Housing Services


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

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

• Application for the Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program

• Application for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP): Visit www.211unitedway.org or text “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211. You may also call 211 (Toll free: 1-800-543-7709).
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 PAQ@co.olmsted.mn.us.
• 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 www.211unitedway.org 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 PAQ@co.olmsted.mn.us.
• 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 PAQ@co.olmsted.mn.us
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.

Emergency Assistance Program and Emergency General Assistance Program is a short-term assistance program for a current shelter/utility crisis that eligible households cannot meet with their own resources.

  • The Emergency Assistance Program (EA) is funded through the MFIP consolidated fund. The Emergency General Assistance Program (EGA) is used for single individuals and married couples without children.
  • These funds are allocated by the State of Minnesota and are limited.
  • Emergency Aid is limited to one issuance in a 12 month period.
  • Households are required to compete a DHS combined application form and have an interview conducted, meet a 30 day state residency requirement and have a net household income in the month of application of under 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • The amount of the County Emergency Aid that is issued is based on household size and is limited to twice the monthly cash grant standard for that household size. 

Group Residential Housing (GRH) is a state-funded income supplement program that pays for room-and-board costs for low-income adults who have been placed in a licensed or registered setting with which a county human service agency has negotiated a monthly rate.
How does it work?

  • A county human service agency approves placements in authorized GRH settings.
  • GRH pays for room and board in more than 6,111 licensed or registered settings. About 4,373 of those settings are adult foster care homes. Other settings include boarding and lodging establishments, supervised living facilities, noncertified boarding care homes, housing with services establishments and other assisted living settings.
  • GRH makes service payments for low-income elderly and adults with disabilities in some foster care and other settings if they cannot access service payments from other sources, such as home and community-based waiver programs.
  • GRH payments are made to housing providers on behalf of eligible recipients.

Where can I learn more?

  • To find out if you are eligible for the GRH program, contact Olmsted County Family Support & Assistance at 507 328-6500.
    The GRH program is described in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 256I.01 to 256I.08.


Heading Home Minnesota is a statewide initiative to prevent and end homelessness. Heading Home Minnesota Action Plan (1 KB)

Heading Home Olmsted- A Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Olmsted County is one of several counties across the state which has developed local strategies to end homelessness.  The vision of the Heading Home Olmsted Plan is a community where all persons have options for safe temporary or emergency housing and choices for a permanent place to live.

We seek to prevent and end long-term homelessness in Olmsted County by developing local housing and supportive services that use evidence-based models and combine public and private resources.

Heading Home Olmsted has resulted in the following supportive housing collaborations for disabled individuals and transitional housing for ex-offenders.


The Francis a 17-unit efficiency apartment building in downtown Rochester that serves adults diagnosed with a mental illness or substance use disorder who meet the definition of chronic long-term homeless. The Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (OCHRA) and Olmsted County Adult Services partner to provide supportive housing at The Francis.

Damascus Way serves to assist corrections clients during their transition from incarceration to community living.

  • Provides short term housing for corrections clients being released from prison or the local detention center.
  • Corrections clients being admitted to the facility are those who have no other alternative for housing and would be homeless.
  • Serves as a landing spot until these offenders can find employment and more permanent housing.
  • The maximum stay at the Transitional Living Center is 90 days.
  • Residents must agree to a live in a structured environment which provides weekly meetings and coaching sessions by Damascus Way Staff.

Silver Creek Corner is a 40 bed supportive housing facility which houses homeless individuals who are chronic inebriates. This project is a collaboration between the Olmsted County HRA, Center City Housing Corporation and Olmsted County Adult and Family Services. The project is located at the Olmsted County Campus, north of the 2117 building. Center City Housing Corp. is the developer and property manager for the project. Olmsted County Adult Services provides housing support and case management to the individuals residing there.

The project is modeled after the New San Marco, in Duluth and the Rivercrest Apartments in St. Cloud, similar successful projects developed by Center City Housing Corporation.  

In the JAMA study, published in April, 2009 University of Washington public health researchers monitored 95 homeless chronic alcoholics before and after they moved into a supportive housing project, and compared them with 39 others waiting to get in.

Before the supportive house, the median cost of each of the 95 was $4,000 a month. After a year in the wet house the cost per person dropped to $960, mostly for housing.

The New San Marco Apartments in Duluth, MN opened their doors in May 2007. This video highlights the CD Supportive Housing Project and observations from the community. To gain insight on the housing program proposed in Olmsted County please take a look at this video as we are hoping to duplicate the success they have had in Duluth.

Obtaining a State ID Card with No Permanent Address

If you need to obtain a state identification (ID) card and do not have a permanent address, Olmsted County has a process in place to assist you.  

  1. Visit the Vital Records and Licensing office at the Olmsted County Government Center.
    • In order to apply for a state ID card, you must bring a birth certificate.
    • If you have questions about how to obtain your birth certificate, contact Vital Records and Licensing at 507 328-7660.  
  1. Address information will be required on the form. 
    • For your address, use your last known address.
    • For your mailing address, use:

Olmsted County Government Center
Vital Records and Licensing
151 4th St. SE
Rochester, MN  55904-3709

  1. There is a fee associated with the state ID card. Community funding may be available to help cover this cost.
  1. State ID cards generally arrive at the Government Center within two weeks.
    • If you provided a phone number during the application process, you will receive a call when the card arrives.
    • If you did not provide a phone number during the application process, please contact Vital Records and Licensing after two weeks at (507) 328-7660 to determine if your card has arrived. 
    • Once the card is at the Government Center, you may pick it up at the Vital Records and Licensing office.
    • ID cards will only be released to you. No one else may pick up the card on your behalf.
    • Any ID cards not picked up within one year will be shredded.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Vital Records and Licensing at 507 328-7660.