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Pandemic response and recovery

The county continues the public heath response to COVID-19 and is actively working on recovery efforts throughout our communities. The focus of our recovery efforts are to jump start disparity reduction strategies and drive transformational change for our residents and businesses.

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Programs, services and projects from our pandemic response and recovery are rooted in our disparity reduction efforts. These projects are outlined in seven domains, provide general support across domains or other government services.

We are strategically investing in:

Education

  • Educational Services

Employment

  • Employment Strategies

Health

  • Vaccine incentives
  • Behavioral Health
  • Public and Maternal Health
  • Food Insecurity

Housing

  • Services for unhoused persons
  • Housing recovery
  • Eviction Reduction
  • Emergency Shelter Facility

Income

  • Economic Recovery

Justice

  • Gun Violence
  • COVID-19 Related Court Backlog
  • Anti-Hate Initiative

Transportation

  • Broadband and Digital Inclusion

Other

  • Voter Participation, Elections

Disparity reduction domain infrastructure

  • Engagement Services
  • Enterprise Integrated Data system
  • Digital Experience
  • Countywide HVAC Covid-19 response
  • Information Technology
  • Information Technology Community Connectivity

Through the American Rescue Plan Act and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARPA-SLFRF) program, Hennepin County has a total award of $245.9 million to respond to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19 and to mitigate its impacts on the community, residents, and businesses. Here are the ARPA-SLFRF reports from 2021.

The county board took action in March 2022 to use the dollars from ARPA-SLFRF for government services (payroll). This allows for other revenue sources to be used for pandemic response and recovery efforts. It also provides the county and subcontractors greater flexibility in getting funds directly to residents, businesses and partners in our communities.

The county received about $220 million and used the funds to respond to COVID-19 and support residents, businesses and community.

Support for businesses

Hennepin County Small Business Relief Program

Establish a network that aid businesses in COVID-19 recovery

  • Provide peer-to-peer business roundtables
  • Host critical topics series
  • Match businesses with specialized technical assistance and coaching

Support local restaurants and bars during the COVID-19 crisis

Support for community organizations

  • Provide expanded safety net services due to COVID-19

Education

Funding targeted for youth involved in county systems, such as child welfare and corrections.

Support for distance learning

  • Purchasing devices, hotspots, and cell phones
  • Investing in broadband in places where many youth are without connectivity

Providing educational support

  • Education planning, monitoring, coaching, and tutoring
  • Coordinating with school district staff, child welfare, Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation, Be@School staff, and related professionals
  • Arranging for other needed services
  • Building problem-solving and self-advocacy skills
  • Developing support networks

Homelessness and Housing

Indoor Villages project

  • 100 tiny structures inside a warehouse building
  • Will provide individual living space for each resident
  • Connects residents with supportive services

Prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Focusing on emergency shelters for people experiencing homelessness

Provide a low-barrier emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

Provide safer shelter at hotels

  • Operating three hotel sites for people who cannot safely self-isolate
  • Working with Americorps to operate two hotel sites for seniors and people with underlying health conditions
  • Operating two hotel sites for people staying in shelter who have suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19

Affordable housing stabilization fund

Culturally specific support

Efforts are targeted for the Native American community, which is disproportionally affected by homelessness.

  • Providing crisis outreach and housing navigation to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness
  • Connecting people to housing and shelter more rapidly
  • Support low-barrier housing

Purchase alternative living spaces for people experiencing homelessness

Food security

Support food banks and other organizations

Grants for food insecurity

  • Distributed to 75 community organizations as part of a long-term strategy to address food insecurity

Human services

Support non-profits and community organizations

  • Supporting organizations that serve individuals, families, and youth involved in county systems
  • Providing funding for facility adaptations, technology, supplies, and PPE

Jobs

Provide job search resources

  • Allocating funding to organizations serving people who are experiencing income loss due to COVID-19
  • Partnering with Twin West Chamber of Commerce to create an app that connect people with open jobs/careers

Licensing service centers

Reduce backlog

  • Modifying spaces at Brookdale, North Minneapolis Hub and Ridgedale, and potentially another location
  • Hiring staff and providing PPE and cleaning supplies
  • Providing technology including an online payment system, electronic locker system, and chat/instant messaging

Outreach

Public outreach campaign

Public health

Multidisciplinary approach to combat COVID-19

  • Hiring/contracting staff to provide mobile testing
  • Hiring staff for contact tracing and investigation
  • Supply PPE for staff

Hennepin Healthcare

  • Covers COVID-19 expenses from March through July

Rental and housing assistance

Emergency assistance for renters and homeowners

  • Targeting renters with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income
  • Helping an expected 9,000 residents maintain stable housing during the pandemic

Rental assistance

  • Establish a program that will allow rental property owners to apply for emergency rental assistance on behalf of tenants who cannot pay due to COVID-19

Technology

Provide low-cost laptops

  • To youth, adults and seniors
  • Eligible to those participating in distance learning, pursuing employment, or accessing county services and telehealth options

Testing

Support long-term care facilities

  • Provide increased COVID-19 testing, follow-up services, and education

Increase testing

  • Purchase saliva test kits from Vault Health and Hennepin Healthcare
  • $425,000 to Hennepin Healthcare to increase testing

Voting

Promote and support absentee voting

  • Educating and encouraging voters to vote absentee
  • Counting increase in absentee ballots
  • Implementing public health measures in polling places
  • Recruiting polling place staff
  • Mailing absentee ballots
  • Hiring additional seasonal staff to support absentee voting in the general election

Support cities for the 2020 election

Youth programs

Support summer youth programs

  • Helping organizations safely provide youth programs and organized youth sports
  • Supporting facility adaptations, technology, supplies and PPE

Support safe participation in youth sports and programming

Additional funding

Hennepin County is using additional CARES funding to equip Hennepin County and Hennepin Healthcare staff to best serve residents during this pandemic.

Internal focus areas include:

  • Transitioning to new ways to deliver service
  • Time off/accommodations for employees
  • Health resources for employees
  • Emergency response
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