June 2nd COVID Update

HUD PIH Posts Updated COVID FAQ

Earlier this week, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing published an update to its Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) document on COVID-19. This update document is version 4 and can be found on our COVID Response page here.  NAHRO staff are still in the process of reading through the document and a summary will be available soon. The updated PIH FAQ for COVID-19 (version 4) may be found here.

Minnesota NAHRO Members Respond to Heat Wave During Pandemic


With the weather forecast predicting 90 plus degree days across much of the state this week, check out how these housing authorities are responding while maintaining precautions during the pandemic. 

St Paul PHA Open Community Rooms


Until this week, St Paul PHA kept the community rooms in their high rise buildings closed in response to the COVID19 pandemic.  However, with temperatures expected to exceed 90 degrees this week, St Paul PHA opted to open them until further notice  For many of their residents, the PHA supplied air conditioned community rooms are their only means of cooling off when temperature soar as few residents have their own AC units.  The furniture in the community rooms will be arranged to facilitate social distancing.    

Executive Director Jon Gutzmann said “We are dealing with riots and COVID; we do not want to open a third front of possible public concern over low income residents suffering from heat exhaustion. Recall just a few summers ago that was a real thing in Chicago and other large PHAs were in the news because tenants died from heat exhaustion.” 

Kandiyohi County HRA & McLeod County HRAs to Purchase AC Units with CARES $$


Executive Director Jill Bengtson shared that in addition to opening their community rooms during the heatwave, she is pursuing the use of CARES Act funding to purchase AC units for residents who need to shelter in place.  Staff in the HUD Field Office provided the following guidance:  

“Since purchasing the ACs is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you can certainly use CARES Act funds for that purchase and don’t need to worry about action plans, public comment, etc. You do need to ensure costs are reasonable and expenses documented.  PIH 2020-07 provides guidance on eligibility and reporting requirements.  It doesn’t advise on procurement, but you can find that in EP6, page 6 and OC26, page 19 of the May 29 FAQs  at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/covid_19_resources

George Floyd & Racial Disparities in Minnesota 

On a personal note, it has been a tumultuous week for me as I live just a mile from where George Floyd was killed at 38th and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis.  I have also witnessed the daily power of public protests seeking justice for his death and at night, the destruction of a neighborhood already gravely impacted by the COVID pandemic. For every person who destroyed something, however, I believe there are more people like myself who are committed to rebuild. 

The work to rebuild will take time and must address the racial disparities in our state.  The disparities go far beyond the police brutality we saw Monday. It includes housing, education gaps, incarceration rates and income inequality as summarized here.  As I grapple with what has happened in the city I call home, I believe the first step is owning these challenges, and realizing that I have a role to play in supporting solutions that work for everyone. 

Peace and be well, Shannon

About Minnesota NAHRO

Our goal is to be the leading housing and community development organization in Minnesota by promoting strong, viable communities for all Minnesotans, particularly those with low and moderate incomes.

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Updates from Minnesota NAHRO

Member Update 12-28-20

Member Update 12-28-20

We head into the final week of 2020 with good news. After months of negotiations and last minute drama by the President, the COVID Relief Package and FY21 Funding Bill is finally law. This member update provides highlights of key components of the bill and its impact on the households we serve. Happy Holidays!

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Many HRAs have buildings whose residents are elderly or have underlying health conditions making them at high risk of adverse effects of COVID19. Some housing authorities have coordinated with their local public health departments to prioritize these residents when vaccine distribution begins.

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The virtual doors are open, and it’s time to shop! While COVID-19 has derailed our usual in-person fundraising efforts for the NAHRO Merit Scholarship Program, it can’t stop us from helping our children succeed! This year, we’re taking our fundraising online with the NAHRO Dollars for Scholars Online Auction! From now until December 10, you’ll be able to bid on as many baskets as you like – just in time for the holidays!

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