Resources from Minnesota community action agencies.
Thousands of low income families in Minnesota receive help from community action agencies every year. The non-profits administer a large number of resources and assistance programs. A focus is on the unemployed, seniors, and individuals who are working through a hardship.
Services administered will vary by location, all of which are listed below. Some centers can provide emergency grants for paying for basic needs, such as energy bills and rent. Almost all non-profits will have some form of job training or employment program for individuals, and case managers will help families work toward self-sufficiency.
Emergency needs and grants
As funding permits, Crisis Assistance may be offered to qualified families and individuals who are in an emergency situation. Grants and cash disbursements can be used for a variety of purposes. An agency may be able to help pay first month’s rent, mortgage payments, car repairs, emergency medical/dental needs, or have vouchers for prescription drugs. The centers may call their emergency aid programs different names. For example, some Minnesota non-profit agencies call it Economic Bridging.
Either way, support will be offered as a one time-grant/assistance, and money will help resolve short-term crises that cannot be addressed through other means. Funds are meant to help for only a short period of time, with priority given to individuals who need assistance in removing barriers to healthcare needs, housing, transportation, and in particular employment. If help is needed for health care, then find a list of programs that help with medical bills.
The Minnesota Energy Assistance Program, which is the federal government LIHEAP program, provides financial assistance to low income households. Government grants can pay a portion of a qualified household’s heating bills. Those applicants with the lowest incomes and the highest heating costs receive the greatest benefit, with priority for families with young children and seniors.
Receive financial aid to pay a portion of your natural gas bills and heating costs. A crisis intervention program is offered in Minnesota for no heat situations, which would be a disconnection or if someone runs out of fuel. Representatives from your community action agency can also lead negotiations between utility companies and consumers to allow you to enter into a payment plan, which could help avoid disconnections.
Child Care Assistance can often by arranged by your local non-profit community agency. This state of Minnesota funding program provides subsidies to help pay for a family’s child care expenses, and it usually involves a sliding fee scale. This program is also usually supported by federal government grants. So families will need to pay only what they can afford to.
This resource is for families who meet income guidelines, and who need help paying for child care so that they can work, attend job training, or school. The community action agencies in Minnesota can provide more details. As indicated, the client will still need to pay a portion of the child care cost, and this will be considered a co-pay and is based on family income and size.
Emergency Housing Assistance can be administered, and is focused on preventing evictions, foreclosures, and general homelessness in Minnesota. Grants paid out are usually equivalent to one month's payment. At the same time a client will be enrolled in case management services to eliminate barriers to maintaining permanent housing and employment.
Weatherization Programs provide free energy saving improvements to income-qualified households and even renters. Priority for this resource is also given to the disabled, high fuel consumption households, and elderly. It will help residents conserve energy, keep utility costs affordable, and it even helps to make the home more comfortable and even safe. Tips on energy conservation methods are also available to clients. The federal government pays for this service, and learn more on how to apply for free weatherization which is helpful during the Minnesota winter.
Energy conservation and weatherization is an important part of all Minnesota services. It is important to help participants lower their utility bills costs during the cold weather season, but it can also benefit people by really making their home more efficient. So it benefits year round.
Energy Related Repair is available to homeowners who are also enrolled in the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program referenced above. Through this repair program homeowners can qualify for either a replacement of their furnace, repairs, or maybe even a new boiler or other heating unit.
Youth Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-housing can offer a number of services. It will help the youth build a plan that will stabilize their housing situation. Some services may include funds for paying security deposits, ongoing rental assistance, grants for utility bills, moving expenses, and case management.
Senior Outreach is for the frail and isolated older adults in Minnesota. Community action agencies will use workers and volunteers for this program. The representative will meet at the senior’s home to identify needs and discuss appropriate programs.
Participants will be linked and referred to supportive services including food shelves, Meals On Wheels, congregate dining, Energy Bill Assistance, Public Health Nursing, Income Maintenance, chore services or other needed community resources. Senior Outreach Workers will also help low income families with accessing services and assist them by completing applications or required paperwork.
