Thursday, September 16, 2021

Play

Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.

Play

Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.

Play

Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

MN's Community Agencies Can Stretch Dollars a Little Further

Play

Monday, July 12, 2021   

ONAMIA, Minn. -- Helping Minnesotans escape poverty requires behind-the-scenes work, often done by community action agencies on shoestring budgets. Now, they're getting a funding boost, including tribal governments.

Community action agencies facilitate a variety of services, like job placement and rental assistance. The new state budget increases their annual grant by $1 million each year, with tribal nations now getting an equal share under a revised funding formula.

Tammy Wickstrom, executive director of Aanjibimaadizing, a resource program for Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, said they mostly use their annual grant for youth programming, and more equitable funding will go a long way.

"We're really focusing on supplies and activities that the kids aren't necessarily going to get in a public school or in another setting," Wickstrom explained.

Her agency's annual grant of $25,000 will double. Other local offices say the grants help them assist clients even beyond traditional needs, such as helping with car insurance costs, so they can travel to a much-needed job.

Many cover several counties, and limited funding makes it hard to reach every low-income resident and address their unique circumstances.

Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, helped secure the additional funding. He said the agencies are mostly invisible to the public eye, but hopes they get more attention in light of the pandemic. In an era of divided government, the Republican describes the budget action as a breakthrough.

"When people consider politics, they think of it as sparring and arguing," Abeler acknowledged. "But that debate that happens in politics actually generates agencies like this that are committed to doing the people's work, and they really do a good job of it, on a pretty lean budget."

Annie Shapiro, advocacy director for the Minnesota Community Action Partnership, which oversees local agencies, said the increase comes after years of funding declines for the grant, and noted the extra money can help advance the agencies' post-pandemic work.

"This was really a specific moment in time where agencies stepped up to make sure that people were able to stay safely housed, to make sure that people have access to food," Shapiro stated.

She added they can now start to focus on longer-term recovery efforts for low-income Minnesotans.

Disclosure: Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…


Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…


Arkansas' rental-assistance program has distributed funds to more than 3,200 households in the state. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…

Environment

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…

A new report spotlights the economic impacts of limiting a woman's right to safe and legal abortion. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …

Environment

BOISE, Idaho -- Closed fisheries from imperiled fish runs in the Columbia River Basin are prompting calls for action before it's too late. Steelhead …

Social Issues

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A new survey of community colleges and technical schools in the United States shows their courses and programs that promote job …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021