ST. PAUL – There is still state money available to Minnesotans at risk of losing their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the application deadline is looming.

On a media call Thursday, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan urged Minnesotans who are behind on their rent, mortgage, or utility payments to apply for the state’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program before the end of the day on Monday, or to make arrangements with landlords and lenders.

“Whether you own or rent, reach out and talk to the people you pay your rent or mortgage to. For homeowners, talk to your lender to see if they will allow you to defer payment for up to a year.”

Walz issued an eviction moratorium at the beginning of the pandemic, preventing residents from being evicted from their homes due to non-payment. A $100 million Housing Assistance Program was announced in July. As of the end of November, over 28,000 Minnesotans had applied for about $67 million in aid.

One of them, out-of-work Albert Lea resident Katrina Hall, says the program allowed her to keep her home amid financial strife and care for her vulnerable mother.

“I immediately applied and a couple of days later, I got a call from one of the workers. She started working on my application, and within a week, she gave me a call when all the verifications were done to tell me that I was approved, and that past rents and utilities would be paid.”

Over $190 million total dollars in state and federal assistance have also been committed to housing stability and preventing homelessness. About 8,000 Minnesotans experience homelessness each day. Officials say people experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infections due to higher rates of chronic health conditions and difficulty maintaining proper social distancing.

Anyone in need of housing assistance is asked to call 211 or apply online. The deadline to apply is the end of the day on Monday, December 7.

Walz says his administration will seek additional resources for housing and homelessness in the upcoming December special session of the State Legislature.

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