March 27 – May 18, Stay at Home Order: Governor Walz has directed that Minnesotans should stay home except to pick up essential items (like food, medicine, gas), to relocate for safety reasons, or to go to work if your job is deemed essential. If you leave your home, keep six feet between you and others. You can be active outside (walking, running) during this time but not close to others. By limiting social interactions, we decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and help our health care sector prepare for increased demands. (Stay at Home Order: Frequently Asked Questions)
Minnesota COVID-19 Response: This website provides the latest information on COVID-19 for the State of Minnesota.
The Institute building is closed until further notice, but our team is working remotely to continue serving our clients and students as much as possible. Many classes and services have moved to online tools like Zoom and YouTube or are being offered via phone and email. We will continue to develop innovative ways to serve our New American community during these unprecedented times. Thank you for your support!
- Find out how to learn English at home. Classes will happen on phones, computers, and through the mail until further notice.
- Text @efws to 81010 to get news, updates, and homework from your teachers.
- Connect with English resources at facebook.com/EnglishIIMN
- Blog: Reaching English Language Learners During COVID-19
Immigration and Refugee Services
- We are taking online immigration appointments and clients should call our office phone number to be screened: 651-647-0191, ext. 300
- Case managers and other staff in our refugee services department continue to work remotely
- Drop-in job support, Job Club, one-on-one appointments: Get help applying for jobs and unemployment benefits, practicing for interviews and more as you work toward your employment goals.
College Readiness Academy
- Registration now open for Summer 2020 College Readiness Academy (fully online).
- Registration now open for Introduction to Human Body Systems (online).
Nursing Assistant Training
- Nursing Assistant Training has moved online.
- Dietary Aide Training has moved online; register by June 1.
- If you’re unsure about the status of a program, contact us.
If you think you are sick or have questions, you can call the Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline at 651-201-3920, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
If you or someone you know needs help accessing food, paying housing bills or other essential services, dial 2-1-1 or text the letters MNCOVID to 898-211
Multilingual COVID-19 Information
Resources from Minnesota Department of Health:
Basic overview of COVID-19
- COVID-19 in Amharic (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Arabic (PDF)
- فیروس كورونا المستجد 2019
- COVID-19 in Chinese (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Hmong (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Karen (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Lao (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Oromo (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Russian (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Somali (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Spanish (PDF)
- COVID-19 in Vietnamese (PDF)
Equality Labs: COVID-19 Community Guides
- Information cards in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Urdu, Nepali, Burmese, Bengali, and Marathi.
Language Resource Line
The City of Saint Paul has a new phone line and email address to answer questions about the City’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Interpreters are available to answer questions in Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Somali, and Spanish. Learn more at stpaul.gov/coronavirus. Phone Number: 651-266-6000 Email: LanguageResources@ci.stpaul.mn.us
- COVID-19 videos produced by The Refugee Response
- English, Pashto, Karen, Arabic, Burmese, Swahili, Russian, French, Kinyarwanda, Spanish, Nepali, Somali, Karenni, Arakanese
- COVID-19 videos from Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange
- Arabic, Burmese, Dari, Kinyarwanda, Russian, Swahili
Low-Cost Health Care or Health Insurance
For questions about your health insurance or to apply, you can contact the Institute’s MNsure Navigator at 651-647-0191, ext. 320 or by email at email@example.com. Please leave a voicemail at that phone number and you will receive a call back the same day before 5 p.m. Phone interpreters are available upon request.
MNsure is offering a special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This special enrollment period runs Monday, March 23 through Tuesday, April 21.
- Resources in English (PDF)
- Resources in Amharic (PDF)
- Resources in Arabic (PDF)
- Resources in Chinese (PDF)
- Resources in Hmong (PDF)
- Resources in Karen (PDF)
- Resources in Lao (PDF)
- Resources in Oromo (PDF)
- Resources in Russian (PDF)
- Resources in Somali (PDF)
- Resources in Spanish (PDF)
- Resources in Vietnamese (PDF)
United We Dream: Healthcare access for Undocumented Folks in the Time of COVID19
Tips to stay well
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Do not touch your face
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or into your elbow, not your hands
- Practice social distancing: stay six feet away from other people
- Stay home as much as possible, especially if:
- You are older than 60 years old
- You are sick
- You have problems with your heart, lungs or an autoimmune disease
- You or a person you live with has left the U.S. in the last 14 days
- Stay away from sick people
- Clean and disinfect things and places you touch many times a day
If you are sick
- Stay home if you are coughing, sneezing or have a fever
- Have your doctor’s phone number ready if you get sick
- Go to the doctor if you cannot breathe. Stay home if you can breathe.
- There is no cure for coronavirus and no better way to keep you safe than the advice above. If someone tells you they have a “cure” or “treatment,” they are trying to take your money.
If you need to be tested
- Emergency Food Support from Minnesota Department of Human Services
- Help Map: Free food for yourself or your family
- Free meals from Minneapolis Public Schools (a child does NOT need to be enrolled in MPS to receive foood)
- Free meals for Saint Paul Public Schools students
- Find your local food bank
- Twin Cities restaurants providing free kids’ meals during school closures
- Rice Street Food Shelf (1459 Rice Street, Suite 3 (at Arlington Avenue), St. Paul, MN 55117 Phone: 651-487-2792)
- Service Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
- Free meals for kids (Hunger Impact Partners)
- The Sheridan Story / Roseville: Food is available to any Roseville resident or family; 24 hours a day, seven days a week, beginning Friday, April 17 from the vestibule at the Roseville Fire Station. Access to the Fire Station is available from the parking lot at Roseville City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Drive, near the corner of County Road C and Lexington Avenue.
