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Watonwan, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca County assistance programs.

Community action agency resources

The Minnesota Valley Action Council, Inc. covers and supports people in the region. They administer or can direct seniors and the low income to a vast array of financial assistance programs.

Wheel Get There can provide cars to people who need them for jobs. Most of the cars are just intended for a short term emergency need and may cost just several hundred dollars.

Energy assistance can help pay heating and utility bills in Sibley, Nicollet and nearby counties. Most of the funding goes to seniors and low income families. This is also known as LIHEAP.

Emergency Food and Shelter Board Program (EFSP) is paid for by the federal government, and any cash assistance needs to be used for paying rent or towards eviction prevention. Applicants can’t be more than one month behind on their monthly rent, and EFSP may in some cases provide the tenant a loan for their housing needs. The ESGP, or Emergency Shelter Grant Program, is another option that needs to be used to prevent homelessness and prevent evictions.

Rural Housing Assistance and Stability Program, or RHASP, is a six month case management program to help homeless households in Minnesota get into long term permanent housing. Grants and funds from the program can pay for 1st month's rent, expenses such as child care or other support services and bills including utilities.

Head Start will provide children up to age 5 with health, education, meals and social services. It can help both the child and support is provided for parents too in the form of job placement and social services. Click here for more details.

Family Assets for Independence (FAIM) is available in Minnesota can it can help people save money for a business or to buy a home. It will also potentially match savings.

Job programs are also offered by Minnesota Valley Action Council. Services available include job and career information, free Internet access and more. Training opportunities and other resources are also available on hand in order to help people get settled. The community action agency will also provide case management services and job seeking skills through the WorkForce Investment Act, or WIA.




  • The Senior Employment Program can help people over age 55 get work skills through paid work experience and internships.
  • FSET, or Food Stamp Employment and Training (FSET), will assist food stamp recipients with getting a job. It runs in Watonwan, Sibley, and other counties.
  • MN Family Investment Program (MFIP)/Diversionary Work Program (DWP) Employment Services offers help in identifying skills. Also get assistance in developing plans for employment and job search. The agency also holds classes on pursuing and retaining jobs.

The Minnesota Valley Action Council, Inc. is located at 464 Raintree Road, Mankato, Minnesota 56001. Call (507) 345-6822. Or find additional help from Minnesota Valley Action Council.

Locate help for rent, bills, and other needs

Waseca Neighborhood Service Center - Limited cash and funds are available to help low-income adults without children pay for rent to avoid evictions. The non-profit may also have money for utility and heating bills. The center also runs an Emergency Food Shelf available by appointment. School supplies are provided to low-income families. An onsite thrift store sells items such as low cost clothing, house wares, furniture, shoes, children's items and more. Also, low-income seniors can get free food and meals. Call (507) 833-4119, or more on Waseca Area Neighborhood Service Center programs.

South Central Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority focuses on housing, rent, and mortgage issues. They administer the section Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Rental Assistance Program, which caps how much rent a client needs to pay for their housing. The Minnesota Rental Assistance Program (RAP) is paid for by the state. It is offered by referral only, and it is a rental subsidy program for people in Nicollet and other regions. Read more on section 8 in Minnesota.

First time homeowners may also get help, including advice and assistance with their monthly homeownership expenses. Another resource offered is the Family Self-Sufficiency program. People getting rental assistance through the HCV Program can sign up for this work-incentive program. Services can help with employment, education, and job training goals, among other resources. 360 Pierce Ave Ste 106, North Mankato, Minnesota, 56003, main phone (507) 345-1977

Watonwan County Department of Human Services runs the Telephone Assistance Plan. It reduces monthly phone bills by up to $7 for low income persons who are disabled or 65 years of age or over. 715 2nd Ave S, St. James, MN, 56081, call (507) 375-3294





Social Concerns Committee is a partnership of churches. They support low income families in Waseca County. The non-profit charity offers Emergency Basic Needs as well as seasonal help such as the Christmas Caring. In some cases, the churches can help clients apply for cash grants for security deposits or other housing expenses, including heating bills. Find assistance from Social Concerns.

Cradle of Hope provides financial aid for pregnancy and childbirth related expenses such as cribs, medical, housing, food, and clothing needs. 1935 County Road B2 W Ste 241, Roseville, Minnesota, 55113, main phone (651) 636-0637

Food assistance programs and banks

Sibley County Food Share, Inc., 111 Industrial Ave S, Gaylord, Minnesota, 55334, dial (507) 237-5253

Janesville Community Food Shelf - Provides the low income with access to community food shelf for people who have not been able to receive any food or grocery assistance elsewhere. (507) 231-5189

New Richland Area Food Shelf (NRAFS) is located at 204 1st St NW Trinity Lutheran Church, New Richland, MN, 56072. Call (507) 465-3635

Church of St. Peter is located in St. Peter, Minnesota. Dial (507) 931-1628. Runs a church supplied food shelf and thrift store vouchers to those in need.

City of Madelia – Offers emergency food just for people in the city. Call (507) 642-3245

Other food pantries in the region include St. Peter Area Foodshelf (call (507) 934-9641), St. Peter Recreation and Leisure Services (main phone (507) 934-7434), as well as Watonwan County Food Shelf (507-375-2527). Each will offer emergency food boxes, meals, and can direct people to programs such as food stamps. Read more Minnesota food banks.




Health and dental care

The main center is the Open Door Health Center. It is a community based primary health care clinic and offers medical services in underserved and low income communities. The center provides short-term and long-term assistance with prescription medications and help for those unable to pay the bills or who have no insurance. Dental care is offered as well, and includes restorative care, screening, hygiene, and referral for children and adults with no other source of dental insurance. 309 Holly Ln, Ste 101, Mankato, Minnesota, 56001, main phone (507) 388-2120


By Jon McNamara

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