Resources from Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.
Community action services are offered by Arrowhead Economic Opportunity. The non-profit offers both short term, emergency assistance for critical needs as well as long term stability and self-sufficiency. Coverage is provided for the counties of Aitkin, Cook, Carlton, Itasca, St. Louis, Koochiching, and Lake in Minnesota.
Find funds for energy bills or rent expenses
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency is able to provide financial grants for those who need help paying their utility bills, as funding levels allow. The focus is on heating bills for households that would be most at risk without power, such as the elderly or seniors.
The cash grants are to be used toward the energy costs of a resident's heating or gas bills. Additional funding is available for emergency situations and for energy-related repairs, such as a broken furnace. Free information on how to save energy for your home is also available. For those individuals or households who may need help paying their heating utility, this federal government funded Energy Assistance Program runs October 1st - May 31st.
Homeless Assistance resources from Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency are wide ranging. The organization has a number of services to assist those facing eviction, homeless persons and families in counties including Carlton to keep their current shelter or to find new, stable, yet affordable housing.
Some of the assistance programs include things such as emergency rent help, outreach, help with meeting basic needs, utility programs, access to homeless shelters in Virginia & Hibbing Minnesota, financial assistance, counseling, and referrals to other needed resources.
In addition, Housing Crisis is a resource available for those facing an emergency situation with no shelter. Direct financial assistance and counseling is available to help individuals keep their current home/apartment or transition to stable housing. This may include funds to pay a security deposit or back rent too.
The Fix-Up-Fund (FUF) program provides qualified homeowners with low interest loans. The money is issued from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. The loans can be used to improve energy efficiency, fix up their home, address accessibility issues, build an addition, upgrade wells and septic systems, or build a garage.
Minnesota State Law requires that homeowners with a special mortgage to receive refinance counseling. They often receive access to a number of foreclosure prevention services. A special mortgage is a home loan started, subsidized or guaranteed by or a through a state, tribal, or county government, or a local nonprofit organization.
During the counseling sessions, which are held in all counties, including Koochiching, Aitkin and St. Louis, participants can expect to discuss any different credit repair and mortgage assistance programs that are available to them.
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity community action agency offers a Weatherization service to those who need help saving money and conserving energy.
AEOA’s trained energy Auditors will evaluate your home and then experienced and skilled Workers will complete necessary modifications to reduce heating loss. Upon completion of these home updates and improvements, homeowners will notice a savings in their bills. This program is free for low-income applicants who are eligible.
The agency has a program to assist those who need help repairing their homes, and this is known as Single Family Rehabilitation. This grant is for current homeowners to improve the condition of their homes.
A rehabilitation project may include updates such as certain changes such as new doors, roofing, windows, flooring, or upgrades to heating system, electrical wiring and plumbing. Loans can be deferred or dropped to a low-interest, and this will depend on factors such as the applicant’s income.
Senior Food and Nutrition Services are available. All meals or groceries are approved and developed by a Registered Dietician to provide the most nutritious items available to participants.
One example of what is available is the Frozen Meal Service. This is available for those who are homebound (such as elderly or disabled), and cannot come to the site.
Congregate dining services are available at many locations such as senior housing in St. Louis County, community or senior centers, and even some local restaurants.
Home Delivered Meals are offered for homebound diners. They will be provided the option of home delivery service. This assistance from Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency and its partners is also a great way to check on their well-being.
With these difficult economic times, many people may need help. So to work to end hunger in Minnesota, the numerous food pantries of the Northeastern Minnesota Network are there to provide support. The locations can offer emergency and short-term boxes of food and other assistance to low income persons and households who are eligible.
Mortgage help and Foreclosure Prevention from Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, is for those from the community who need help paying their home loans. This service assists homeowners to explore all of their options when faced with a foreclosure.
The non-profit community action agency offers financial counseling, information about the foreclosure process, access to other community resources, assists by working with your mortgage lender, provide, and occasional financial assistance.
