The leading community action agency of the region, which is Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, can provide support services and referrals to struggling families. There is help for the low income, disabled, unemployed, and elderly, among others. The main resources available are below.
The non-profit organization offers intensive case management, direct services and supportive counseling through the FHPAP, or Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program. The goal is to prevent homelessness in Ramsey and other counties by offering government grants for paying back rent in combination with finding stable housing for at-risk families. FHPAP is available in all counties served by the agency.
CAPRW is also one of various non-profits involved with the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) homeless supportive services project. This was created by the state in order to assist long-term homeless individuals, including in both Ramsey and Washington Counties. Case management, self-sufficiency training and direct financial assistance are among the services provided by this project.
Individuals who have been continually homeless for a year or episodically homeless at least four times in the past three years are eligible for these services. There may be resources such as transitional housing or emergency rental assistance available. Another option is a cash grant for paying a security deposit on a new apartment. DHS funds the homeless supportive services initiative, and the project is available in all counties.
In addition, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington offers long-term vouchers as a form of assistance to subsidize rent payments for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, including single parents and the disabled. There are no monetary limits on these subsidies. The MHFA - Minnesota Housing Finance Agency funds this service, which the organization administers for the area.
Financial support for rent payments is also available as the result of donations or government funding. The main resource is the state of Minnesota Rental Assistance Program, or RAP. Dozens of families that may be facing eviction in the greater St. Paul area can qualify for this subsidy program. Enrolled families receive up to $300 per month to pay their housing costs. Other case management will help them stabilize their living situation.
There are referrals to scattered-site transitional housing units to help needy families progress from homelessness to permanent housing. Priority is given to families with children, including single moms, and tenancy is limited to a couple years. During their time in the transitional housing program, families work with counselors to develop permanent housing plans. When they are ready to move in, applicants can explore receive loans to pay a security deposit or first month’s rent.
Self-Sufficiency is a key function of the non-profit. Case managers help low-income individuals and working poor families achieve financial independence and employment. There is help from services such as transportation programs, education, asset development, and staff assist them with job hunting skills.
Another resource, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program or EFSP, is available for qualified low income families. There is funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In each county, a local board, comprising representatives from various organizations, decides how to allocate the federal FEMA funds.
Community Action Partnership deploys these funds primarily for first-month rent payments and eviction prevention services. The agency also distributes grants from FEMA to prevent foreclosures and assist with paying utility bills.
Fighting hunger is another initiative on the partnership. Local food shelves, soup kitchens in St. Paul and Ramsey, shelters and the Family Safety Network receive funding as well. Children as well as seniors can receive a box of groceries or maybe a meal from a pantry or soup kitchen. Other holiday aid is provided too.
Both Head Start and Early Head Start are offered by CAPRW. Using resources from the federal government and the state of Minnesota, quality early childhood is administered. The community action agency can help families, and their children, by coordinating nutritional, health care, educational services, and is focused on helping children get off on the right path.
The CAPRW community action group also operates the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program. Under this service, households and mortgage holders work with trained agency counselors to form loss-mitigation plans designed to prevent foreclosures. Clients will explore loan modifications and other solutions.
Moreover, the organization administers other forms of the Foreclosure Prevention Assistance in Ramsey and St. Paul. In very limited cases, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington provides referrals to loans to help forestall foreclosures in an effort to stabilize households and prevent homelessness.
Applications for LIHEAP are offered, and this is the state's and nation's main program for paying utility bills. During the cold winter months in Minnesota, low income households may be issued a grant or credit on their accounts for heating or other energy bills. Crisis funds can also help prevent a disconnection.
Through the energy-related repair program, individuals receive assistance to address safety or heating issues caused by malfunctioning or broken furnaces. The agency offers emergency heating-system repair or replacement in many cases, and it is in high demand during the winter months.
Income-eligible Minnesota Power customers can reduce energy costs by participating in the weatherization services. Auditors from the community action agency perform electric analyses of clients’ homes and provide energy-efficient household items, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, washing machines, air conditioners and microwave ovens. Refrigerators, freezers and water heaters may be replaced as well.
The federally funded weatherization services from community action also help clients reduce home energy consumption. Under this program, the community action agency performs a number of free energy-saving measures, such as air sealing, furnace-efficiency upgrades, and attic and wall insulation.
In addition, door-and-window replacement is available for mobile homes. Energy auditors inspect homes before and after services have been performed to test airtightness, and all weatherization work must be screened to ensure cost-effectiveness. Priority is given to senior citizens, individuals with a disability, minorities, and single parents or guardians. Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington handles emergencies and referrals from outside agencies on a case-by-case basis.
The location is 450 Syndicate Street N., St. Paul, Minnesota 55104. Referrals to a number of assistance programs can be obtained by 651-291-0211.
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