Financial counseling, credit, and housing services
Family Budgeting programs can assist clients in creating a personalized financial action plan. It will be specific to meeting each individual or family's needs. What can be included in these classes and workshops is how to create a budget, learning how to track your spending, establishing financial goals, and understanding spending patterns and savings goals.
Receive assistance with saving money from the Minnesota FAIM - Family Assets for Independence. This is the state’s version of the Individual Development Account program. It is available for low-income wage earners, and it can help them save money and gain assets through matched savings. So anyone who enrolls, if you save money you will be provided matching grants. The money needs to be used towards goals of homeownership, paying for education or for starting a small business.
In addition to the matched saving account, FAIM also provides clients with credit counseling, budgeting, and similar financial literacy.
This local Minnesota program is part of the larger, national initiative to promote individual development accounts (IDAs). It targets low-wage earners, requires accountholders to attend financial education classes, and will provide subsidies through matches and grants rather than through tax breaks.
Some community action agencies operate Financial Opportunity Centers. The locations can assist people who want to help themselves, and various services are offered, including Financial Coaching, Public Benefits Screening, and Employment/Career Counseling.
Financial Counseling and Education can help families strive to achieve economic stability. Agencies in Minnesota can help arrange one-on-one financial coaching, and this is a proven technique to help people meet their goals as well as to reduce debts by consolidation or settlement. Consumers who are facing eviction, buried in debt, or who just need to set personal savings goals can benefit. Credit counselors and financial coaches provide confidential advice and support for long-term success. Receive Budget Planning, information on Debt Reduction, Savings Planning, and general Credit Repair & Improvement Work.
As part of these sessions clients will get help in creating a vision of financial stability, hold you accountable for your own progress, and will help people develop clear goals. One of the options explored is using a debt settlement company to help the client pay their bills.
Free income tax filing is offered from the AARP Tax-Aide Program. Well trained and IRS certified volunteers are available to prepare Minnesota and federal government income tax forms. The service is offered for both senior citizens as well as low-to-moderate income individuals across Minnesota. Volunteer tax preparers can prepare and e-file returns, ensure clients get all possible credits, and allow for a quick refund. If needed, in-home tax preparation is also available for seniors/homebound residents.
Housing counseling, including Home Buyer Education and foreclosure prevention, can help low to moderate-income individuals and/or first time homebuyers. Counselors can offer step-by-step instruction to credit worthiness and financial readiness, and can assist individuals with needed mortgage loan approval. Participants of these and other Minnesota sessions are encouraged to meet with staff for help with credit issues, one-to-one financial counseling, budgeting plans and loan program information.
The Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Program is also offered, and this helps homeowners examine their options when they are behind on their mortgage or facing a foreclosure situation. Counselors from a local non-profit agency offer access to community resources, financial counseling, support in working with your mortgage company or bank, and information about the foreclosure process. While less common, direct financial assistance or grants may be offered.
The low cost or free foreclosure intervention counseling can be extensive. It may also involve negotiations with mortgage servicers in an effort to arrive at a workout solution. The program helps clarify family’s options to stabilize their household finances to either transition to more affordable housing or stay in their homes.
Post Purchase Support is available from non-profits. This can help families and individuals be successful homeowners. For example, home maintenance workshops and events are available as well for one-to-one financial/budget counseling.
Homeless Services are offered at many community action agencies and local non-profits. Resources can help struggling or currently homeless individuals and families keep their current housing or find a new stable home. Examples of services available include assistance in meeting basic needs, outreach, direct rental and financial assistance, counseling, case management, and referrals.
Similar to above, Housing Crisis is available for those facing imminent homelessness. Direct financial assistance and counseling is available to help families in Minnesota keep their current housing or find new stable housing.
The Fix-Up-Fund (FUF) loan program provides low interest loans to help people fix up their home, address accessibility issues, improve energy efficiency, upgrade wells and septic systems, or build an addition. Funds are usually provided through Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and targeted at seniors and the disabled.
