Short term needs around food and housing can be addressed by Community Aid. This form of Economic Support is an option while staff work with the client on solving the cause of the crisis, whether it is lack of education, job skills or employment.
The charity is funded by both occasional government programs, such as the Emergency Solution Grant, as well as private donations. The non-profit partners with churches and groups that may raise money from the community, or maybe there are activities such as food drives. In either case, the funds go directly to the working poor and low income in the region that need help.
One occasional service is Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing. This will rely on state and federal funds, and it will help people living on the streets or families threatened by evictions. One source of funding in Anoka County is from ESG grants.
Based on the amount of money available as well as an assessment of the applicant, there may be assistance from Community Aid or its partners to rapidly re-house low income or working poor persons who are homeless as defined by Federal law and HUD. Services provided under this program include utility bill assistance, rent and utility deposits, credit repair classes, moving costs, and legal fees associated with eviction.
Emergency Assistance will be customized to meet the nature of the problem, whether it is food, funds for rent, utility bills, or prescriptions. Any type of support, whether for a single parent or a senior member of the community, is possible through a variety of cash grants and gratuities. Money comes from clubs, individuals, churches, local charities, and even national organizations such as the United Way. Generally, any type of monetary assistance from Community Aid is for short term services rather than long term and are intended to resolve a critical situation in the home.
There will also be utility and heating bill assistance to vulnerable families, such as senior citizens or the disabled, during the winter months. Services are provided through contracts with local charities and community action agencies, and funds come from the contributions of customers or local energy providers or government grants.
Free food banks and shelves (as they are known in Minnesota) operate across Anoka County and provide for the immediate needs of families as well as senior citizens through the distribution of donated pantry-type groceries. While not common, there may be instances in which some non-consumable items such as diapers or paper products may also be available. Distribution of food items is made possible through private donations as well as drives held by Community Aid and local partners.
Information and referral is a key service provided as a form of Economic Support. Among other things, this will inform clients about assistance available from other public programs, whether they are state of Minnesota or federal. People can also learn about private organizations that support the low income as well as non-profit agencies in the community. There is extensive information on resources they provide to help people deal with a hardship. Some local resources may be:
Employment support is offered in partnership with one-stop job centers and other locations in the community and state. The goal of Community Aid and these resources is to help low-income households as well as the underemployed learn the skills to gain and also importantly sustain employment.
Clients of the agency will be able to find educational, technical and financial support needed to achieve economic solvency. Although anyone can attend programming at a local job center, there are workshops focused on those who are unemployed or under employed.
Credit and budget counseling helps individuals with financial planning and budgeting techniques as well as how to recognize and avoid predatory lending. Other areas covered, most of which is done by non-profit credit counseling agencies, include looking at spending habits, reducing existing credit card or medical debt; and developing savings strategies.
The main intake sites are as follows.
1201 89th Avenue, Suite 400, Blaine, Minnesota 55434 as well as the Anoka Office, which has an address of 2100 Third Avenue, Suite 400, Anoka, MN 55303. The info line can be called at 763-422-7200.
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