Hennepin County approves additional CARES Act funding to support affordable housing, shelter

The Hennepin County Board approved additional CARES Act funding Tuesday to support affordable housing, emergency shelter and a public information campaign.

Passed in March, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides payments to state, local and tribal authorities to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release, the board approved $1.2 million in CARES Act funding to establish an affordable housing stabilization fund. The funding will provide properties, owners and tenants with outreach, education, and assistance to prevent evictions and mortgage foreclosures.

The board also approved $3.5 million in CARES Act funding to provide low barrier emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Funds will be used to support an emergency shelter at 2012 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis, which the American Indian Community Development Corporation is acquiring and rehabilitating.

Additionally, the board approved $2.3 million of CARES act funding for a public information, engagement and outreach campaign to encourage residents to wear face masks. The campaign will also encourage people to take care of other health care needs like flu shorts and childhood vaccinations and, when appropriate, promote COVID-19 vaccinations.

Since the CARES Act passed in March, Hennepin County has already passed several actions to fund programs and services in response to COVID-19 including providing $28 million in emergency relief for small businesses, $2.5 million for job search resources for people experiencing income loss due to the pandemic and $2 million to food banks and other organizations addressing food insecurity.