Important COVID-19 Information for the Housing Industry

Housing First Minnesota is Working For You

There are short-term impacts being felt across the industry today and we could still see longer-term impacts. During this time of uncertainty and challenges your association is working to ensure our industry comes out of this crisis stronger than before.


Critical Service Designation Webinar

Housing First Minnesota’s James Vagle and Nick Erickson recorded a webinar to share important information and provide resource guidance for the housing industry during the two-week Shelter-in-Place order.

 

 

Watch The Webinar

 

 

Quick Links

Latest COVID-19 News

Housing First Minnesota: Residential Construction is Essential

COVID-19 Critical Service Designation Resources

SBA COVID-19 Disaster Loans

Municipal Permitting and Inspections

Construction Stormwater / NPDES Applications Inspections

COVID-19 and OSHA Reporting

COVID-19 and Construction Operations

Disruptions in Safety Measures Due To COVID-19

COVID-19 and Administrative Operations

COVID-19: Model Homes and Sales Center Operations



Housing Industry Impacts

Housing First Minnesota: Residential Construction is Essential

As Minnesota leaders have begun to place restrictions on certain businesses, Housing First Minnesota felt it important to connect with Gov. Tim Walz to inform him and his administration about the proactive measures the housing industry has taken to continue to operate.

On Friday, March 21, Housing First Minnesota wrote the Minnesota Governor, outlining the steps taken to protect employees and reduce COVID-19 transmission. Housing First Minnesota also asked that should a "shelter-in-place" order be given, that housing production remains able to continue. Several areas of the country with these limitations have allowed construction to continue. Learn more.

 


 

COVID-19 Critical Service Designation Resources:

To help member companies adjust operations, Housing First Minnesota has assembled a series of documents for use on job sites. Read more.

·          OSHA Guidelines on COVID-19

·          Vehicle Pass – MS Word - Not Required, Per MNDEED

·          Personnel Pass – MS Word - Not Required, Per MNDEED

·          Practice Social Distancing Job Site Sign (English)

·          Practice Social Distancing Job Site Sign (Spanish)

·          One Trade Per Home Job Site Sign (English)

·          One Trade Per Home Job Site Sign (Spanish)

·          Top Tips COVID-19 Protection (English)

·          Top Tips COVID-19 Protection (Spanish)

 


 

SBA COVID-19 Disaster Loans:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced today that COVID-19 disaster loans are now available for Minnesota small businesses.
According to DEED:

  • This program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private nonprofits.
  • These loans can go toward working capital to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments that can’t be paid due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The nonprofit rate is 2.75%.
  • These loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years.

SBA is holding a webinars to provide more information on the loans. Register here >>

 

 

Municipal Permitting and Inspections:

Some local governments have, or are considering, reducing their services. However, as the construction industry continues to build and renovate buildings, from houses to hospitals, it is important that timely inspection services are maintained.

 Before ceasing any permitting or inspection activity, municipalities must contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to ensure that enforcement of the State Building Code is maintained by a designated building official. DLI has declared that ceasing all inspection services is not an option.

Housing First Minnesota staff is working diligently to update our industry members on which municipalities have put restrictions on their permit and inspection process.

Please visit our blog for the latest information.

Contractors facing difficulties obtaining municipal inspections should first try to resolve the delay with the designated building official or other municipal administrator. If the building official or administrator cannot be reached, contact DLI enforcement staff for assistance.

·       Contact:   Wayne Gartland, Email, Phone: 651-284-5892

Source: Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

 


 
Construction Stormwater / NPDES Applications Inspections:

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency emailed Housing First Minnesota on March 27 to affirm that during the shelter-in-place order, those with a SWPPP/NPDES Permit must take all necessary steps to maintain compliance. The MPCA knows there may be instances where a noncompliance situation is unavoidable, directly due to impact from the coronavirus. The MPCA has established a dedicated email account for requests related to regulatory flexibility, and to assist in alternative approaches to maintaining compliance. Email MPCA.COVID19REGFLEX@state.mn.us with specific information related to a request for regulatory relief.” Read more.

Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

 


 
COVID-19 and OSHA Reporting:

OSHA recordkeeping requirements at 29 CFR Part 1904 mandate covered employers record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 log.

COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are met:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
  2. The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work).

Visit OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements page for more information.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

 


 
COVID-19 and Construction Operations:

Safety is always paramount on a construction site. Please follow OSHA's COVID-19 Guidance.

 


 
Disruptions in Safety Measures Due to COVID-19:

N95 masks are in short supply and Vice President Mike Pence has asked that the construction industry donate these masks to hospitals and health care workers on the front lines.

As N-95 masks are important for keeping silica dust and other fine particles out of lungs. The National Association of Home Builders has put together the following guidance:

NIOSH, OSHA and others have guidance that includes vacuum dust collection systems, using wet-cutting techniques and minimizing the number of workers exposed to the hazard. Here are some resources to help construction companies reduce exposure to dust on job sites that reference these techniques for specific tasks:

If a respirator is required, employers can also provide workers with a substitute respirator of equal or higher protection, such as N99, N100, or P100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators (PAPR).

Source: National Association of Home Builders

 


 
COVID-19 and Administrative Operations:

Many offices have shifted to telecommuting, including the Housing First Minnesota team. If your organization is able to do so, please make the appropriate accommodations. If telecommuting is not an option, be sure to follow CDC guidance on workplace cleanliness and social distancing.

Housing First Minnesota has assembled a list of tips for employees and managers on how to effectively work from home. Learn more .

 


 

COVID-19: Model Homes and Sales Center Operations:

Members have contacted us for guidance regarding the operations of sales centers and work sites and we want to share the following recommendations:

   

Appointment-Only Sales Meetings:

Shifting to appointment-only meetings for the short term will help to mitigate the risk of infection for customers and our industry employees & trade partners.

 

If your sales centers and model homes are open, either as usual or by appointment-only, please be sure to follow these recommendations:

·      Staff should stay home if exhibiting symptoms.

·      Maintain a six-foot distance between guests and staff.

·      Limit or eliminate the need to hand documents or other materials to guests.

·      Keep doors open and recommend that people limit interaction with surfaces like cabinets, closet doors, and light switches.

·      Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces after any guests leave. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

 


General Association Operations:

Our foremost priority and guiding principle in all of our deliberations and decisions is the health and well-being of all industry members, their customers, employees, and our staff at Housing First Minnesota. We are continuing to monitor, communicate with key stakeholders, and evaluate this rapidly changing and unprecedented landscape for our industry.

All Housing First Minnesota staff will be working remotely during this time. If you leave a voicemail message on a direct line of an employee, the message will immediately be sent to their email inbox. Contact information can be found here >>

 


 

Parade of Homes & Remodelers Showcase:

The board met Tuesday, March 17 to discuss the Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase. The board found it necessary to take actions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure to our attendees and staff. As a result, the Spring Parade of Homes has been paused effective immediately and the Remodelers Showcase has been canceled.

Parade of Homes participants, please remove directional signage at your earliest convenience. We have communicated this decision with the public. Remodelers Showcase Guidebooks will be removed from Holiday Station stores, and web and social properties will reflect this update.

The Parade of Homes has a long-standing history of helping homebuyers find their dream homes. We are committed to bringing the truly unique energy and strength of the Parade of Homes after we have worked through these challenging times. The Parade is a staple of homeownership in our state, we look forward to continuing that tradition in the near future.

 




Other Association Events:

All association events will be evaluated on a rolling basis by leadership and our Executive Board of Directors. Specific event information:

  • The Foundation Gala has been rescheduled for December 5.
  • Artisan Home Tour 2020 has been rescheduled for October 9-11, 16-18, and 23-25.
  • Association Committees will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with updates each week. Our goal will be to use technology effectively to conduct business and communicate.

 

 

 

 

Housing First Minnesota

2960 Centre Pointe Drive
Roseville, MN 55113

651-697-1954
Reception@HousingFirstMN.org

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Board of Directors

Our Mission

As the leading voice for builders and remodelers, we help our members build their businesses through marketing, advocacy and industry connections.

Our Vision

To be as vital in government and politics as we are to Minnesota’s economy.