MPHA is updating this post as the situation develops.
MPHA has added a separate post of Resources and Facts for Families Affected by the Coronavirus
As the COVID-19 risk evolves in Minnesota, MPHA is implementing appropriate and well-informed protections for MPHA staff and the families we serve. In our actions, we are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the actions of other public housing authorities around the country facing a similar task.
MPHA Offices are Closed to the Public, But Open for Business. Call Instead!
This closure includes 1001 Washington and all property management (AMP) offices. In doing this, we are following the lead of Minnesota state government to minimize risk to staff and do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We will be suspending all in-person interactions (with very few exceptions), including external meetings and avoiding internal meetings, when possible. Closing our offices does not mean MPHA is closed for business! We remain committed to our mission and the families we serve. We will conduct as much business as possible by telephone and email, and will respond as needed to emergency situations. Property offices feature signs with contact information so that residents can easily reach staff by telephone in lieu of a walk-in. Our voucher department will conduct reviews via the online portal and email. All families have received an automated phone call alerting them to the change and a letter with more detailed information.
If you are a family in an MPHA program (public housing or Section 8) you should call your property manager or eligibility technician for assistance during this time.
- A list of Section 8/HCV staff phone numbers is available here.
- Public housing high-rise residents should see the numbers on your property manager’s door.
- Scattered site and Glendale residents, call 612-342-1500.
- If you cannot reach your property manager, all public housing residents can also call our Work Order Hotline (612-342-1585) for help. Our operators are prepared to try to help with various questions during this time.
We are not taking new applications for public housing while our offices are closed. We are continuing to process applications already in-progress and fill vacant units.
Families should continue to pay rent as normal. However…
If you have a drop in income, report it promptly so that we can lower your rent amount as applicable. As of June 1, households should resume reporting all changes of income, per standard MPHA policy and procedure.
If you have a late rent payment, our rent collections window is closed. You should pay using the postage-paid envelope we send you, or use the lockbox available in the vestibule of our main office (1001 Washington Ave N) during business hours (8 to 4:30 M-F).
Covid-19 Task Force
A dedicated task force of MPHA senior leaders meets daily to assess information and make the key decisions you see on this page. The Task Force is informed by, and in direct contact with, the city and state health departments. These departments are aware of MPHA’s higher-risk population, and advise that we follow standard education and containment measures at this time.
Education on Prevention/Containment
Across our properties, MPHA has posted materials, in multiple languages and utilizing graphics where possible, based upon guidance from the CDC for preventing the spread of viruses like the coronavirus. You can view or download samples of these materials below. We update our messages as needed as circumstances change. We are also working with partners including the Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council, Volunteers of America social workers, and others to disperse effective information about the coronavirus and preventing Covid-19.
Enhanced In-Building Measures
To date, MPHA has:
- Posted signage prohibiting visitors to our highrises unless they are caregivers or making necessary deliveries. (This action is in compliance with the State of Minnesota “Stay at Home” Executive Order.)
- Closed property offices until further notice, conducting business by phone whenever possible.
- Closed all highrise common areas until further notice, which also effectively suspends all large gatherings.
- Reinforced for residents, through signage and staff direction, health department guidance to avoid congregating and stay in place at home whenever possible.
- Disinfect common spaces, elevators, and offices and other frequently trafficked areas to sanitize surfaces multiple times per day. MPHA also has dependable vendor relationships for intensified cleaning if the need arises.
- Obtained additional disinfectant sprays, wipes, and other items considered effective at this stage for all locations.
- Posted clear guidance at the entrance to all buildings for all visitors not to enter if they have risk factors.
- Installed waterless hand-soap in highrises as supplies permit, and kept common bathrooms open and stocked with soap.
- Asked all food shelf services to transition from central disbursement to to boxed food delivery. Similarly, all congregate dining arrangements will be delivered or scheduled for pick-up, while observing social distancing guidance as much as possible.
“Social-Distance,” Health, and Operational Changes
MPHA is closely following public health guidance to determine how business-as-usual will need to change in these difficult circumstances, even as we work to provide the services for which people depend on us. Right now, MPHA is/has:
- Closed its offices to the public until further notice.
- Moved almost all office staff to full-time telework.
- Asked all employees to educate themselves using materials we have provided about proper hygiene to prevent the spread of illness and stay home and see a doctor if they are ill.
- Instituted protocols, informed by public health guidance, to protect the health of employees when we become aware of COVID-19 risk.
- Creating virtual tour of public housing units to continue filling any vacancies while respecting social distance guidelines.
- Under the Minnesota “Stay at Home” order, asked residents of family homes to forgo large gatherings and welcome essential guests only.
- Collaborating with the Minneapolis Department of Health on appropriate responses and enhanced education campaigns where clusters of COVID-19 develop.
- Launched a successful mask drive and taken in thousands of donated masks for MPHA staff and residents.
We are reassessing our policies and practices daily. In doing so, we rely heavily on guidance from Minnesota and Minneapolis health officials with regard to what are considered prudent measures based upon COVID-19 prevalence in the state.
Important: Report Drops in Income Immediately
We know that the economic impact of the coronavirus may result in a loss of income for some households. Rent for all MPHA programs is income-based. Households should immediately report any loss of income to their eligibility technician, so that rent can be lowered accordingly and promptly. You can also use our online forms:
You do not need to report increases in income at this time.
MPHA is following eviction moratoriums from HUD and the State of Minneosta. MPHA has stayed all evictions and is not filing UDs with the housing court. HUD has published a flyer for residents on the moratorium.
As always, MPHA has very low vacancy rates in our public housing. We are continuing to process in-progress applications when vacancies arise. We are producing virtual unit-showing videos to assist with the move-in process while protecting staff and prospective tenants.
Question: What happens if there is a case of Covid-19 in an MPHA building?
Health officials are aware that MPHA and other public housing authorities serve a population with higher risk factors. These officials inform MPHA that in the event that a resident tests positive for Covid-19, standard protocols would apply as they would for any other resident of Minnesota:
- The individual would receive instructions to receive proper medical care and self-quarantine for a recommended period, and would be expected to comply.
- Depending upon needs and other forms of support, county and city resources would come into play with providing food and other resources to the affected tenant.
Depending upon the circumstances, health officials might recommend or enforce additional measures to protect the public health. MPHA would support and comply with these measures.
MPHA is not formally notified of a positive diagnosis. Under the law, MPHA is a landlord, not a health care provider. Until there is different legal guidance, this prohibits us from asking about or sharing health-related information of tenants, and prohibits health authorities from sharing information with us. In the event of a positive case or outbreak, we must follow the lead of public health officials to manage the situation.
Note that certain MPHA properties (or portions of properties) are assisted-living facilities with services managed by partners. These facilities are subject to different rules and may institute different protocols than our properties in general.
Minnesota Department of Heath COVID-19 Hotlines
School and child care questions:
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- CDC Facts Sheet about COVID-19
- Are You at High Risk? (Fact Sheet)
- Stop the Spread of Germs – English
- Stop the Spread of Germs – Somali