey request, complete a Budget Request Excel document (click to download). This tool is REQUIRED. No request will be considered without a completed Budget Request Excel document. The Budget Request Excel document is how you will:

  • Report on previous funds received (if applicable), and
  • Provide budget details on the new funds being requested.

A completed Budget Request Excel Document must sent as an email attachment to Dina Chou ( No request will be reviewed or considered for funding until the Budget Request Excel Document is received. 

Additional information about CRF-ESP funds can be found here.

For those interested in submitting a request:

Frequently Asked Questions: Please review for additional information on the submission process, eligible expenses, and other funding considerations. These will be updated on a rolling basis as additional questions are received and answered.

Please direct any questions about the survey, eligibility, funding process, etc. to Katelyn Warburton ( The OEO team will work as quickly as possible to provide a response.

This chart provides a comparison between the ESP-CV and CRF-ESP

Emergency Services Program (ESP-CV) Funds

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) at the Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for administering the ESP funding.  The team has developed a survey that will be used by non-profit organizations, tribal governments, or local units of government to request funding. Recipients of these funds DO NOT need to be current ESP grantees, nor do they have to be current grantees of any funding from the DHS or OEO. The funds must be targeted to persons experiencing homelessness (including those are literally homeless or doubled-up).

The process will work as follows:

  • Complete the survey linked below. The survey will stay open on a rolling basis for providers to request funding as needs arise. Providers can request funds multiple times through the survey.
  • The OEO team, in partnership with the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness (MICH), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will review requests. If funding is approved, funds will be sent to the provider within approximately two-three weeks of survey submission. Funds can cover expenses from April 1, 2020 and beyond (i.e. funds cannot be used to cover any expenses incurred prior to April 1, 2020). Funds must be expended by February 1, 2021, or until 60 days after expiration of the peacetime emergency declared by Governor Walz in an Executive Order that relates to the infectious disease known as COVID-19, whichever occurs first. 
  • Funding can be used to:
    • Maintain or expand shelter capacity that promotes the health and safety and quarantine options
    • Purchase hygiene or sanitation supplies so providers can comply with CDC guidance
    • Support staffing needs for homeless programs to maintain and hire staff necessary to protect the health and wellness of participants and staff
    • Provide meals and food to persons experiencing sheltered or sheltered homelessness (usually bag or box meals, some hot meals).

ESP-CV Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

For those who have received funds:

Budget Revision

Recognizing providers’ needs continue to change in responding the COVID-19 crisis, entities who have received COVID-19 Emergency Services Response Funds can submit a budget revision to move funds received to different budget categories (shelter capacity, hygiene/sanitation and cleaning supplies, and staffing).

For example, if you received funds for PPE but obtained those items through different channels and need additional funds for motel vouchers, you are able to submit a budget revision form to move those dollars as necessary. Providers do not need to have spent down all budget categories before submitting a new survey request for additional dollars. If needs still exist for PPE (in the example above) AND additional funds are needed for motel vouchers, you can still submit a new survey for additional shelter capacity dollars.

PLEASE NOTE: Budget revisions can only be completed within the funding type (ESP-CV versus CRF-ESP) received. If you have received both ESP-CV AND CRF-ESP funds (indicated by your award/remittance notice), note that funds cannot be transferred across funding streams. For example, ESP-CV funds received for hygiene supplies cannot be moved to a CRF-ESP funded shelter capacity budget. A separate budget revision would need to be completed for ESP-CV and a separate budget revision for CRF-ESP.  

To complete a budget revision, complete this form and return to Katelyn Warburton (

Reporting information

This section will be updated as reporting details are finalized for ESP-CV and CRF-ESP. Entities receiving funds are expected to review this reporting overview. Funded entities will be contacted with specific reporting information.

  • Fiscal Reconciliation: Information about requirements for how entities who received COVID-19 funds need to track spending, and how DHS will reconcile and monitor the spending of these funds.
  • Provider/Project Details:Requirements for reporting data on services provided and individuals/households supported with these funds. (Reminder: Entities with established access to the Homelessness Management Information System are encouraged to enter participant level information for data management, tracking, and local coordination purposes.)

Veterans Resources

$6.2 million in funding was allocated to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to provide financial assistance to Veterans who need assistance as a result of COVID-19. Check out this resource guide to learn more about the various programs and how to apply for funding.

Housing Support Rate Increase

Housing Support providers will be receiving more information through their county and tribal partners this week about the increase to room and board and standard supplemental service rates approved by the MN Legislature.  A 15% rate increase was approved for March, April, and May expenses.  Housing Support providers should start keeping track of their COVID-19 related expenses to ensure the health and safety of people they are serving.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Housing Support rate increase.

Federal CARES Act

CARES Act Eligibility and Recommended Uses for State and Local Jurisdictions (Completed by CSH)

Philanthropy Funding Opportunities

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has created a special edition of Minnesota Grants Directory with updated information on COVID-19 resources. Download a copy from their website.

Bush Foundation COVID-19 Resource Page

St. Paul and Minneapolis Foundation – Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund