Funding Resources for COVID Response

On March 26, the state legislature passed $330 million emergency funding package that was signed into law by Governor Walz on March 28. The legislation secured important and much needed funding for providers to serve people experiencing homelessness.

Emergency Services Program (ESP) 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
    • NEW CATEGORY! Provide meals and food to persons experiencing sheltered or sheltered homelessness (usually bag or box meals, some hot meals).

For these interested in submitting a request:

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

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

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 COVID-19 Emergency Services Response 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.

To complete a budget revision, complete this form and return to Katelyn Warburton (Katelyn.warburton@state.mn.us).

Reporting information

Reporting on COVID-19 Emergency Services Response Funds is 45 days after the funds expire.

Funding expiration is determined when one of these three conditions are met (whichever comes first): all COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds have been distributed by the Office of Economic Opportunity; February 1, 2021; or 60 days after the expiration of the peacetime emergency declared by the governor in an executive order related to COVID-19. Once one of these conditions are met, OEO will reach out to all recipients of COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds to confirm the reporting deadline.

  • Fiscal Reconciliation: Information about requirements for how entities who received COVID-19 Emergency Services Response 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.)

Emergency Solutions Grant COVID-19 Funds, Round 1 (ESG-CV1)

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, through its Economic Assistance and Employment Support Division, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO or STATE), is seeking Proposals from qualified Responders to provide emergency shelter services and/or outreach to unsheltered individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the state of Minnesota. The RFP seeks eligible entities (non-profit organizations and local units of government) to provide emergency shelter and/or unsheltered street outreach services to youth, single adults, and/or families. Recipients of these supplemental allocations of ESG-CV funds are to be used to:

  • Prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and related economic hardships among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance; and
  • Support additional and/or maintain homeless assistance activities to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, related economic hardships, and persistent barriers to housing.

Additional Information:

  • The term of any resulting contract is anticipated to be for twenty-four months, from October 1, 2020 until September 30, 2022.
  • This RFP is only for the first CARES Act ESG Allocation to Minnesota (ESG-CV1). The second CARES Act ESG allocation (ESG-CV2) will be allocated using a separate RFP process in the coming months.
  • Because the Department of Human Services is the balance of state recipient for ESG allocations, funds distributed via this RFP are prioritized for entities providing services in non-entitlement areas. Minnesota’s ESG-CV1 entitlement area recipients include Duluth, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Dakota County, Hennepin County, St. Louis County.

The RFP can be viewed by visiting the Minnesota Department of Human Services RFP web site:  http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/id_000102. 

For more information, or to ask a question please contact Katelyn Warburton (katelyn.warburton@state.mn.us). Proposals must be submitted electronically to barb.alt@state.mn.us by 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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

Otto Bremer Trust – $50 M Emergency Fund

Blue Cross Foundation COVID-19 Responsive Grants