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Lake, Carlton, Aitkin and Cook County assistance programs.

A number of services are available in this region. Some non-profits focus on providing food or financial help, others (such as clinics) provide health care. The leading organizations to call for help in Carlton, Aitkin and surrounding areas are below, as well as details on the assistance programs available.

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, Inc. is the regional community action agency. They can help facilitate short term crisis aid while ideally helping people gain self-sufficiency.

Job programs are offered by the Senior Community Service Employment Program. This was created by the federal government to help seniors gain part-time, temporary employment. Importantly it will allow them to gain skills and work experience so they can ideally find a full time job in the Lake or Aitkin region. Another option is the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program, or FSET, that can help those low income people who are ineligible for cash assistance and who do not have dependent. FSET can help these people with employment services, job search, and really help individuals get off public assistance.

Head Start offers the early childhood development program for low income families. It focuses on pregnant mothers, their families, and children birth to 5 years old. Children can get food, medical care, and educational services. Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) Program can help individuals build assets and wealth. This works by helping low-wage earners with pursuit of a higher education, purchase of a home, or capitalization of a small business.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program can offer cash grants to be used towards paying for heating bills.  When funding is allowed, additional money is offered for energy-related repairs or crisis situations. Also learn about energy conservation programs such as weatherization. As part of weatherization, highly qualified auditors evaluate your house in Carlton or Cook County and will complete improvements to reduce your monthly heating costs. All services are free for qualified low-income households and seniors.

Housing aid is provided by the Minnesota Fix-Up-Fund. It can provide low interest loans to improve energy efficiency, fix up your home, address accessibility issues, build an addition, upgrade wells and septic systems, or even build a garage.




Low interest or even deferred loans are offered for Single Family Rehabilitation. This provides funding for current homeowners in Minnesota and money can be used to improve the condition of their home. Typical rehabilitation projects include upgrades on heating, new roofs, windows, doors, flooring, plumbing or wiring.

The Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Program helps borrowers examine their options if they are behind on their mortgage. The non-profit offers financial counseling, information about the foreclosure process, access to community resources, financial assistance, and help/guidance in working with your mortgage company or bank. Read Minnesota mortgage help.

Food shelves in Aitkin, Carlton and other areas are operated in partnership of Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, Inc. and non-profits like the NE Minnesota Network. In order to help eliminate hunger in Minnesota, the pantries provide short-term and emergency food assistance to income-eligible families and individuals. Senior Food and Nutrition Services are available too, which provide over 40% of the daily intake of most key nutrients. Additional details food assistance.

Last, but not least, get income tax assistance from the AARP Tax-Aide Program. Trained volunteers are available February 1 through April 15 to prepare both Federal and Minnesota tax forms for low-to-moderate income senior citizens and individuals. Volunteer tax preparers can help people understand, prepare and e-file returns. The service is free to those who qualify.

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency has several offices in the region, including at 702 S 3rd Ave, Virginia, MN. Call (218) 749-2912. They also offer several other services to the working poor and unemployed. More on programs from Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.

Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council - Offers weatherization assistance, which can help people save on their utility and heating bills by installing energy saving work such as extra insulation. Other resources include low Income energy bill assistance, including LIHEAP, is available to those low income families, seniors, and elderly in need to assist with the payment of heating bills. Call (877) 797-2791 for information.

Cloquet Salvation Army is located at 316 Carlton Ave, Cloquet, Minnesota. Call (218) 879-1693. Limited financial assistance may be offered for rent and energy assistance. Other resources provide emergency shelter and vouchers for clothing, furniture, or food. Seasonal programs include school supplies and Christmas meals and gifts. Another program administered is the Rural Housing Assistance and Stability Program (RHASP).

Fond Du Lac - Min No Aya Win, Human Service Center administers the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), which can help pay for the furnace repairs and home heating costs for income-qualified households and the elderly. Funds can be used for the payment of energy bills, and emergency aid can prevent disconnections of utilities. The federal government Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) can help people reduce their energy bills by free home energy audits, heating system evaluation, insulation, and home or furnace repairs as a cost-effective way of reducing their energy bills. 927 Trettel Ln, Cloquet, MN, 55720, Main phone: (218) 878-2603.





Additional resources include WIC, which provides vouchers for healthy food, nutrition information, and referrals to other government services in the community. Education assistance can help people with getting their General Educational Development (GED) or High School Diploma. Also call this Aitkin and Lake County agency for information and referral regarding rent assistance, social and medical services, free legal aid, and housing.

Lakes and Pines Community Action Council is another non-profit community action agency for Aitkin and Carlton. They offer many of the same services as the agency above, with a particular focus on housing issues. The agency may have grants to pay rent, transitional housing, and offer security deposit assistance. Other programs will be food as well as loans for certain bills, such as home repairs. Much more is offered too, and find help from Lakes and Pines Community Action Council.

Medical services and community clinics

Birch Grove Clinic offers several services including checkups, dental care and prescription drugs, complete care for pregnancy, immunizations and checkups for children, and treatment when someone is sick.

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic is located at 513 5th Ave W, Grand Marais, Minnesota, 55604. Call this center at (218) 387-2330. May have free medical care for low income and uninsured patients.

Grand Portage Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Centers - Community Clinic. They are required to offer care to families, regardless of their income. 62 Upper Rd, Grand Portage, MN, 55605. Main phone (218) 475-2235.

Food assistance and pantries

Aitkin County CARE administers the Nutrition Assistance for Seniors (NAPS) supplemental food program. 503 Minnesota Ave N, Aitkin, MN, 56431. Call (218) 927-1383.

First Lutheran Church – Offers the needy access to emergency food. (218) 927-2028

Moose Lake Covenant Church runs the Sonshine Pantry. This provides once a month food distribution for a small fee. A large amount of food is usually available. Telephone - (218) 485-5758

Moose Lake Area Food Shelf is based at 308 Elm Ave. Call (218) 380-0345 for hours.




Elijah's Pantry - Address is 501 7th Ave, Two Harbors, Minnesota, 55616. Telephone (218) 834-4545. This pantry provides free emergency food assistance and groceries to anyone in need.

Silver Bay Area Food Shelf has groceries, meals, and emergency food boxes. Call (218) 226-4444

Hill City Food Shelf – The food pantry provides groceries and food for people in need in the Hill City School District area. It also supports families in the region North to 9 Mile Corner and South to Palisade, Swatara and Shovel Lake. (218) 697-8263. More Minnesota food pantries.

McGregor Food Shelf supports just the immediate area. Telephone (218) 426-3330


By Jon McNamara











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