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Three Rivers CARES Fund

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

New assistance programs available to help cover housing-related expenses for individuals and families impacted by COVID-19 Olmsted County COVID-19

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

ROCHESTER, Minn. – New programs are being implemented by Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance to help individuals and families adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: the Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program and the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)

Funds will assist those impacted by job loss, reduced work hours, illness, or other COVID-19 related circumstances. Assistance will cover past due rent payments, mortgage payments, homeowner association dues, contract for​ deed payments, homeowner insurance payments, utility payments, ​or other housing-related expenses that incurred after March 1, 2020. 

“We encourage any Olmsted County resident who has been impacted by the pandemic and unable to make housing-related payments to apply for both programs,” said Olmsted County Director of Family Support and Assistance Corrine Erickson. “Depending on the circumstances of the request, our eligibility specialists will help determine which program best meets the needs of the situation.”

Erickson says this is a way Olmsted County can help improve the quality of life for Olmsted County residents during a very challenging time.

“We’re here to serve families and to help the most vulnerable populations in our community,” explained Erickson. “Not only will these programs help these individuals, but it will also help keep our landlords whole.”

Anyone eligible for this assistance is encouraged to apply for both programs now. There are two different applications to be completed:

Eligibility details

You must be an Olmsted County resident, meet income guidelines, and have a qualifying expense that is past due because of the public health emergency due to unemployment, loss of income, illness, or other COVID-19 related issue.

Eligible expenses

COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) funds may be used only for past due housing- and utility-related expenses. Only past due amounts incurred since March 1, 2020 will be considered. To learn more about CHAP, visit the Minnesota Housing website.

Payment processing

Olmsted County eligibility specialists will review all applications, verify proof of income and past due expense(s), and interview the head of household by phone. If an individual or household has a qualifying expense, funds must be paid directly to the landlord, mortgage company, utility company, or any other identified entity to which the payment is owed. Assistance WILL NOT be paid directly to individuals or households.

Application deadline

Applications for both programs are being accepted now and eligible individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

How to apply

  • To apply online for Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance, visit ApplyMN. If you do not wish to apply online, you may download the application and return it to Olmsted County by: 
  • Emailing
  • Mailing them to 2117 Campus Dr SE Suite 100 Rochester, MN 55904.
  • Dropping them in the yellow drop box in the 2117 Campus Dr. SE parking lot.
  • To apply for COVID-19 Housing Assistance, visit or text “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211. You may also call 211 (Toll free: 1-800-543-7709).

Note: No matter how you apply, it is important to provide Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance with proof of household income for the last 30 days and verification of the past due expense. 

Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance contact information

  • Call 507-328-6500 (bi-lingual staff and interpreters are available).
  • Email questions and completed documents to
  • Fax: 507-328-7956.
  • Mail: 2117 Campus Dr. SE Suite 100, Rochester, MN 55904.

Please note: The 2117 Campus Dr. SE building is currently closed to public access, but staff are available by phone. If you have any questions, please contact 507-328-6500 or email  

The Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program is funded by county, state, and federal dollars allocated to Olmsted County through several sources including the Minnesota Housing COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program; Olmsted County Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding; as well as other County Emergency Assistance allocations. 


About Olmsted County

Olmsted County is the eighth largest county in the state of Minnesota with eight cities (Rochester being the largest), 18 townships and approximately 150,000 residents (2016 census data). The county is governed by seven individuals elected to serve on the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, and county services are supported by nearly 1,300 Olmsted County government employees working to provide the foundation of a vibrant community. For more information, visit   

Limited funding is still available for small business utility support

Friday, August 21st, 2020

RPU is continuing its effort to reach out to small business customers in Rochester. Limited funding is still available to help offset the impact of the pandemic.  A utility bill credit of 25% of the average annual bill may be possible before October 15th.

The response for financial support from small businesses has grown to nearly $350,000 in utility bill credits.  Small business customers are encouraged to get their applications in as soon as possible to take advantage of this limited help.

Small businesses that fall under the definition of a targeted business owned by women, minority or veterans are highly encouraged to get their applications in soon.

2020 Arbor Day Tree Giveaway

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), along with partners Rochester Parks & Recreation, Sargent’s Gardens, Maier Tree & Lawn, and Jim Whiting Nursery & Garden Center will hold a free tree giveaway on Thursday, May 21 from 11am-2pm at Hy-Vee on 37th Street NW.

RPU’s Annual Arbor Day Celebration, scheduled for the end of April, was cancelled due to safety concerns for RPU employees, event partners and sponsors, and the public. In preparation for the event, 1,700 Serviceberry trees were already on order and will require planting in the near future. RPU, along with partners Rochester Parks & Recreation, Sargent’s Gardens, Maier Tree & Lawn, and Jim Whiting Nursery & Garden Center are planning to give away all 1,700 Serviceberry trees at a drive through giveaway event.

The Rochester community is invited to come to the drive through tree giveaway to get a free tree to plant, while supplies last. The Serviceberry trees are small and will fit through a car window. One tree will be given away per vehicle.

RPU reminds customers to contact Gopher State One Call to do underground locates before starting any digging in their yard or property. Gopher State One Call can be contacted by visiting or by calling 811.

For more information regarding the tree giveaway and safe digging practices, visit

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers. Water customers number more than 40,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.


Resources available to Residential customers

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Olmsted County HUD has been issued a $1,000,000.00 grant that can assist with rent payments.

Email request to:

Olmsted County Human Services has additional cash, food, health, emergency grants available.  A second round of funds have been granted to assist with emergency needs.  Note: Even if you’ve utilized an emergency grant in the past 12 months, you may qualify for emergency funding again prior to the 12 month anniversary of the previous grant. Call:  507.328.6500

Resources available to Commercial customers

New relief for small businesses NOW AVAILABLE!

The PPE deadline to apply for the loan has been extended to August 8, 2020.

1. To determine if business is Critical on by searching by their 4-digit NAICS industry code

a. find North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) on business tax filings paperwork OR

2. The Rochester Area Chamber Ph# 507.288.1122 Email:

3. Rochester Area Economic Development (RAEDI) Ph# 507.288.0208, email

4. City of Rochester / Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) COVID-19 Emergency Economic Development loans

5. SBA Olm County – Southeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center Check eligibility and loan application OR

SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Loan video

U.S. Small Business Administration Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resource

SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) Ph# 507-285-7436 email:

6. DEED: Minnesota small businesses should send questions about this emergency loan program to a. More info: b. More info:

c. Businesses should apply directly through a certified lender

7. SMIF – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

Diane Lewis, Lending Officer: | 507-214-7014

Marcia Haley, SBA Lending Director: | 507-214-7021

8. COVID-19 Information hotline: 651-201-3920 (Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

9. Updates on actions as directed by the Governor of Minnesota: Gov. Walz website 10. MN Chamber of Commerce Tool Kit