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Lakes and Pines Community Action Council.

The Lakes and Pines Community Action Council (LPCAC) uses government grants and state resources, such as those from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, to help low income families address a crisis. Any type of short term support is combined with case management services to help the client tackle the cause of their crisis. Services are available across Aitkin, Carlton, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Chisago and Pine Counties.

The federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides low-income Minnesotans with assistance to feed their family. They will be given the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that functions like a credit card at the local retailer. They can then buy groceries for preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals. SNAP benefits help participants stretch their household budgets, leaving additional funds that can also be used to purchase food.

The Lakes and Pines Emergency Housing Assistance Program helps individuals and families in a crisis that may have resulted from one or more of the following causes. There is financial aid, as well as advice, for people facing a foreclosure, Eviction, Domestic Violence incident, Injury or Illness, Job Loss, or that just have a Poor Credit History.

These solutions are funded with state-appropriated funds from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. Another key partner is the grants allocated to the community council from the Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP). These are used to provide financial assistance and needed tangible items, such as food and clothing, to help Mille Lacs residents and clients from other counties avoid becoming homeless.

Financial assistance may include grants for mortgage payments, back rent payments, security deposits, utility bills, and even transportation costs (vehicle repairs, bus passes) for work reasons. FHPAP also provides funding to pay for case management and outreach activities. With this program from Lakes and Pines Community Action Council, prevention is the key. So financial literacy, life skills training, and budgeting are often used to help clients avoid similar situations later on.

The ESP - Emergency Services Program utilizes state-appropriated funds through the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Economic Opportunity. The council provides hotel rooms in counties such as Carlton or Pine for families for short periods of time, plus case management services that shorten the length of time that families are homeless.




Other supportive services are equally as important as financial assistance, and can involve help with housing search and placement, employment, stability case management, and financial education.

The Emergency Solutions Grant – Rehousing (ESG-RHP) assists homeless and at-risk families and individuals. It works by helping them locate suitable housing and stabilizing their finances. In addition, the non-profit offers necessary short to medium-term financial assistance with paying for rent; deposits, including first and last month’s rent; utility bills; apartment application fees; case management; and outreach services.

While financial assistance is vital for many struggling residents, Lakes and Pines believes that supportive services are just as important. So the Rehousing Program services include housing search and placement, case management, credit repair, landlord mediation and financial education. ESG-RSP funding comes from the DHS Office of Economic Opportunity as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Transitional housing is available to homeless former offenders living in Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Chisago and Pine Counties. This resource is available from the Lakes and Pines and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and specifically their Transitional Housing Program (HUD-THP).

As part of this service, HUD-THP makes rent payments and it also provides funding to pay for case management and outreach activities. There is also a wide array of support services that include job search help as well as housing search assistance. The goal is to get the client into a stable environment.

Lakes and Pines Community Action Council Energy Assistance Program (EAP) offers several grant based solutions to provide residents of the service area with primary heating bill assistance and other home heating-related issues.  There may be financial assistance, which provides a direct payment to the utility company covering a portion of the client’s heating bill.

Other parts of EAP include Energy Related Repair to a furnace. There is also Energy Crisis Assistance, and this assists clients in heating-related emergency situations, including having received a utility service shut-off notice or having fuel delivery terminated. Minnesota also has Reach Out for Warmth, which is a form of further financial assistance when funds from Energy Assistance are no longer available to them. It can also help homeowners repair or replace a failing furnace.

Weatherization from LPCAC provides energy conservation measures, including weather-stripping, insulation, CFL bulbs and caulking to help reduce energy costs. For those that need it, the program also offers provides furnace assessments and services. Funding for Weatherization comes from local utility company conservation improvement programs.





The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Rehabilitation Loan Program can be applied for at a local office. This funds basic permanent repairs to the homes of low-income homeowners, through the provision of a 15-year, zero-interest loan. At the conclusion of the term of the financing, the money is forgiven.

Note that is the homeowner sells or moves, the loan must be paid in full. This will also need to be repaid to LPCAC if the title is transferred, or the property ceases to be the homeowner's primary place of residence at any time during the 15-years.

Lakes and Pines’ Early Head Start serves families and children from birth to age three. It does this by providing free, developmentally appropriate activities for the children and support services for the parents, whether they live in Kanabec or some other county.

The community action agency believe that parents know their children best and are their first and most important teachers, and parents play a vital role in our Early Head Start Program. Staff members work closely with parents as their children progress through the various stages of development, and also assist families as they set and achieve their goals.

The main Lakes and Pines Community Action Council is at 1700 Maple Ave. East, Mora, Minnesota 55051-1227. However there may be some satellite sites available as well. Call 320-679-1800 for more details.



By Jon McNamara











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