CARES Act Programs & Investments

Ramsey County received $96 million from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In 2020, $72 million of these funds were rapidly invested in our community through the Ramsey County Investment and Support Efforts (RISE) program, which included three primary categories:

  • Home and help: housing, food and financial assistance for struggling individuals and families.
  • Employment support: resources for those who have lost their jobs or need help with employment.
  • Small business: support for small businesses to stay open and adapt.

The remaining $24 million was used to cover emergency expenses including public safety, direct care, public health and many other areas to meet the needs of the community. 

Explore RISE program summaries on the Open Data Portal 

2020 RISE programs

Rise word mark with programs, Home and Help, Training and Jobs and Small Business

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Home and help


Funding summary

Approximately $42.2 million was spent on financial assistance programs to provide immediate assistance to individuals and families in need.

Areas of focus:

  • $16.2 million of support for those experiencing homelessness, including providing COVID-19 respite and hotel rooms to allow residents to physically distance outside of large shelters, as well as meals and other related services. 
  • $7 million for Emergency Assistance: This funding is helping people affected by COVID-19 pay for past due rent/mortgage, a damage deposit, or prevent utilities from being disconnected.
  • $10 million for food support and basic needs: This funding is increasing availability and access to food and basic needs by residents impacted by COVID-19 with a focus on direct food delivery to households, including culturally appropriate prepared meals and non-perishable food boxes. The county is partnering with existing food providers to expand access.
  • $8 million for Landlord Assistance: This funding is helping reimburse landlords who have tenants that have been unable to make rent payments as a result of COVID-19.  
  • $1 million for administrative support: This funding allows the county to hire temporary clerks and financial workers and cover administration costs such as communications, outreach and contract management.

Employment support


Funding summary

Approximately $15 million was spent on job and employment support for COVID-19 impacted job seekers who have experienced job loss, a reduction in hours, are at an increased COVID-19 risk due to health concerns, face uncertainty in their future employment opportunity, or face an increase in existing barriers to employment as a result of the pandemic and its secondary effects.

Areas of focus:

  • Employment services and access: Opened new Community Career Labs in Saint Paul Public Library and Ramsey County Library locations, and additional community based locations to provide employment support for residents.
  • Youth and young adult gap services: Working with dozens of community-based partners to support COVID-19 impacted youth and young adults with critical gap employment services and supports. Funded programs include work experiences, training, mentoring, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and more. Most programs launched August 1, 2020.
  • Community CARES job seeker program and virtual training: Partnering with dozens of community-based organizations to provide employment and career services targeting specific populations impacted by COVID-19 including justice involved, seniors, culturally specific, veterans and people with disabilities. Funding supports areas of curriculum, coaching, career tools, engagement, job placement, training referrals and more. Funding is provided to community-based employment service providers to support virtual training programs. Programs launched mid-August.
  • Closing the digital equity gap: Partnering with TechDumpLiteracy MinnesotaSaint Paul Public Library and Ramsey County Library to provide TechPaks to COVID-19 impacted residents to support their need for access to technology and digital literacy supports. TechPaks include a refurbished laptop computer, support from a Digital Literacy Navigator and required digital literacy classes. Applications for TeckPaks opened in August and will be available through December 2020.
  • Community Innovation Inclusion Fund: Launched a new fund to support community organizations whose mission is rooted in the culture(s) and identity(ies) of individuals served, and where the services incorporate the values, traditions and worldview of Black, American Indian and other racially and ethnically diverse communities who are most impacted by COVID-19. The fund will support workforce and career readiness programs which promote and accelerate racial healing, equity and inclusion; and reduction of racial inequities and bias against racial and ethnic communities using inclusive tactics via new and advancing partnerships. Organizations are supported in a cohort model by the Center for Economic Inclusion.

Small business


Funding summary

Approximately $15 million is being spent on support for small businesses. According to data from the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development, 66% of Ramsey County businesses are small businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

Areas of focus:

  • Small Business Relief Fund: $15 million for business reopening assistance and the Ramsey County Small Business Relief Fund: This funding is being used to help small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs directly impacted by COVID-19. The program prioritizes businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander, Latinx and all people of color and/or women, and businesses with 20 employees or fewer. 
  • Business 4 Business MSP: $10,000 for Business 4 Business MSP: The program is a collaborative public-private partnership that will match small businesses throughout the metro region in need of support with resources to meet their needs. Private support in the form of monetary or in‐kind donations of services and technical expertise will supplement existing small business relief and recovery investments by participating jurisdictions.
  • Grant administration: $500,000 for administrative support: Funding covers grant administration and outreach costs.

Read more about Small Business Grant Recipients

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Evaluation resources

Contracting opportunities and resources

Ramsey County contracted with several nonprofits, community organizations and other providers to deliver services as part of RISE programs.

All contract opportunities are currently closed.

View awarded contracts