Find assistance with bills from Prairie Five CAC.

Services from the community action agency known as Prairie Five CAC can help qualified low income residents of Chippewa, Big Stone, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine and Swift Counties in Minnesota. The agency offers aid as a hand up and not a handout, and are truly focused on addressing the cause of poverty.

As a client goes through case management, they may be able to apply for public aid for paying heating bills or free food from SNAP food stamp vouchers. Other resources may be loans to pay for home improvement, transportation for seniors, and general referrals.

Find help with free food and meals

Senior Nutrition Program provides assistance to the elderly and senior population by providing enhanced nutrition and also by reducing their social isolation. Over 20 sites offer Home Delivered, Congregate Dining and Frozen Meals to those that qualify. Low cost Frozen Meals are available for holiday, weekend, emergency and rural delivery. The goal of the program is promoting overall health and self-sufficiency of elderly people.

Volunteers from Minnesota are the core of the Senior Nutrition Program and their help is highly appreciated. Continuing support for program and its participants is offered in the five counties support by CAP. Each enrolled participant is asked to make a small donation for each meal served to them.

Groceries from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), that was also known as “food stamps”, is incredibly under used but also widely available to many people who aren’t aware of it or what is required to sign up. Prairie Five CAC is a SNAP informational site in Minnesota. The agency will also provide the correct information to start the application process.

Utility and heating bill assistance from Prairie Five CAC

Reach Out for Warmth is a state wide fuel fund in Minnesota. It can be turned to by low income residents in a crisis. It helps households below 60% of the state median income that have energy related emergencies. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Children, charities such as the Salvation Army, and local energy assistance programs.




The emergencies are related to a pending disconnect or interruption of fuel due to medical costs, emergencies or abrupt loss of household income. Eligible homeowners for Reach Out For Warmth may also be eligible for up to a few hundred dollars. This is particularly intended for energy related repairs of the primary heating system in the household.

Find help with heating, gas, and utility bills. This is a key service in Minnesota. Funded by the Office of Energy Security, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Human Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is the main the benefit that helps low-income households.

Those that qualify can get assistance with their heating energy costs. The program promotes self-sufficiency of enrolled households by providing low-cost energy conservation and consumer education activities to homeowners and renters. A fair assistance distribution is provided by LIHEAP and households remain responsible for paying their total energy bills.

The funds offered from the program are used to pay a portion of the costs for home energy during the heating season. Apart from bill assistance, other services include weatherization activities, furnace tune ups, referrals, and energy related repairs. The goal of the program is to provide the highest level of benefits to households with the lowest income.

Eligibility is based on household size, income and the actual cost of paying for their home’s heating fuels for a consecutive twelve (12) month period. It is offered across the state, including counties of Chippewa and Big Stone.

Prairie Five CAC helps reduce the impact of rising energy costs through the Weatherization Program. Some of the free energy conserving measures installed from this program includes insulation, extra caulking and free weather-stripping. First, an energy audit is conducted in order to determine the existing conditions in the household. Then additional steps are taken. The program is available in five counties of Prairie Five's service area.

Eligible clients for the program are residents of the region, such as Lac qui Parle. These households that have not been previously weatherized and also generally receive Energy Bill Assistance. Priority is given to households with elderly, senior citizens, disabled, children under 6 and those with high consumption.

The Crisis Repair Program helps households with energy related crisis repairs during the fall or winter. Homeowners who are eligible for Energy Assistance and experiencing a hazardous or emergency energy related problem are eligible for the services.

To qualify for an emergency, a situation must directly relate to the furnace or home heating system. In addition, the members of a household will be in physical danger if the situation is not resolved.

There is another option for paying utility bills for people in emergencies. The Prairie Five CAC provides emergency financial assistance to low-income households in resolving a heating or an electrical emergency through the Crisis Non-Repair Program.

The program operates during winter months and involves paying a natural gas disconnect, shut off notice, electrical disconnect, or ordering and paying for additional fuel oil or propane. Households that are in a crisis and are eligible for Energy Assistance can apply for the program.





Housing and other assistance

The MHFA program ensures income based deferred loans to owner occupied properties. The loans that are part of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Rehabilitation are granted for basic, necessary housing repairs.

Enrolled clients make no interest or monthly payments until such a time that they sell, transfer or move from the property. In addition, there are no payments until the 15th year or so when the deferred loan is due and payable. All applicants must be income eligible based on the guidelines set by MHFA yearly. The following Counties operate the program and participate, including Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine County and Big Stone.

A home buyer education service is known as HomeStretch. It provides information on:
-Mortgage loan closings
-home purchasing options
-Legal review of purchase agreements
-credit repair
-home maintenance after the purchase

The participation in the program ensures a certificate to all enrolled clients, which can be beneficial when applying for certain loan programs from national lenders. Call 1-888-468-8010.

Case management really involves achieving self-sufficiency of the entire family. This is the goal of the Family Development Program. The main emphasis is presently advocacy/listening and referrals and budgeting.




FAIM, also known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), is a form of savings. It provides assistance to low-income individuals to build assets through home purchase, secondary education (for the applicant or an eligible child) or starting a small business. Account holders and those that enroll save up to $500 per year and they must complete financial management classes. Clients also generally need to enroll into specific asset building classes in order to receive match funds.

The Prairie Five RIDES transit system is a combination of Volunteer Driver and bus service. People of all ages, including seniors and the disabled, can use the services of this program. it operates and is widely available in the following Counties of Yellow Medicine, Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, and Swift Minnesota.

Prairie Five CAC, Inc. locations:

  • Chippewa County - Address: 7th Street & Washington Avenue, Suite 302, P. O. Box 159, Montevideo, MN 56265, Phone: 320-269-6578
  • Big Stone County - Clinton Memorial Building, Main Street, P. O. Box 5, Clinton, MN 56225, call 320-325-5227
  • Lac qui Parle County - 422 5th Avenue, P. O. Box 166, Madison, MN 56256-0166, 320-598-7649 or 800-443-4283
  • Swift County - Hwy 12 East, P. O. Box 321, Benson, MN 56215, main phone 320-842-8565
  • Yellow Medicine County office is at 106 St. Olaf Avenue North, Canby, Minnesota 56220, 507-223-5471

By Jon McNamara

“Related Links” are listed below.




Contact Us

About Us


Privacy policy