On Dec. 28, 2021, Governor Tim Walz announced that $47 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan will be allocated to help with the state-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be used for three main purposes; increasing the availability of at-home COVID-19 rapid tests, investing in food security across the state and supporting access to child care.

“The federal American Rescue Plan funds deliver relief to Americans by providing resources to fight this pandemic and build a stronger economy for generations to come,” stated Walz in a release. “Minnesotans continue to battle COVID-19 and the social, economic and health care challenges it brings every day. Today’s investments will help more Minnesotans access child care, ensure food security and provide increased access to rapid testing.”

In regard to at-home COVID-19 rapid tests, $2.5 million in federal funds will be allocated in order to expand Minnesota’s COVID-19 testing infrastructure, get more at-home tests into Minnesotans’ hands and make testing widely and easily available to all residents, including those facing healthcare barriers. The funding for testing ensures the availability of an important and critical tool in fighting COVID-19 and will help community members go about their daily lives without fear of contracting or spreading the virus.

Another $20 million in federal funds will be used to provide relief to Minnesotans facing food insecurity, heightened by the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising food prices. The funds will provide aid to food shelves and meal programs, supporting the efforts of community-based organizations, tribes and local governments. Funds will be used to cover the costs of food purchases, food distribution, meal preparation, cleaning supplies, technology needs, outreach efforts and training and technical assistance.

Finally, the remaining $20 million will be used to provide assistance to child care programs across the state, which are facing staffing challenges and rising costs. The child care sector faced many challenges before the pandemic and has become more vulnerable as COVID-19 continues to spread. Child care providers can apply for these funds through the Minnesota Department of Human Services January Child Care Stabilization Base Grant application.

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