Wednesday, March 1, 2023 – The White House is hosting a contingent of Minnesota leaders, including MinnCAP Executive Director Bill Grant, today as part of its Communities in Action: Building a Better Minnesota.
Grant will speak on behalf of MinnCAP’s 24 Community Action Agencies. He’ll share accounts of how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has impacted Minnesota families with low incomes.
The emergency funding provided by ARPA kept essential services such as heat and electronic on for thousands of Minnesotans, as well as helped individuals and families with rental assistance.
$167 million has gone toward the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and another $449 million was earmarked for Emergency Rental Assistance. Roughly 153,000 households were assisted through LIHEAP, and more than 105,500 rental assistance payments have been made to date.
The American Rescue Plan also included supplemental funds for Head Start, providing pre-Kindergarten education and family support to keep Minnesotans moving forward despite financial hardships.
Below are several accounts of Minnesotans who were assisted by Community Action Agencies to receive ARPA assistance:
Western Central Minnesota Communities Action
After living in our home for many years, our historically reliable furnace went out. January in Minnesota is not the time you want to wake u to your home being cold. I was nervous about purchasing a new furnace and the financial impact it would have on my family.
I called WCMA and was connected with the energy program. You staff immediately went to work on getting me the information I needed to start the application process. WCMCA acted quickly alongside the HVAC contractors, and within a few days, I had a new furnace installed. I went to bed that night peacefully! The relief we felt was immeasurable, the gratitude overflows my eyes down my face when I think of the impact you had on our family.
A simple thank you does not seem adequate, but it is still the message I want you all to receive. Thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do in our communities. It is important, it is impactful, and it is very much appreciated.
United Communities Action Partnership
During the COVID-19 Pandemic: “Bill” was homeless for over 10 years and ended up in our UCAP service area due to medical needs. Once his stay at the medical facility ended he was back to being homeless. UCAP was able to assist him with getting connected to a subsidized apartment complex and assisted with move in costs.
Bill also was able to get assistance from a partner organization Home to Home for furniture. Due to COVID-19 furniture selection had to be done via Zoom. Brian went to his local UCAP office and staff assisted with doing face time, other staff went around Home to Home and assisted with furniture selection, and a Willmar staff stopped by to assist with loading and securing furniture. Brian thanked staff many times for assistance and noted, “I can’t tell you the last time I had my own bed.”
“Danica” always worked multiple jobs in the service industry. She was an excellent server, so she always made great tips and got by just fine. Then the COVID pandemic hit. Although she received unemployment benefits, she had difficulty making all her payments, and fell behind in rent. UCAP was able to assist with CHAP funding to assist her with catching up on rent and not being afraid of the moratorium ending and being left homeless. After getting her connected and caught up, she was able to afford her housing on her own.
Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership
Last year, Yadira and her two young children were staying at a local homeless shelter in Moorhead, Minnesota. Committed to creating a better life for her children, she got connected to an Early Head Start Home Visitor and a Housing Advocate from CAPLP – Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership.
Yadira was determined to find a home for her and her children. While working with Early Head Start, a position became available as a Teacher Assistant for our Head Start classroom program, and Yadira's home visitor encouraged her to apply for the job. She gathered her confidence and applied. We were lucky enough to hire Yadira and she has been a wonderful asset to our team!
Shortly after being hired, Yadira found a home for her family.