Hennepin County renters can apply for assistance due to COVID-19

Hennepin County has up to $15 million available to help low-income renters who can’t afford their housing costs this month due to COVID-19. To qualify, you must:

  • Rent anywhere in Hennepin County.
  • Have had household income below 50% of the area median income (about $46,550 for a three-person household) before COVID-19.
  • Lost income due to COVID-19 that has not been replaced by unemployment insurance or other emergency assistance.
  • Can’t afford housing costs this month.
  • Not currently receive Section 8 or other rental assistance.

There is no deadline to apply. Priority will be given to households with the lowest incomes and those not eligible for unemployment insurance.

Learn more about rental assistance here. If you do not have internet access or cannot complete the form in English call 612-302-3160.

Legal help for businesses hurt by COVID-19, civil unrest with LegalCORPS

Volunteer Lawyers Network is proud to partner with LegalCORPS, who are providing free legal help to Minnesota businesses and non-profits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd.

Please call 612-752-6687 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to request assistance.

LegalCORPS is providing all services for businesses and non-profits. VLN continues to safely provide free civil legal services to individuals. Click here to learn more.

VLN Statement on George Floyd’s death, systemic racism and commitment to change

The VLN community is devastated by the needless and senseless death of George Floyd. Volunteer Lawyers Network condemns the killing of George Floyd and all police and racial violence. For the past week, our staff and volunteers have been among the peaceful demonstrators, on the front lines and coordinating community support efforts. While we are proud of them, and of the thousands of Minnesotans who are coming together in the spirit of peace and service, it is not enough for individuals to shoulder the burden of action and systemic change. 

We encourage everyone in the VLN community to educate themselves about the impact of race and bias in the legal system. An excellent place to start is an article by Delaney Russell, a former Deputy Director at VLN. She outlines practical steps that attorneys can take to educate themselves about racial fairness and justice in our legal system.  That said, education and conversation is not enough. Action is needed. 

VLN was founded during the Civil Rights Movement in 1966 as a response to the inequities faced by communities of color and people experiencing poverty and oppression. Fifty-four years later, our country faces the opportunity to emerge from this terrible tragedy a stronger and more just society. VLN is committed to to taking a hard look at its mission to determine how its work can be retooled to expedite the reversal of inequities faced by communities of color. We need these changes to be thoughtful, well-informed, and actionable. We ask for guidance – we will be actively seeking it and listening to the clients and communities we serve. We welcome any feedback community members are willing to give. Please contact me at 612-752-6675 or [email protected] to provide your thoughts and feedback. 

We look forward to joining and listening to our community as we strive to achieve the ideal of equal justice for all. 

Minnesota tenants’ rights during COVID-19 emergency

Governor Walz has issued an Executive Order prohibiting Minnesota landlords from evicting tenants from their homes or terminating residential leases until the “peacetime emergency” ends unless there is a personal or public health or safety reason for doing so.

However, tenants must still pay rent and follow the rules of their lease.

Landlords who are not following these rules should be reported to the Attorney General’s office, which you can do by clicking here.

If you have questions and would like to talk to a lawyer about your situation, please call VLN’s intake line at 612-752-6677 on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Click here for a detailed guide to COVID-19 eviction rules.

UPDATE: COVID-19 and VLN Services

We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and have decided to close VLN’s physical office and in-person clinics as of Monday, March 16. This difficult decision was made with the health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers at the top of our minds.

Our intake line will remain open for clients during its normal hours — Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. We will continue to offer our phone advice services, and other extended representation services based on need and we will endeavor to schedule new remote services such as phone advice as volunteers are available.

Please note that operating remotely is something entirely new for most of our staff and unprecedented with our current technology. While we are trying our best to continue as much service as possible, there may be delays and errors. We apologize for any inconvenience these may cause.

As updates become available, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn first, and then here on our blog.

We thank you for your patience and hope you are taking care of yourselves and your families.

VLN Services and COVID-19

VLN is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be making changes and cancellations beginning Monday, March 16. Walk-in intake is suspended indefinitely beginning Tuesday, March 17. As things change with our partner firms and volunteers, the courts and community organizations, and as updated information becomes available, we will make changes as necessary to our scheduled services. Please check our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the most current information. This blog will be updated on a less-frequent but more in-depth basis.

To the extent services are available, all our clients, volunteers and partners are urged to stay home if they are sick, have symptoms (such as a cough or fever) or have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone who does engage in VLN services is urged to take precaution and practice good illness-avoidance hygiene: wash hands thoroughly and often, avoid touching your face, and cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow.

Volunteers can read more on providing legal services during an outbreak by clicking here.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this unfortunate situation. Take care.

 

VLN is seeking new board members!

The VLN Board of Directors is seeking nominations of committed and compassionate members of our community to help achieve VLN’s vision of a society in which everyone has access to the legal services essential for stability and well-being.

We seek people with a wide range of skills, including strategic planning and visioning, fundraising, finance, community organizing, marketing, and human resources. VLN is actively seeking new members who reflect the diversity of our community and our clients, including diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.

Nominees do not have to be an attorney or have volunteered with VLN in the past. We are particularly interested in speaking with people of color and those from traditionally under-represented and under-served groups.

Please contact Tom Walsh at (612) 752-6675 if you are interested in joining the Board, or know someone you think would be a good fit.

Come Make Housing Happen: VLN is #hiring for TWO positions!

Calling all attorneys and non-lawyer client service superstars! Our housing program has two vacancies. Come be a part of our largest and fastest-growing program as a Housing Project Attorney or a Housing Court Project Clinic Coordinator.

VLN’s housing program has exceeded goals and expectations addressing the Twin Cities’ affordable housing crisis over the last two years. Working closely with community-based non-profits and Mayor Jacob Frey, we help thousands of families with landlord/tenant issues every year.

Click on the job titles above to learn more and apply to either position!