Before we dive into helpful resources, here is an important message for our current program participants.
In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that many Minnesotans may be facing financial uncertainty. For this reason, we are offering you the option to defer your April and May payments.
Contact Anna, our program coordinator, by April 10, 2020 to defer your April payment and by May 11, 2020 to defer your May payment, if needed. Anna can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 612-615-0067 ext 1. If we do not hear from you by these dates, we will be processing your payment as usual.
1. Above all, stay at home. Get groceries and other essential household items once per week.
2. Follow the Minnesota Department of Health’s updates on the spread of the virus in Minnesota so that you stay informed and get answers to common health questions about COVID-19.
3. Regularly wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and cover your cough. Also, only flush toilet paper to avoid sewer backups. Do not flush any wipes, napkins, paper towels, or other sanitary items.
4. Read up-to-date on the local news of the pandemic in the Star Tribune. Furthermore, keep track of executive orders from Governor Tim Walz regarding COVID-19, including a ban on new eviction proceedings.
5. Reach out to your local Minnesota Community Action Partnership agency because they can help you find programs that address immediate and long-term needs. Furthermore, call United Way 2-1-1 or search online to find local resources.
7. Apply for unemployment benefits if you lost employment due to COVID-19. Review the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s frequently asked questions during the crisis.
8. Enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure during their COVID-19 emergency enrollment period from March 23rd through April 21st for eligible Minnesotans.
9. Avoid COVID-19 scams and price-gouging. Contact the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General if you believe you have been a victim of a scam. Complete this online complaint form to report price-gouging.
10. Use Parent Aware’s search tool to find child care and early learning programs near you. Another option is to look at the State of Minnesota’s map of childcare providers for emergency workers.
12. Search Hunger Solutions’ website for food shelves near you or on the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ list of food assistance programs. Additionally, Metro Mobility will deliver essentials to certified customers.
13. Call HOME Line’s confidential renters hotline for free and low-cost legal help if you have a rental housing problem or concern. Find housing or rent assistance, if needed, through Minnesota Housing.
14. Note the federal and state tax deadline has moved from April 15 to July 15. For this reason, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue for free filing options if you’d like to file now. Follow Prepare + Prosper (who have suspended their in-person tax services) for tax updates.
15. Learn from the University of Minnesota Extension about how to cope with hardship due to the COVID-19, including strategies for dealing with stress, supporting food stability, and managing a loss of income.
16. Manage your mental health during social isolation with tips from Mental Health Minnesota. In addition, discover more resources to support your mental health with insights and articles from NAMI Minnesota.
17. Contact your creditors (including student loan, mortgage, and credit card providers) and ask for hardship concessions. Centerpoint Energy has suspended disconnections, CenturyLink will not suspend service, Comcast Xfinity is offering billing flexibility, and Xcel Energy has also suspended disconnections.
18. Make a phone or online appointment with a financial counselor at LSS Financial Counseling. Protect your finances during the COVID-19 with these resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
19. Finally, take a break! Go on a virtual museum tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a virtual hike through Yellowstone National Park, or a virtual “dive” with the National Marine Sanctuaries.
Money Management E-Newsletter: March 2020