Food, meals, and basic supplies
The Women, Infants and Children program is a federal government health and nutrition education service that is offered in Minnesota. Apply at a local community action agency. It provides vouchers for supplemental food and formula to promote good health for pregnant women. Also those who are breastfeeding and postpartum can benefit, as well as infants, and children up to age five. Clients of WIC will also receive one-on-one counseling, nutrition assessment, breastfeeding information and support, as well as referrals to health care or other local community services. WIC also promotes good health by providing breastfeeding and education programs in addition to the free food and vouchers indicated above.
School supplies, including backpacks, may be distributed in partnership with other non-profits and charity programs. Distribution normally takes place during the late summer, with collections of supplies being organized in the early summer. Your local community agency may participate, or have information on local donation programs.
SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as Food Stamps or Food Support) can provide low income families with vouchers or additional dollars for your monthly food budget.
This is often combined with the Food Stamp Employment and Training (FSET) Program. This was created to assist low income individuals, generally those who are ineligible for cash assistance and without dependents. Case managers can help with job search and employment enhancing activities that will lead to an exit from public assistance and self-sufficiency.
Senior Food and Nutrition Services include meal sites as well as Meals on Wheels. Clients can receive nutrition assessments, free healthy meals, and education services. This service is offered in partnership with Agency on Aging centers in Minnesota.
Dining services are offered at numerous locations in Minnesota, such as senior housing, churches, community or senior centers. Patrons, and their spouses, can enjoy healthy meals, the company of peers, and other activities.
Home Delivered Meals are available for the homebound. So seniors who can’t make it to a center or who can’t prepare their own meal are offered the option of home delivery of a hot lunch or early dinner. The Meals on Wheels program is also an opportunity to check on the senior’s well-being.
Head Start is a child and family development program. It is multi-faceted and is available for income-eligible households in Minnesota. The government funded and created program was designed to help children, pregnant women and their families achieve their full potential. It can give children an advantage and help them get off to a strong start on their journey of lifelong learning. The program also assists parents. It provides them access to social services and self-sufficiency, and gives them support in maintaining family continuity. It can also provide services to children who may have special needs or disabilities.
Minnesota job training resources
Employment services involve a specialist looking at your current employment situation and skill set. They will understand what job or career goals you would like to attain. The coach will offer advocacy, support, and more. Some of what is offered includes classes and workshops in the following. Receive assistance with Resume Building, Goal Planning, Interview Basics, Targeted Employment Search, and Job Skill Development.
In addition to the assessment, the counselor will work with you on developing skills and searching for a job. Several employment assistance programs are available. Read job training Minnesota.
Project Success will help families and individuals who seek job training, employment, financial literacy, support, and education. Individuals or families who enroll in the program will create their own financial plan working with a case manager. Get tips and learn how to save, budgeting, and build assets. A goal is to help people reducing dependence on federal, state of Minnesota, and other financial assistance programs.
A Car Ownership Program is part of this. It assists working families with purchasing cars through a low interest loan. Some community action agencies can help arrange for this financing. The money needs to be used by families to purchase a car for employment or job training reasons. A specialist can also work with the client through the car buying process. Applications for this program are limited to individuals who do not qualify for any other financing or a car loan at a reasonable interest rate. Many beneficiaries are those who lack a credit history, have limited income, or may have a short employment history.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program in Minnesota was designed to promote temporary, part-time employment for people over the age of 55. It works through offering program participants access to community service and it will allow them to receive job skills and work experience that can lead to unsubsidized employment. Many community action agencies partner with Area Agency on Aging offices to offer this service. Businesses and organizations generally believe that older workers provide a valuable resource.
Minnesota Family Investment Program is part of the federal government Work First focused program. It was designed to assist government and public assistance recipients. MFIP will help in their efforts so they can successfully transition from Welfare-to-Work.
This will provide individuals with a well structured job search combined with a Work First training curriculum, Resume development, Job Club support network, and more. In general it will prepare individuals for and emphasizes the importance and values of work.
Workshops and classes will help with Adult Basic Education and other programs. Clients can access Employment Resource Centers in Minnesota and Vocational Evaluation. There are also job placement activities offered that address traditional barriers to employment.