- Frogtown Food Resource / St. Stephanus Church: Free food pickup (mostly fruits and vegetables) at 739 Lafond Ave. every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, 5-7 p.m. No income or residential requirements.
Phone and Internet Help
- The following companies will not cancel service for the next 60 days; contact your own phone/internet provider for details.
- PCs for People provides affordable computers and low-cost internet. From home, you can apply, shop and sign up for internet.
- EveryoneOn offers broadband service to income-eligible families (for example, those that qualify for free or reduced school lunch, or who live in public housing) at a cost of around $10-12 per month (varies from state-to-state). Some states also offer very low-cost laptops or desktops ($100-200).
- Several internet providers are offering discounts or free internet services during the time of the pandemic:
- Xcel Energy will not disconnect service to any residential customers until further notice. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, contact them and they will arrange a payment plan that works for you.
- Comcast offers income-eligible families internet access at $10-12 per month. However, they are now offering this lowcost service for free for the next 60 days.
- AT&T is waiving data overage fees to all customers so that families and students can stay connected during the pandemic. They will not terminate service of any customer over the next 60 days. All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.
- Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free—including non-Xfinity customers.
- Verizon is waiving late fees and committing to no discontinuation of service during the next 60 days.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households.
- Somali EAP information
- Spanish EAP information
- Hmong EAP information
- English EAP information
- EAP facts during COVID-19
Emergency assistance programs in Minnesota are short-term (usually a one-time payment) for people experiencing a financial hardship like an eviction or utility shut-off. If you are in this situation you should contact the county where you live to find out how to get the assistance.
Aid Networks / Resource Lists
- Small groups of neighbors asking for and offering help: find a mutual aid network near you.
- Brooklyn Park Library (BP), Hennepin County: Resources for Students and Families During Covid-19
Apply for Unemployment Benefits
- Institute Support: Get help applying for unemployment or another job
- Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program
- Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provide a temporary partial wage replacement (some of your normal pay) to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own (like the coronavirus). If you have become unemployed or had your hours greatly reduced, complete the application process; the state will determine whether or not you are eligible and contact you.
- Government websites are closed on Saturdays and Sundays; apply during weekdays, Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Unemployment claims last for up to 26 weeks; due to the coronavirus crisis, it may last longer.
- People who quit (depending on the cause) can apply for unemployment.
- People who are fired (depending on the cause) can apply for unemployment.
- It will take about 2-3 weeks or longer for unemployment claims to be processed. The government is working on processing these claims sooner due to the pandemic, but the large influx will slow down claims.
- Information on payment process
- If you are denied, you can reapply and appeal.
- April 2020 Update: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) — Individuals covered under PUA include the self-employed (e.g. independent contractors, gig economy workers, and workers for certain religious entities), those seeking part-time employment, individuals lacking sufficient work history, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits.
Worker Rights and Protections
Immigration Benefits Interviews
- USCIS is readying offices to re-open in compliance with local and state orders, on or after June 4. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public while the offices are temporarily closed. During this time, individuals may still submit applications and petitions to USCIS. Online filing remains the most convenient and interactive way to submit forms, check the status of your case, and receive notices.
- Field Office and ASC Appointments, Naturalization Ceremonies, InfoPass
USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by the extended temporary closure. When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to the temporary office closure. Individuals will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Those who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again.
- Asylum Office Interviews
USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview. Please check to see if the respective office has been reopened before calling the USCIS Contact Center.
- The Institute will continue to provide updates as we receive them. Additionally, updates should be provided through the USCIS website.
- To speak with Institute staff about an immigration appointment, call 651-647-0191, ext. 300
For help with a legal issue, please call the Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) at 612-752-6677 to request a phone consultation with a lawyer.
Taxes and Loans
- New Tax Day: The federal income tax filing due date is extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. The Minnesota Department of Revenue is also providing additional time until July 15, 2020, for taxpayers to file and pay 2019 Minnesota Individual Income Tax without any penalty and interest.
- The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is creating an emergency loan program to help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance to meet their families’ basic needs during COVID-19 closures.
- To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.
Relief Checks (Economic Impact Payments)
- You don’t need to do anything. As long as you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, the federal government likely has the information it needs to send you your money. If you haven’t filed taxes recently, you’ll need to submit a simple tax return to get your check. (More on who’s eligible here.)
- Do not give anyone your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check. There is nothing to sign up for. Anyone calling to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security number, PayPal account, or bank information is a scammer, plain and simple. Also be on the lookout for email phishing scams, where scammers pretend to be from the government and ask for your information as part of the “sign-up” process for the checks.
- To set up direct deposit of your check, communicate only with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus. And you only need to do this if you didn’t give the IRS your bank information on your 2018 or 2019 return. In the coming weeks, the IRS will be setting up an online form available through irs.gov/coronavirus. But nowhere else, and never in response to an email, text, or call.
- No one has early access to this money. Anyone that claims to is a scammer. The timeline for this process is not exact, but it looks like funds will start going out in the next few weeks. Scammers are using the lack of detail to try to trick people into giving their personal information and money.
To get official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on economic impact payments. And if you come across a scammer trying to take your check, we want to hear about it. Report it at ftc.gov/complaint.
Information via consumer.ftc.gov
Más Recursos en Español
- UNIDOS MN: Recursos para Minnesotanxs indocumentadxs
- Recursos nacionales
- Betancourt Macías Family Scholarship Foundation está lanzando una recaudación de fondos para apoyar a familias e individuos indocumentados
- Los servicios legales en persona de La Red de Abogados (LA RED) han sido suspendidos por el momento. Si necesita ayuda con un asunto legal, por favor llame a LA RED al (612) 752-6677 para pedir una cita telefónica con un abogado.
Still have questions? Contact us.