Three Rivers Community Action programs.

Low income families in Olmstead, Goodhue, Rice, and Wabasha Counties can turn to Three Rivers Community Action for advice and financial support. The objective of the agency is to help people overcome any challenges and hardships they are facing, and both short and long term aid can be provided.

While more details are below, TRCA will coordinate transitional housing or offer food. Case managers will also help families apply for government benefits such as SNAP, or other services include grants for paying heating bills. Much more can be provided as well.

Applications can be provided to the Food Support Program, or SNAP. For those that qualify, the state provides vouchers that are accepted in exchange for discounted grocery items at numerous area grocery stores in Olmstead and many other counties.

TRCA is usually conducting outreach services to locate residents of Rice, Wabasha, Goodhue and Olmstead Counties who may be in need of SNAP services but just have not applied. Anyone that wants more information is encouraged to visit the state of Minnesota Bridge to Benefits website to complete a household self-screening to determine eligibility. Required documentation includes, but is not limited to, proof of income, verification of the identity of the head of household, Social Security numbers for all members of the household, details on rent or mortgage payments, housing and utility costs, and any child support payments, if applicable. Call 507-732-7391 for more details on SNAP.

Disabled and seniors can benefit from Meals on Wheels. This Three Rivers Community Action affiliated service provides home delivery of hot, nutritious noon food items to home bound residents of the service area who are unable to prepare meals or shop on their own.

Meals are prepared by local caterers as well as volunteers, and they are delivered by community members. Meals on Wheels support services include the provision of information in regard to good nutrition and resources to help participants remain independent in their own homes.

Three Rivers Community Action Agency provides assistance with closing costs and down payments to eligible home buyers in southeastern Minnesota. Based on household need, they can issue zero-percent interest loans to assist in the purchase of a home. Another key benefit is that no payments are due from the property owner until the home is sold or refinanced.




The Short-Term Housing Assistance Program offers financial support for first months rent or a security deposit. The funds, which may include a loan, are used the purpose of securing affordable permanent housing in the region. In addition, the program may provide funding to avoid eviction, pay the costs of relocation, and/or pay a deposit or down payment.

In order to be considered eligible for rent help, participants must reside in Olmsted, Rice, Goodhue or Wabasha Counties, and their agreed upon monthly rent payments must be less than 50 percent of total household income. The program also requires stability and guidance, and this is done by up to six months of participation in case management.

The non-profit's Transitional Housing operates furnished housing units in Northfield, Faribault, and Red Wing Minnesota, and they were created for the purpose of assisting homeless individuals and families with making the transition into long term, affordable, suitable housing. As part of this, financial aid for utility payments and up to two years of case management services are included.

Funds for heating and paying energy bills can assist the low income and working poor. There is grants for paying these costs, and TRCA will also help income-eligible households with reducing their energy costs, and this is done from weatherization. Other support may include direct financial aid, heating system repair and/or replacement, crisis intervention and referrals to other community services are available through Energy Assistance.

Once the crisis has been averted, the next step is to provide a referral to Weatherization, which provides free energy-efficient home upgrades based on the results of a home energy audit. The improvements will help the tenant or homeowner save money in the long term.

Funded by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, TRCA’s Rehabilitation Loan Program provides deferred, zero-percent interest rate financing to pay for necessary basic improvements to the homes of eligible homeowners. The money an pay for Storm Windows, Mitigation of Lead-Based Paint, Radon, or Mold, Insulation, and Siding and Roofing Improvements.

Loans from the state and community action agency are forgiven after 15 years, or become due upon sale of the property. Any improvements must be directly related to making the home safer, more livable, and more energy efficient.





Economic Bridging Grant Program furnishes one-time-only, short-term assistance. Funds may be used for expenses such as utility or security deposits, utilities, rent, car repairs, or medical and dental care to Olmstead, Rice, Goodhue or Wabasha County residents. The program’s goal is to provide financial assistance when all other avenues have been exhausted. To receive assistance from Three Rivers Community Action, households are required to provide verification of residence, financial status, and the nature of their crisis.

The agency's free Financial Literacy and Money Management classes will teach people how to create a budget, tips to pay off bills, build assets, find ways to save money and increase their credit rating. Overall, the goal the less fortunate and struggling is to help you build a foundation for saving and managing money successfully for the rest of your life.

Head Start is a free, comprehensive child development program that promotes the positive growth of preschool-aged children and the self-sufficiency of their parents. Programming is family centered and strength-based, with an emphasis on supporting the parents’ role as the principal influence in child development.

Support services from TRCA and its partners include social services. This ranges from physical and mental health care, nutritional information, programming for children with disabilities, school readiness, limited transportation, and access to free nutritious meals and snacks.

TRCA’s Family Caregiver and Senior Advocate service provides resources, information and referrals to assist area seniors and their caregivers. The program’s goal is to help reduce caregiver stress and provide seniors with advocacy, information of medical care, and access to social services that allow them to age in place. Advocates and volunteers provide information on nutrition and food services, details in regard to new Medicare laws, the availability of financial assistance, healthcare directives, and the completion of living wills.

Three Rivers Community Action has a few offices in the region. The main centers are below.

  • 1414 North Star Dr., Zumbrota, Minnesota 55992, dial 507-732-7391
  • Rochester Office is at 300 11th Ave. Rochester, MN 55901. Main phone 507-732-7391
  • Faribo Town Square, 201 S. Lyndale Ave., Faribault, MN 55021. Call 507-732-7391
  • 611 Broadway Ave., Wabasha, Minnesota 55981, main phone 507-732-7391



By Jon McNamara

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