Ward 11 Neighbors,
Below you’ll find the latest updates on key issues affecting our community. As always, you are always welcome to get in touch with me directly about issues that matter to you. The best way to reach me is to email jeremy.schroeder@
If you have immediate questions about City services like garbage pick-up, potholes, parking violations, and more, please call 311 or use these online reporting tools for the most efficient service.
Minneapolis is once again offering several free COVID-19 testing and flu shot events in coming days. While these events focus on certain communities, all are welcome to participate. Both the test and the flu vaccination are free, and you do not need insurance to participate. Events will be held:
Folks can expect to get their COVID-19 test results in about two days. If you are unable to attend these events, use this state directory to find a testing location near you.
Starting today, Sept. 8, free meal boxes are once again available to all Minneapolis families with children ages 18 and younger. Similar to the free food box program Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) operated in the spring and summer, all families are welcome to participate at no cost – children do not need to be enrolled at an MPS school. Families can pick up one box per child per week. Each box contains five breakfasts and five lunches with fresh produce and whole grains. Milk is available upon request.
Meal boxes are available for pickup Monday through Friday at 29 school sites across Minneapolis. Most sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and few will have extended hours until 5 p.m. Find the full list of pickup sites and hours here. Questions? Call 612-668-2820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide an additional $300 per week to Minnesotans receiving unemployment benefits on a temporary basis, expected to run five to eight weeks. To be eligible for the Lost Wages Assistance program, you must have a weekly unemployment benefit amount of at least $100 and must be unemployed due to COVID-19.
Those currently receiving unemployment benefits do not need to reapply or do anything other than complete their weekly benefits request to receive the additional $300 a week. The State will review all payment requests and automatically pay applicants who are eligible for the lost wages assistance. Find more information here.
As COVID-19 puts additional strain on families and individuals, there are resources available to help. I will continue to share this list in my newsletters, and encourage you to share it with any family, friends, or neighbors who may be able to benefit from these programs.
State Housing Assistance Program
Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program has opened to cover housing expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities or other housing-related costs. This program will help keep folks in their homes and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners in communities across the state.
People in Minnesota interested in applying for assistance can call the Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline at 651-291-0211, text “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211, or apply online here. The 211 Helpline has dedicated multilingual staff to answer questions about the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
For questions regarding the application process, review COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program frequently asked questions.
Rental Assistance from Hennepin County
Hennepin County continues to offer assistance to residents in need that can be used to cover this month’s rent or past-due rent from previous months. To qualify you must:
Priority will be given to households with the lowest incomes and those not eligible for unemployment insurance. Learn more and apply for assistance here. If you do not have internet access or cannot complete the form in English call 612-302-3160.
Foreclosure Prevention Resources
The COVID-19 crisis continues to pose significant challenges for many in our community. If you or someone you know is struggling to meet your mortgage obligations, free assistance is available through the Minnesota Homeownership Center. A network of advisors can help you understand how to prevent foreclosure and connect you with resources to help during this challenging time. Learn more and find an advisor here.
Utility Bill Payment Options During COVID-19
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on household budgets, both of our local utility providers — Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy — have suspended shutoffs for non-payment until further notice. In addition, both companies are working with customers to provide help where possible. Arrange a payment plan by contacting Xcel Energy at 800-895-4999 and/or CenterPoint Energy at 800-245-2377.
The City has launched a 45-day public comment on draft provisions that will regulate the scale of new buildings and additions throughout Minneapolis. The regulations are critical to achieving the goals of Minneapolis 2040, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2018. The plan will shape the city’s growth over the next two decades so all residents can benefit. Under consideration now are technical aspects of Minneapolis 2040 implementation.
Minneapolis 2040 includes 14 Built Form Districts that will guide the development of new regulations, which relate to issues such as: building height, floor area ratio (FAR), lot sizes, and setbacks from property lines, among others. The new built form regulations will resolve some of the major conflicts between Minneapolis 2040 and the City’s current zoning regulations. They are intended to provide more predictability for the scale of new buildings and additions in different areas in the city, including neighborhoods, downtown, production/employment areas, and areas served by high-frequency transit.
