Governor Tim Walz announced today $36 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) projects to help Minnesotans respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement includes plans for ARP funds to address health care staffing shortages, provide relief to long-term care providers, address the increase in COVID-related bias and discrimination, and continue emergency rental assistance.

“We must continue to listen to our doctors, nurses, and long-term care providers who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic since the beginning,” said Governor Walz. “These federal funds will ease the pressure our hospitals and long-term care centers are facing and provide more capacity for Minnesotans who are sick with COVID or other illnesses. These ARP funds will help support our health care system as more Minnesotans continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities.”

“This pandemic is not over, and we must continue to use the tools in our toolbox to support Minnesotans through COVID-19,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We are focused on supporting our communities by increasing health care capacity, extending rental assistance, lifting up students, and more, so we can get through this pandemic together.”

Today’s announcement includes ARP funding plans released since Oct. 18, 2021:

  • $2.49 million to address staffing shortages and emergency room crowding, provide relief to long-term care providers, fund hospital surge sites, and reduce the need for Minnesota National Guard deployments to health care facilities.
  • $500,000 for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) to address the increase in anti-Asian bias, discrimination, and hate crimes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $20 million to provide an additional three months of rental assistance to an estimated 6,000 renters across the state. More than 7,000 households are at risk of exhausting their 18 months of federal assistance by March 2022.
  • $1 million to increase vocational and life skills opportunities to school districts and charter schools serving students with disabilities ages 18-21 who lost instructional time in secondary transition programs during the pandemic.
  • $1.5 million to fund two early learning programs that support language, communication, and literacy skills during a critical period in child development.
  • $7 million in operating funds to distribute emergency rental assistance payments. This additional funding will ensure staffing levels are sufficient to distribute payments efficiently.
  • $3.57 million to support the Attorney General’s Office with COVID-related litigation and investigation costs, including investigation and enforcement of COVID-related scams, residential utilities matters, and landlord-tenant issues.

In total, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan provides $8.5 billion to Minnesota to support COVID-19 recovery efforts. This includes $2.132 billion to local governments, $2.833 billion to the state government, and $3.505 billion for existing federally-funded programs to help Minnesotans who were impacted the most during the pandemic. State leaders agreed to divide the state’s $2.833 billion into three categories, which are outlined online.

Additional plans for ARP funds will be announced in the coming months as the state continues to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.