Our Response to COVID-19

March 26 Update

By ensuring safe and stable housing and shelter at St. Stephen’s, we are providing critical and essential services in our community. St. Stephen’s operations will not be directly affected by Governor Walz’ “stay at home” order scheduled to begin at midnight on March 27th. Staff who can work remotely will continue to do so, and duties that cannot be performed remotely will continue with as much social distancing as possible. All Street Outreach, shelter, and housing programs continue to meet clients’ needs to the very best of our abilities.  

Like most shelters, St. Stephen’s two emergency overnight shelters normally open each evening and close each morning. As many community facilities are closing, and in order to provide safe, sanitary space for shelter guests to access, we have temporarily expanded operating hours for both of our shelters to 24/7, effective March 26th.  

Moving to 24/7 shelter for more than a few days is unprecedented for St. Stephen’s.  

In total, we expect the extended shelter operations to cost an additional $14,000 each week. 

With the addition of daytime shelter operations, there are an extra 24 shifts to cover each week. Staff from across our organization are stepping up to help cover these shifts, and we have also hired a few new team members.  

Though we are taking every precaution known to protect staff from exposure, our staff are putting themselves on the front lines of this crisis and the work is challenging. We value our employees’ commitment to the people we serve, and have instituted hazard pay for any shifts worked in our shelters or with our Street Outreach team. 

In addition to staffing needs, we are also needing to add lunch service for approximately 100 people each day, and more substantial breakfast offerings. Plus, our custodial needs have increased and necessary measures for social distancing and isolation have added new supplies expenses. 

This weekend, our Street Outreach team will also be moving to seven days/week to focus on monitoring campsites, providing a public health response, and ensuring people have food and items needed to shelter safely in place.  

Our housing case managers continue to work (predominantly remotely) with clients to obtain and maintain stable housing.


March 17 Update

At St. Stephen’s Human Services, we serve people who are at greater risk of physical and economic harm from COVID-19 and its ripple effects. Our programs and services continue to operate (with some modifications), and we are committed to maintaining these essential services for as long as we can safely do so. 

Everyone who can practice social distancing should, and our staff are in a position to do this while still providing high-quality, dignified services to those who do not have the privilege of a home and/or resources to meet their basic needs. We will help the vulnerable people we serve navigate these uncertain and unprecedented times. Being present for those in need is core to the mission and values of St. Stephen’s. 

We are reviewing our strategies daily, and this is what St. Stephen’s is doing as of March 17th: 

  • We are actively engaging in collaborative preparation and response planning with Hennepin County officials, and with other service providers. 

  • Our Welcome Center hours of 8:30am to 4:00pm remain the same, but visitors will be greeted individually at the front door.  

  • All staff who can work remotely are teleworking as much as possible.

  • Our two emergency shelters and Street Outreach team are committed to staying open and available as long as it is safe to do so.  

  • Our housing case managers will continue to support our clients, meeting over the phone with families and individuals whenever possible. Our Next Step Assessors will be conducting assessments with families via phone. 

  • With some modifications, we are continuing to provide basic and critical services to our community – including sustaining access to mail and birth certificates for community members who receive those at St. Stephen’s, and providing uninterrupted representative payee services. 

  • A Day in the Life tours have been canceled through April 29th. 

  • We have temporarily narrowed the list of in-kind donations we are accepting to 14 critical items. Anyone wishing to donate these items should please schedule a drop-off in advance with Amanda (AHancer(at)ststephensmpls.org or 612-481-9501). 

  • St. Stephen’s does not have any public events scheduled within the next eight weeks. Our Italian Dinner (currently scheduled for May 19th) and event at 612Brew (currently scheduled for June 10th) will be reviewed at a later date. 

  • If you have questions about specific programs or services, please call our Welcome Center at 612-874-0311. 

We will, of course, continue to monitor the evolving situation very closely, and will follow any directives from the appropriate authorities. Any changes, as they are needed, will be reflected on this page. 

For information about how you can help us navigate this new territory, click here. 


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