Additional COVID-ESP Funding Available
There are additional COVID Response Funds available. The funding is through the COVID Emergency Services Program (COVID ESP). This is the same funding that has been available over the past year from the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO).
There is $2,095,000 available in funding. The funds will be administered in the same way that previous OEO COVID funding has been, through an on-line survey tool. The survey will NOT be a rolling survey as it has in the past, but instead will be live between 5/12/21-5/21/21. The survey will then close at midnight on 5/21/21, and all funds will be distributed using the responses from those surveys. Funds can be requested for the period April 1, 2021 through August 31, 2021, though priority will be given to funding requests for the months of April 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021.
Eligible Entities: Recipients must:
- Have received COVID response funds through OEO on-line survey
Eligible Activities: Funds must be used to:
- Increase access to shelter/housing for unsheltered individuals and families, and/or
- To support direct operations of shelter, and/or
- To support transition from shelter to housing.
Need: Funds must be used to:
- Address urgent and immediate needs in coming months (May-August).
Purpose: Funds must be to:
- Serve as bridge to sustainable/ongoing/longer term funding, or
- Support gradual transition to closure of COVID response activities.
There are THREE budget categories for this funding. Administrative expenses are not allowable.
1) BUDGET CATEGORY 1-SHELTER OPERATIONS AND DIRECT ASSISTANCE (not including staffing OR food needs): Resources needed for purchasing vouchers for the cost of a motel or hotel room; or for funding other housing/shelter options, in order to provide shelter that promotes health and safety, or so individuals exposed to the COVID-19 virus or who are experiencing symptoms can quarantine. This can also include funding to cover security deposits, rental application fees or furnishings to help households move into housing.
2) BUDGET CATEGORY 2-STAFFING: Resources needed for hiring staff necessary to protect the health and wellness of program participants, for increasing the number of persons served, for helping households access shelter or housing, or for providing staffing when workers are quarantined or cannot work because they are caring for someone with COVID-19.
3) BUDGET CATEGORY 3-FOOD: Funds for meals for persons experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness (usually bag or box meals, some hot meals).
Other Available Resources
Rental Assistance Programs
- COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program – This is a federally funded rental assistance program run by Minnesota Housing. Now accepting applications! Visit https://www.renthelpmn.org/ to learn more about the program.
- COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program – This program was open from August -December 2020 and is no longer accepting applications.
- Local rental assistance programs
Economic Impact Payment Information
People experiencing homelessness are entitled to receive Economic Impact Payment (EIP) benefits, also known as stimulus checks. Resources to help get more information and help clients receive their checks:
- The International Revenue Services (IRS) page provides more detailed information on accessing EIP for people experiencing homelessness.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Step by Step Guide to accessing EIP
- List of Minnesota SPEC (Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, & Communications) partners with the IRS that assist with tax filing. Treasury shared EIP information with these contacts. This is not a list of people are helping people access EIP but could be a resource. Outreach would be needed to ask each individual organization.
- The National Alliance to End Homelessness has developed a series of flyers to help providers, advocates, and other system leaders assist people in accessing their payments.
- A Guide to 2021 Economic Impact Payments for People Experiencing Homelessness put together by Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness provides responses to common questions about the Economic Impact Payments.
Currently Funded Entities
If you are currently being funded by DHS’ Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), there are reporting requirements that you need to complete. Click here for the reporting requirements page to access the reporting documents and budget revision forms.
Summary of Funding
We have seen the largest increase in homeless-specific funding in state history, with over $84 million in new State and Federal funds dedicated to supporting people experiencing homelessness and $480 million allocated to preventing homelessness and evictions allocated since March. These resources in combination with the incredible work providers and local communities are doing are critical to protect people experiencing homelessness and prevent people from becoming homeless. The investments include:
- $26.5 million to the Emergency Services Program (ESP) for shelter space, outreach, staffing, and PPE (March 2020)
- $5.5 million for a 15% increase in payments for settings supported by the Housing Support program for March, April, and May (March 2020)
- $6.2 million for Veteran homelessness prevention and rental assistance (March 2020)
- $19.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) dedicated to sustain efforts funded by ESP (August 2020)
- $100 million in CRF dedicated for housing stability and eviction prevention through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (July 2020)
- $375 million from the federal COVID releif package for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program. (December 2020)
- $4.4 million in COVID-19 Minnesota Funds approved for 200 additional shelter spaces in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. (October and November 2020)
- $8.9 million in COVID-19 Minnesota Funds to sustain critical ESP activities in early 2021.(December 2020)
- The Federal CARES Act and state actions have allocated various funding to support the COVID-19 response for people experiencing homelessness. Funding Summary Chart to highlight the various state and federal funding sources to support COVID-19 response.
- The COVID-19 relief bill was passed by Congress on December 2020. View a summary of both the COVID-19 relief funding and the fiscal year 2021 funding.
- Governor Walz COVID-19 Recovery Budget Summary for Interagency Council on Homelessness – updated March 19, 2021
- Congress is negotiating the “America Rescue Plan” a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that includes over $40 billion in housing and homelessness resources. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has developed a detailed summary of the housing provisions currently included in the bill. The full bill language can be found here and the housing provisions begin on page 218.