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North Dakota Catholic Charities assistance programs and referrals.

Solutions to dealing with an emergency are provided by the North Dakota Catholic Charities. The service is funded by a number of non-profits as well as churches across the Grand Forks, Bismark, Minot, and Fargo region, and they partner together in order to help families living in poverty or those faced by a one time emergency.

While there are many resources available by Catholic Charities, the key service available for the low income in North Dakota is information. The staff, both full time and volunteers, that work at the service can direct residents to dozens of programs for their needs. Whether they need food, low income housing, or advice in applying for government aid, some type of agency in the region can often meet that need, and Catholic Charities may have information on them.

Families across both North Dakota and really the entire state often struggle to pay for day care bills and arrange for care. So there are various Child Care Centers that accept vouchers. The locations have also been providing high quality care for children through a positive, nurturing environment. If the resident does not yet have a voucher from a government agency, the staff will direct the caller to a social service agency in cities such as Bismark to apply at. Any government support in North Dakota will only pay for a small portion of the child care expenses.

Any center that Catholic Charities will refer people to will be Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC. The locations referred to by Catholic Charities will accept vouchers that are issued by the state of North Dakota or federal government, or the family may be billed using a sliding fee scale. The centers will offer comprehensive and educational services for School-Age children.

The services available at each center are provided by highly trained teachers. If and when needed, the locations will collaborate with partners while ensuring that individual child needs are met. There will also be age and program specific literacy programs to enhance experiences for children.

Catholic Charities has referrals to Head Start, which promotes school readiness. It meets this goal by enhancing the social and cognitive development of students through the provision of health, nutritional, social, educational and other services. The assistance is for both enrolled children and their parents as well. Both are needed to help the child in making progress toward their literacy, educational and employment goals.




Locate housing, food, and grant programs from Catholic Charities in North Dakota

The staff from the center or a local church will direct applicants to local agencies that can provide one-time financial aid. A number of needs can be met, ranging from homeless to hunger prevention, placement into low income apartments, and much more.

Cash grants to pay for utility bills are available from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. This will assist low-income individuals and families with paying for the cost of gas and electric bills. Homeowners that are accepted into the program will then normally be put on the waiting list for Weatherization.

Both of these programs are funded by the state of North Dakota as well as the US Department of Health and Human Services. Applications are usually accepted by partners of Catholic Charities, mainly local community action agencies in cities such as Fargo or Grand Forks.

When it comes to reducing usage, providers will install free energy efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners. They will not be expensive upgrades, and usually may be a few thousand dollars. At most $6,500 is spent per home. No matter what exactly is done, any updates are effective and can save residents hundreds of dollars per year on their energy or water bills.

Additional assistance for children is available as part of Head Start. The federally administered program provides comprehensive child development services to low income families or those living in poverty. This can help break the cycle of poverty, as if the child gets off on the right path, anything is possible.

Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) are available across North Dakota, including the cities of Bismark, on occasion. This federally funded program covers a wide variety of housing expenses. Components of it are as follows.

  • There may be temporary shelter for homeless women, children, single parents and families.
  • ESG can be used to pay utility bills if a disconnection in close to occurring. There may be money for electricity bills, water, or heating costs.
  • Rental expenses can be covered if the tenant has an eviction notice, and this may also include emergency loans being issued.
  • Other grants can be used to stop evictions or utility termination; help with mortgage foreclosure; or assist with paying for medication.





Food assistance is available from non-profit pantries or government entitlements such as SNAP food stamps. As the staff at Catholic Charities in North Dakota realize, hunger is an ever-growing issue in the community. So the center will make referrals through formal agreements with other food pantries in the community or find some other solution.

Once the emergency has been addressed, then clients are encouraged to seek higher education, employment and housing. So this means self-sufficiency is required. Please contact Catholic Charities referral service for more information.

Other support from non-profits provide services and financial assistance to assist low income customers in meeting their long term household needs. Many of these services from non-profits are offered through Case Management. This will involve the client working with a counselor and set milestones that act as a map to achieving a specific goal.

The Catholic Charities of North Dakota client may be given referrals, counseling, placement into educational enhancement and information on employment services. The services provided for educational and employment activities are geared toward assisting the participants in becoming outstanding citizens in their communities.

Affordable Housing is located across all cities, such as Minot and Fargo in North Dakota. Referrals are given to these facilities. While the terms will vary, some are priced approximately 50% below market costs. Other apartment managers will accept the use of HUD section 8 vouchers. Preference for any low cost housing is given to applicants who are homeless or at risk of becoming evicted.

Note that most of the units in the community are normally leased, but individuals will always be encouraged to add their name to the waiting list. Any tenant that is placed into a home must pay their own rent and utilities.

Eviction prevention services cover everything from legal aid to cash grants from ESG above. Residents in danger of eviction can get referrals from Catholic Charities to learn about tenant rights, the process and how to address health code violations. Advocates may be able to assist clients with completing forms such Temporary Restraining Orders due to housing code violations or other issues. If needed, there can be legal support in filing a Small Claims Form in the county court for return of Security Deposits.




Pro-bono attorneys or paralegals will also mediate tenant/landlord disputes by telephone. The goal is to assist both tenant and landlord with resolving issues. Agencies assist clients who are in jeopardy of having the subsidy terminated due to lease violations. Some law firms in North Dakota will assist families with documenting situations, requesting a hearing on the housing dispute, or finding resolution to the outstanding issues.

Locations of Catholic Charity referral services

  • Bismarck office is at 600 S. 2nd St., Bismarck, ND 58504. Call 701-255-1793 for information.
  • Grand Forks of Catholic Charities North Dakota – Address is 311 4th St. South, Suite 105, Grand Forks, ND 58201, 701-775-4196
  • 216 South Broadway, Suite 103, Minot, ND 58701, telephone number is 701-852-2854
  • Residents of Fargo can drop in at 5201 Bishops Blvd, Fargo, North Dakota 58104, phone 701-235-4457


By Jon McNamara











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