Minneapolis 2040 went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, following over two years of community engagement. The plan supports 14 key goals, including eliminating racial disparities, promoting climate change resiliency, and increasing access to jobs and housing. As required by state law, the City has been working on changing its zoning rules to match the development guidelines that the City Council already approved with Minneapolis 2040. This technical process will take several years and will include updating the zoning classification of every property in the city to match Minneapolis 2040.
All are invited to learn about proposed regulations and ask questions at one of several online open houses hosted by City staff, which will be held:
The public comment period closes Oct. 19 with a public hearing before the Minneapolis City Planning Commission, which will forward a recommendation to the City Council. The Council is expected to vote on built form regulations in November. Sign up for email updates on Minneapolis 2040 here.
The City’s Elections and Voter Services staff will start sending out mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 general election on Sept. 18 — that’s next week! I encourage you to request your mail-in ballot today to make sure you get it with plenty of time to send it back or drop it off in person. The online application is simple, and it only takes a minute or two to fill it out. If you need assistance or a paper application, call 311. The City continues to join public health officials nationwide in recommending voting by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. By doing so, you can help protect yourself and your neighbors by preventing crowding at polling places. Voting in person will still be an option, however.
Our talented Elections and Voter Services team is exploring options for additional early vote and ballot drop-off sites across Minneapolis. I’ll share updates as I get them on steps the City is taking to ensure every voter is heard – safely and securely – in the upcoming election. In the meantime, find additional information here.
Due to the pandemic, the recommended date for National Night Out celebrations in Minneapolis was pushed back to next Tuesday, Sept. 15. Find out if your block is signed up or request more information by emailing crime.prevention@
National Night Out is an annual nationwide event that encourages residents to come together, hold block parties, and get to know their neighbors. Get more information on National Night Out here.
Metro Transit is switching up schedules this Saturday, Sept. 12 to give riders with more options and space when traveling on buses and trains. Many local bus routes, along with the A Line and C Line rapid bus routes, will have about as much service as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Blue Line and Green Line will offer 10-minute service throughout most of the day. Increases in local bus and light rail train service will help riders keep a safe distance on buses and trains as more people return to transit. Learn more about the changes here.
Transit riders are required to wear face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and encouraged to use a Go-To Card or purchase fares in advance through the Metro Transit app. Find information about Metro Transit’s COVID-19 response here.
School is back in session, though it looks very different this year. Still, Hennepin County Library continues to provide free homework help resources – including online tutors – for all ages. Online tutors are available every day from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and can provide help in English or Spanish. Get information on tutoring and other homework help resources here. Folks can access these resources using their Hennepin County Library card (if you don’t have one, see how to apply for one or get a temporary e-card here).
There are hundreds of Minneapolis Community Education adult enrichment classes open for enrollment now, including many that are offered exclusively online. Courses range a wide variety of subject areas, from cooking and exercise to languages and home and garden. In addition, there are options specifically for folks age 55 and older and for adults with disabilities. These classes provide an accessible, affordable opportunity for folks to hone new skills and build community. Find the full list of offerings and register here.
Did you know 40% of food ends up wasted? To empower your household to help combat this problem, Hennepin County is launching a Stop Food Waste Challenge where participants can learn about food waste, commit to take action, and provide support and resources along the way. The challenge runs from next Monday, Sept. 14, through Oct. 11. By signing up here, you can see action steps in a variety of categories – including shopping, cooking, storage, and more – that will help reduce your food waste footprint. During the challenge, you can report which actions you take, see their impact, and connect with others. Learn more here.
It’s hard to believe, but this week brought our first taste of fall weather. Soon the leaves the drop, which makes now a great time to consider adopting your local storm drain to help keep our lakes, river, and creek free of contaminants and pollution. Anything that flows down a storm drain ends up in our precious waterways, diminishing water quality and harming aquatic life. Do your part to help by committing to regularly check on storm drains near you, and when necessary clear them of leaves or other debris. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to clean drains, but it makes a huge difference. The drain adoption process is simple, and you can adopt or un-adopt drains instantly. Get started here.