Breaking News
More () »

How to help Minnesotans experiencing homelessness right now

A Minneapolis organization is asking for help in their mission to care for the homeless during COVID-19.

MINNEAPOLIS — Remember Avivo? It's one of several agencies that last year found housing for more than 100 people who'd been living in tents along HWY 55 near Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis. 

The non-profit organization wants to keep helping Minnesotans experiencing homelessness and/or addiction, but COVID-19 is creating new challenges.

According to Emily Bastian, Vice President of Chemical and Mental Health, the pandemic directly impacts around 100 people who currently live in Avivo housing and who come to Avivo for treatment services.

"The number of places that are serving meals have decreased," Bastian said. "The number of places that people can be during the day have decreased."

Avivo now asks its clients, who come to its south Minneapolis buildings, to practice social distancing - even in group treatment - and to stay home in between sessions.

But when home is a shelter, the risk of coronavirus is still there.

"Social distancing in a shelter is virtually impossible," Bastian said.

She says you can help by donating items identified on Avivo's online list of urgent needs.

"We have a list of things that may seem obscure but they're items that are really going to help us be able to continue to connect with the people that we're serving," Bastian Said.

Food Needs

  • Shelf-stable food
  • Milk
  • Sandwich supplies and snack supplies to create bag lunches for the kids in Avivo programs
  • Grocery store gift cards or necessities gift cards
  • Donations for the $300/day or $1,500/week costs of providing meals for the 25 children in Avivo's family residential treatment programs ($12/day per child). Donate here

Non-Food needs

  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers (all sizes)
  • Coloring books/crayons for kids
  • Arts and craft supplies for kids
  • Cleaning supplies

Cellular Phone and Tablet needs

  • Apple iPhones (iPhone 4 or newer, iOS 7.0 or newer)
  • Android phones (running Android 2.3.x Gingerbread or newer)
  • Apple iPads and iPad minis (running iOS 7.0 or newer)
  • Android tablets (running Android 2.3.x or newer)

Bastian says Avivo employees are using video technology to reach people they would otherwise serve face-to-face. Bastian says a donated cell phone could save someone's life.

"We can connect with people through telemedicine in order to continue to provide support remotely to them." 

Prior to donating, donors should wipe any personal information from the phone and run a factory reset to remove passwords.

Donations can be dropped off at the 1900 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment. 

Call 612-752-8000 or email at contact@avivomn.org to notify the organization of your donation or to schedule an off-hours donation.  

Cell phones and tablets can also be mailed to:


ATTN: Cell Phones 

1900 Chicago Avenue

Minneapolis, MN 55404

Please contact Avivo prior to mailing a phone or tablet.

RELATED: Walz issues 'Stay Home' executive order for 2 weeks in Minnesota

RELATED: Some patients still waiting more than one week for coronavirus test results

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

More information on the coronavirus: 

Before You Leave, Check This Out