MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In an effort to prevent homelessness and help those struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced a housing relief plan Tuesday.

Walz and Flanagan announced the state has received $100 million from the CARES Act to be allocated for rental relief for those struggling to afford housing amid growing unemployment.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit families across the state hard. I’ve said throughout this fight that my top priority is Minnesotans’ safety, health, and wellbeing. And we know that stable housing is key to safety, health, and wellbeing,” Walz said. “We hope this program will bring some relief to Minnesotans across the state who are struggling to afford their bills because of the pandemic.”

The aim is to prevent more people from experiencing homelessness as the state continues to grapple with the significant economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The program is promising to help prevent evictions and maintain housing stability for families and individuals affected by coronavirus.

“Minnesota faced a housing crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and for some Minnesotans, a lost job or unexpected expenses have put their housing at risk,” Flanagan said. “This housing assistance will help us keep individuals and families in their homes throughout this pandemic.”

Flanagan said that it’s a personal moment for her; as a child, her family relied on rent relief to make ends meet.

“For me, this is very personal, my mom was able to make ends meet because she had rental assistance,” Flanagan added.

Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield), the vice-chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Division, praised the announcement.

“Since the onset of COVID-19 we have worked to provide needed housing assistance to Minnesotans because you can’t stay home and stay safe if you can’t afford the roof over your head. We are at a pivotal time because federal economic assistance for Minnesotans will dry up soon and Senate Republicans have blocked a legislative solution,” Howard said.

More information about the program is available here.

This is a developing story. Check back with WCCO.com for further updates.

Esme Murphy

Comments