Walz Highlights Assistance Available to Minnesotans
Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan today visited the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties (CAP-RW) to highlight state benefits and assistance programs that remain available to Minnesotans as the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit ends.
The federal law that authorized the additional $600 a week federal unemployment benefit expired with the week ending July 25. The loss of that $600 a week will have a huge impact: Minnesotans throughout the state will lose around $200 to $300 million a week, meaning that many won’t have that additional money to pay rent or pay for food or other necessities.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If Washington won’t lead, Minnesota will,” said Governor Tim Walz. “While Congress continues to hammer out a deal to extend assistance to those financially impacted by COVID-19, the State of Minnesota is offering a range of emergency assistance that have already helped thousands of Minnesotans.”
“We have said from the beginning that COVID-19 will fall hardest on Minnesotans who are already in crisis,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Every Minnesotan deserves a roof over their head, food on the table, and the resources they need to thrive. But we know there are thousands of Minnesotans who have never interacted with unemployment insurance or the myriad of services offered by the state to help make ends meet. During this incredibly challenging time, it’s our job to highlight the support that is available and to help folks access that support.”
Earlier this year, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-14, halting evictions and writs of recovery during the peacetime emergency. The Governor and Lt. Governor also put $100 million in CARES Act funding toward housing assistance. Renters and homeowners who have unpaid housing related bills like rent, mortgage, or utilities will be able to apply for housing assistance through local administrators to help them get caught up on their bills and keep them stably housed. The program, called the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, will open to individual applicants in mid-August.
The State’s Food Security Workgroup has been helping Minnesotans buy food while their budgets are tight. They have made it easier to purchase food items by allowing those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to buy food items online. Amazon and Walmart are both approved online retailers, making it easier for families to pay for healthy food without having to go into a store. Since April, the state has also increased the number of fully functional food shelves and provided support to those food shelves under strain. These food shelves are located all across the state.
The State of Minnesota is also focused on connecting Minnesotans who need work with the employers who need them. More information for career seekers on resources and training to find and apply for in demand jobs is available through the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
If you need help with food or child care, employment resources, or connections for health care or housing assistance, please visit ApplyMN. If you need emergency assistance, contact the county human services or tribal agency where you live. For more information on state and community services and resources visit uimn.org/gethelp or mn.gov/covid19/gethelp.
The Governor’s office and state agencies are also hosting a series of webinars alongside nonprofit partners to highlight resources that are available to Minnesotans, which are available here.
Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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