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Minnesota Valley Action Council COVID-19 Update

The FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit starts 5/13/21

About the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

There are three ways for eligible households to apply:

  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
  2. Go to to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742

After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan.

New COVID Economic Relief Bill 2021 Now called RENT HELP MN

Renters, do you need help paying your rent? Landlords, do you have tenants behind on rent? Help is on the way!

The RentHelpMN Information Session was recorded, includes ASL interpretation and close captioning and is posted here:

Spanish, Hmong, and Somali webinar and PowerPoint slides translations will be available soon at

For more information and to access RentHelpMN Get Ready checklists please go to Once the application launches, it will also be available on that webpage.

If you have any questions, please contact United Way 211, the call center for RentHelpMN:
Call 2-1-1
Toll Free: 800-543-7709
Local: 651-291-0211
Text your zip code
to 898-211*
24-7 / Confidential / All Languages

Please note: The State of Minnesota’s rental assistance program is called COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance, which is operating under the banner of RentHelpMN.

AGAIN Thrift and More and our New Ulm Thrift Store

AGAIN Thrift and More is open!  The Sunday Half Price clothing sale is suspended until further notice.

The New Ulm Thrift Store opening: NEW TEMPORARY HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am- 5pm; Sunday noon – 4 Closed on Monday

ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM applications are available here for the October 1, 2020 – September 31, 2021 season.