Also offered as part of this are financial supportive services, and these grants can be used to address transportation, childcare and other work-related costs that could be impediments to employment. The MFIP program utilizes intensive one-on-one counseling and group initiatives to facilitate participant success and self-sufficiency. Follow-up is provided as well in an effort to support job retention.
Adult Basic Education offers GED preparation classes and workshops. This includes basic reading, writing, and math classes. Other resources are for English as a Second Language and can provide students with the skills needed to transition to employment or to post-secondary education. Sign up for computer skills, career assessment, and other job seeking skills.
Vocational Evaluation Services will offer assessment services to help adults and youth explore employment interests, skills, and other aptitudes and skills. Information is also available on educational requirements and specific careers.
Community action agency locations in Minnesota
Anoka County Community Action Program, Inc.
1201 89th Ave. N.E., Suite 345
Blaine, Minnesota 55434
Telephone: (763) 783-4747, or find details on services from Anoka County Community Action Program.
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, Inc.
702 3rd Avenue South
Virginia, Minnesota 55792-2797
Counties supported by the non-profit are Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis. Click more details.
Bi-County Community Action Programs, Inc. of Beltrami and Cass
2715 15th Street NW
Bemidji, MN 56619-0579
Call (218) 751-4631 for information. Housing services may be offered, such as foreclosure prevention and rental assistance. Other low income assistance programs are administered. More on the Community Action Agency in Cass and Beltrami.
Community Action Duluth
Location is 19 N. 21st Ave. West
Duluth, MN 55806
Telephone number - (218) 726-1665
This is the primary location for low income families in the City of Duluth.
Community Action of Minneapolis
Main address - 505 East Grant Street, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Telephone: (612) 348-8858
This for the City of Minneapolis, and may be the largest community action agency in the state. Various resources offered include energy bill assistance, weatherization, and housing counseling. Continue with Minneapolis community action financial aid.
Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties
450 Syndicate Street N., Suite 35
St. Paul, MN 55104
Various services are available for low income and unemployed families. They offer programs such as Head Start, weatherization, and furnace repairs. Other aid is for housing solutions and includes subsidized apartments as well as applications to the Minnesota Rental Assistance Program. More on Ramsey and Washington Community Action Agency Partnership programs.
Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin, Inc.
Main address is 8800 Highway 7, Suite 401
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
Call (952) 933-9639 for intake.
Several low income programs are offered. Services range from loans or funds for eviction prevention, rental or security deposits to help with home repairs. Other community action programs include emergency heating bill assistance, job training, and case management. Continue with community action Hennepin County.
Heartland Community Action Agency, Inc.
Main address is 200 SW 4th St.
Willmar, Minnesota 56201
Regions covered are counties of McLeod, Meeker, Renville, and Kandiyohi.
Inter-County Community Council, Inc.
207 Main Street
Oklee, MN 56742
Telephone: (218) 796-5144
Counties covered - Clearwater, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake
KOOTASCA Community Action, Inc.
Main address - 1213 SE 2nd Avenue
Grand Rapids, MN 55744-3984
Telephone number - (218) 327-6701
Counties supported are Itasca and Koochiching
Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership, Inc.
715 11th St. N # 402
Moorhead, MN 56560-2088
Primary telephone number - (218) 299-7000
An extensive region is supported, including the counties of Stutsman, Barnes, Wilkin, Becker, Cass, Clay, Richland, Dickey, Douglas, Foster, Griggs, Grant, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Otter Tail, Pope, Ransom, Sargent, Steele, Stevens, Traill, Traverse, and Wells.Click more information.
Lakes and Pines Community Action Council, Inc.
1700 Maple Avenue East
Mora, MN 55051-1227
Telephone: (320) 679-1800
If you live in Aitkin, Carlton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, or Pine and need assistance, call this non-profit. They can help clients receive emergency heating bill help, apply for Transitional Housing Program (HUD-THP) and offer other solutions. Read more Lake and Pine community action.
