Basic Needs

Public programs and resources that help with food, housing, and transportation

Financial Assistance
There are several options below to learn about a variety of financial assistance programs available to families in MN, including eligibility screening and application access.
Bridge to Benefits: learn about potential eligibility and next steps
Bridge to Benefits is an initiative by Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota that offers an online screening tool to help determine potential eligibility for the following work support programs and tax credits: Healthcare programs -- Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, Advanced Premium Tax Credits; Early childhood programs --Child Care Assistance, Early Learning Scholarships; Utility program -- Energy Assistance; Food programs --Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), School Meal Program, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program; Tax credits -- Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Working Family Credit (WFC). Bridge to Benefits also has a direct referral system that connects families to local organizations that help with the application and enrollment process for the program for which they appear eligible. Click here to complete a quick Bridge to Benefits screen to learn about these financial assistance programs for which you may be eligible.
MN Benefits: apply for benefits
Users can apply for benefits from the following nine programs in less than 20 minutes — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Emergency Assistance; Housing Support; Child Care Assistance Program; Diversionary Work Program; General Assistance; Minnesota Family Investment Program; Minnesota Supplemental Aid; Refugee Cash Assistance. The mobile-friendly application works across all browsers, computers, laptops and phones and is available in Spanish, with more languages to come. It’s easy to upload documents, and no account login is necessary, eliminating a common barrier to access. Apply now at MN Benefits (mn.gov)
Contact your local county to ask questions and learn more
Community Action Agencies
In Minnesota, 24 Community Action Agencies and 11 Tribal Nations serve families in all 87 counties across the state, providing poverty solutions through various programs and services including: homeless prevention and housing assistance, utility bill assistance, healthcare enrollment, food and nutrition services, Head Start early childhood programming, financial asset building, regional transit, and more.
Energy Assistance and Weatherization
Energy Assistance Programs
Help for homeowners and renters with home heating expenses
Weatherization Assistance Programs
Help for income-qualified homeowners and renters to reduce energy costs
Food
Minnesota Food HelpLine
Call, chat or email to get help from the Minnesota Food HelpLine to see if you qualify for SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) or to learn more about food shelves, free meals, farmers’ markets, or other food resources in your area.
County Programs for Food Support
Apply for county programs, including Minnesota Food Assistance Program (MFAP), Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), SNAP Food Support, and WIC.
Free Meals for Kids - Hunger Impact Partners: Mobile App
Download the Free Meals for Kids mobile app will help families and kids find free meals at schools and other sites across Minnesota.
Food Shelves
Free food support
WIC (Prenatal to age 5)
Healthy eating and breastfeeding support program for women, infants and children. Benefits include nutrition information, vouchers for healthy food, and referrals to other services in the community.
Health Insurance
MNsure is where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. For more information on MNsure, click here.
  • Get free help from an enrollment expert (MNsure-certified assister). To learn about the different kinds of assisters and how they can help you every step of the way, click here.
Housing
Housing Benefits 101
Explore housing options, discover what works for you and make a plan. Ask for help using phone, chat and email options.
Affordable Housing Options
Subsidized housing, HRA Housing Choice Vouchers, Privately Owned Affordable Housing
Family Homeless and Prevention Assistance Program
Short-term help for low-income families, youth and single adults who are homeless or about to become homeless
Help to Find Housing
Assistance with locating a place to live
Shelters
Emergency, domestic violence and youth shelters
Transitional Housing Programs
Housing and supportive services to individuals and families who are homeless or in need of safe housing.
Job Training and Career Development
Job Training
Employment preparation and training programs
Career Development and Counseling
Help learning about and finding a new career
Transportation
Transportation Services
Organizations that provide or arrange transportation
Local Bus Service
Find local bus options
Medical Transportation
Medicaid eligible population should call their health plan or the Children and Teen Checkup coordinators for help with children’s clinic appointments.
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