Housing counselors from AEOA work directly with the homeowner's mortgage company or bank. They will gather information, and to develop a plan to correct the homeownership and financial issues.
AEOA education and job training
ABE, or Adult Basic Education services, are offered by the community action agency (AEOA). Case managers from the center can provide GED preparation including basic literacy, math; career assessment; English as a Second Language (ESL); employment skills to post-secondary education; computer classes; and skills for seeking employment.
Employment for older adults is part of the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency offers this resource for the elderly of the community, including counties of St. Louis and Cook.
SCSEP was created to promote part-time, temporary employment by which participants perform community service. During that job, they gain invaluable work experience and other skills that can lead to long term employment. Older workers and seniors in the state of Minnesota are a valuable resource within the current workforce. By using this service, SCSEP provides job help to all who participate.
Another job training program is part of FSET - Food Stamp Employment and Training. The non-profit Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) offers this as a program for low income and working poor persons. It may allow them to increase their income levels.
The statewide FSET was created to help low income persons, who do not have dependents and may not be eligible for cash assistance. It is offered in all counties, including Aitkin, Lake, Carlton and others. This service helps them with finding employment, job training, and other tools that will lead to them becoming self-sufficient and be able to stop getting public assistance.
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency runs a comprehensive preschool program for children from struggling and low income families. This program is for children birth to 5 years old, and their families that meet federal income levels. It is also for children from Minnesota who may have special needs or disabilities.
By partnering with other resources, such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the community action agency is able to provide nutritious, free meals and snacks to participants.
Credit counseling and financial literacy
The organization also offers a saving and asset building program to assist people who need help saving money for paying off their bills. The Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) Program assists Minnesota residents from all counties.
It will allow low-income residents to build assets through the purchase of a home, pursuit of a secondary education, or by starting a small business. Participants make monthly deposits into financial institution Family Asset Accounts (savings accounts), which are then matched at the end of contracts. Participants are required to complete credit counseling, a financial management course and debt reduction, if needed.
AEOA operates a certified AARP Tax-Aide Program. This free service is a volunteer run program and is available February 1 until April 15 to prepare Minnesota and Federal government tax forms for low-to-moderate income persons and the elderly throughout the state of Minnesota.
There are many tax preparation locations in the region, including Northern St. Louis County, where volunteer IRS trained tax preparers can prepare and e-file returns. There is also available an in-home tax preparation service for homebound persons.
Home Energy Improvement Program is offered in partnership with groups such as the Lakes & Pines Community Action Council, Kootasaca Community Action, and Arrowhead.
This service is oftentimes able to provide cash grants to income eligible homeowners and rental units. The loans or grants are to be used to improve homes or rental units for those whose income is over traditional guidelines. It can pay for Replacement of Water Heater, Window Replacement/Door Replacement/Siding, Wall and Ceiling Insulation, and Replacement of Furnace and Heating Duct Upgrades.
Homeownership Program was created to help encourage and promote ownership by providing competitively priced down payments and closing cost loans to qualified buyers who are income-eligible. Staff from AEOA also runs a series of Homestretch Workshops, open to those who are interested in learning how to purchase a home. This course is made to give first time buyers the understanding and knowledge of many issues on the process.
The Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency has a few sites. They are as follows.
- 1000 5th St., International Falls, Minnesota 56649. For intake dial 218-283-6571.
- 2124 10th St., Two Harbors, MN 55616, call 218-834-2280 or 800-223-1850
- Grand Rapids Service Center is at 421 SE 13th St., Grand Rapids, MN 55744
- 317 W. 5th St., Grand Marais, MN 55604, dial 218-387-1134
- 321 N. Minnesota Ave., Aitkin, Minnesota 56431, dial 218-927-7046 or 800-243-3209
- AEOA Central Office, 702 S 3rd Ave., Virginia, MN 55792, 218-749-2912 or