Lower Sioux Indian Community
39458 Res. Highway 1
Morton, Minnesota 56270
Mahube Community Council, Inc.
Office address is 1125 West River Road
Detroit Lakes, MN 56502-0747
Telephone number - (218) 847-1385
Becker, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Oter, Tail, Wadena
Minnesota Valley Action Council, Inc.
464 Raintree Road
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 345-6822
Counties and areas supported are Blue Earth, Brown, Sibley, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Waseca, and Watonwan. Find additional programs from the MVAC community action agency.
Northwest Community Action, Inc.
Badger, MN 56714
Services offered include food, Head start application sites, and emergency heating bill assistance. Counselors will also help people enroll into employment or job training programs. The Minnesota counties of Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, and Roseau are supported.
Olmsted Community Action Program
2117 Campus Dr. Suite 200
Rochester, MN 55904
Call (507) 328-6333 for intake. Many services are administered. Click here more information.
Prairie Five CAC, Inc.
Location is 7th St. & Washington Ave., Ste. 302
Montevideo, Minnesota 56265-0159
Main number - (320) 269-6578
Counties - Big Stone, Chippewa, Swift, Yellow Medicine, and Lac qui Parle. Several financial assistance programs are offered, including grants for paying utility bills from Reach Out for Warmth. Other services include loans to pay for home repairs, SNAP food stamp vouchers, and the community action Crisis Repair Program for furnaces. Continue.
Prairie Island Community Council
5636 Sturgeon Lake Rd
Welch, Minnesota 55089
Scott-Carver-Dakota CAP Agency, Inc.
Office address - 712 Canterbury Road, South
Shakopee, MN 55379
Call (952) 496-2126 for intake.
Carver, Dakota, and Scott County.
204 South Elm
Rushford, Minnesota 55971-0549
Counties and regions supported by the non-profit are Dodge, Steele, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, and Winona.
Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council, Inc.
Main address - 1106 3rd Avenue
Worthington, MN 56187
Call (507) 376-4195 for information.
Low income assistance is provided in counties of Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock. Seniors, the unemployed, and low income can apply for grants for paying bills, or self-sufficiency services.
Three Rivers Community Action, Inc.
Main location is 1414 North Star Drive
Zumbrota, MN 55992
Counties are Goohue, Rice, and Wabasha. Examples of services for struggling families include Meals on Wheels, housing including transitional apartments or grants for back rent, home repairs, and assistance with heating costs. Continuiw with Three Rivers Community Action assistance programs.
Tri-County Action Program, Inc. (Tri-CAP)
1210 23rd Avenue South
Waite Park, Minnesota 56387
Call (320) 251-1612 for intake.
Counties are Stearns, Sherburne, and Benton.
Minnesota families and seniors may qualify for housing assistance, the FAIM savings and budgeting service, or loans for home repairs and other bills. All this is available along with job placement, and find more details on Tri-County community action programs.
Tri-County Community Action Program, Inc.
501 LeMieur St.
Little Falls, MN 56345
Telephone number is (320) 632-3691
Counties - Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd
Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Inc.
102 N. Broadway, P.O. Box 607
Crookston, Minnesota 56716
Telephone number - (218) 281-5832
Resources, including rent and energy assistance grants, is provided for Marshall, Norman, and Polk.
West Central Minnesota Communities Action Inc.
411 Industrial Park Blvd.
Elbow Lake, MN 56531
Telephone number - (218) 685-4486
Services are offered in Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, and Traverse County.
Western Community Action, Inc.
Main address - 1400 South Saratoga Street
Marshall, MN 56258
Some of what may be offered includes WIC and job training. Homeless prevention and credit counseling/budget workshops may be facilitated to for the counties of Cottonwood, Jackson, Lyon, Lincoln, and Redwood. Read more.
Wright County Community Action Agency
130 West Division Street
Maple Lake, Minnesota 55358
Main telephone: (320) 963-6500
A number of services are offered, ranging from free income tax help to grants for LIHEAP, food, clothes, and budgeting classes. More on Wright County Community Action Agency.