The COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd have had major consequences on our operating budget as a City. A $160 million-dollar shortfall for the City of Minneapolis has required an unprecedented mid-year budget adjustment which impacts all program funding and department budgets.
In turn, NCR was tasked with cutting 15% of their operating budget, and July 24th, the Mayor and the City Council adopted a revised budget for the remainder of this fiscal year that included a $750,000 cut to neighborhood organization funding alongside cuts to the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department (NCR)’s operating budget, programs and grants. NCR’s goal is to limit the impact of these cuts on the community as much as possible.
In October, NCR will present more details regarding how these cuts will impact neighborhoods to the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) Policy Board. In reviewing where funds would be reduced, NCR has looked at both the 2020 CPP funds as well as NRP funds. If cuts are made to the 2020 CPP funds, there would be an immediate impact on all neighborhood organizations by requiring that neighborhood organizations make up the budget shortfall in less than six months. In turn, the reduction will made to the NRP fund balance. Unlike CPP, there is a large balance in the NRP fund, and the impact of any cut can be spread out over a much longer timeframe.
Maintaining and Expanding Affordable Housing
The City and County have significantly increased investments in affordable housing development in 2019 and 2020, with priority for housing serving persons experiencing homelessness. In the last 12 months, 2,107 people in Hennepin County have successfully moved from homelessness to permanent housing.
Here is the most current information pertaining to Powderhorn Park and other encampments, recent Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board actions, City response and supports, as well as needed advocacy at the State level:
POGO Committee Actions on July 24, 2020
CM Cano and the City Council approved a package of approximately $8 million from federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) COVID response dollars to expand shelter in three separate projects, including:
- A new women’s specific stand-alone, year-round shelter. This project is a partnership between the City and the County, and a non-profit service provider.
- A new medical respite shelter beds to serve medically frail persons experiencing homelessness – this project is part of a partnership with Catholic Charities to also add 167 units of permanent supportive housing to serve persons who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. This project is funded by the City, County and State through Minnesota Housing.
- A new emergency shelter culturally designed to serve Native American persons experiencing homelessness. This project is in partnership with American Indian Community Development Corporation, and funded by the City, County and State.
The City and County released a joint RFP for federal ESG-COVID response funds. The city is sought applications from community providers to bolster our homeless response system during the pandemic. Funds can be used for shelter (rehabilitation or operation), rapid rehousing and street outreach.
Questions concerning this RFP should be submitted in writing via e-mail to the following address: Jacqueline.Gould@hennepin.us.
There is currently a first round of grants available through the State: Emergency Solutions Grant COVID- 19 Funds, Round 1 (ESG-CV1). Service providers can apply and use these 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.
Immediate Shelter and Housing
There are currently about 50 private rooms available for families at both St. Anne’s and People Serving People. We continue to implore all families with children to contact Hennepin County shelter team at 612-348-9410 so that they can get into one of these safe places today.
Hennepin County's Waypoint, is an app/mobile platform intended to provide a comprehensive list of resources for people experiencing homelessness or financial hardship.
Outreach and Housing Resources
The City and the County significantly increased funding for outreach and are continuing to support our private partners in housing navigation services. These funds are ongoing:
- The City is providing $200,000 of COVID-19 Emergency Solutions Grant funds for specific outreach to connect people experiencing unsheltered homelessness to housing.
- The County is providing $200,000 to American Indian Community Development Corporation and the MN Indian Women’s Resource Center.
- The City and County have ongoing contracts with St. Stephens.
- There are about 100 units that typically come available every month through the County's coordinated entry process. These contracted private providers connect unhoused residents with these opportunities.
State Level Advocacy
The State's last special session closed without a bonding bill. These were the asks on the table from the Governor, the DFL caucus, Homes for all Coalition, and our IGR (Intergovernmental relations) team at the City. Hopefully we can approach this conversation again in August when the Governor is likely to call another special session:
The Governor’s bonding request of $260 million dollars is broken down in the following ways:
- $200 million for Housing Infrastructure Bonds; to preserve and building permanent affordable housing statewide
- $60 million General Obligation Bonds: to maintain federal housing statewide
The Homes for All Coalition request of $325 million is broken down as follows:
- $225 Million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds (includes $25 Million set-aside for shelter)
- $100 Million in GO Bonds for public housing rehabilitation.
State funding must be secured in order to provide more dignified housing options. The City’s Intergovernmental Relations team has been working diligently to advocate for these dollars.
If you would like to get involved in a coordinated campaign to request resources from the State, please connect with Homes for All.