Time for Camp!

March 19, 2014

We are excited to announce that the Pohlad Family Foundation has awarded CAC a grant to send kids to camp!   If your child has never gone to camp,  we have the funds to get your child there.  Here is what you need to know:

- The scholarship prioritizes first-time campers.  If you have been to camp in the past, we may not be able to fund it.

- Find out if your child is ready for camp!  Ask our staff for the article on Excited Children, Anxious Parents – 20 questions you should ask.  If in the end you decide camp might be a cool idea, contact us here at the Community Action Center at 507-664-3550.

- If you decide that camping sounds fun, our staff will help you choose a camp, get camp supplies and complete the forms.  Camps must be accredited bythe  American Camp Association.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month

November 26, 2013

Imagine …

A high school senior is called on in class but can’t answer the question. He was distracted thinking about where to stay next. Estranged from his family, he has been couch surfing between friends but knows he’s outstaying his welcome. He needs to find a permanent place to live so he can finish out the school year and graduate.

A mother sits at a computer in the library, biting her nails as she contemplates temporarily giving up guardianship of her child. Although they won’t be together, it ensures that he can avoid being homeless.

An eight-year-old attempts to finish her daily math homework, but struggles as her fingers stiffen in the cold. Light is scarce as she sits in the back seat of the car where she and her mom are living, at least for now.

November is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month

Every year, the silent issue of homelessness in Northfield comes to the forefront during the month of November. Here at the Community Action Center, the most common landing spot for those in need of a place to stay, homelessness is something we see every day.

“Housing is expensive and takes a lot of resources,” said Kathy Bjerke, the CAC’s administrative director. “Being able to pay the average rent is out of reach for those making minimum wage. In addition, the amount of low-income housing out there is inadequate. It’s a scary situation.”

Finding housing for low-income families is an ongoing challenge in Rice County. The CAC continues to expand its temporary housing, but faces frequent shortages of available units.

The Breakdown

According to the personal finance guides of the Wall Street Journal, a general rule of thumb is that 30 percent of one’s income should go toward rent or a mortgage payment, with another 3 to 10 percent spent on utilities. That means roughly a third of one’s income should be spent on housing, leaving the other two thirds to cover transportation, food, credit card bills, student loans, clothing and miscellaneous items. What does a monthly budget look like with a minimum wage job? Let’s break it down.

$7.25 per hour

$280 per week

$15,080 per year

$12,064 after taxes (assumes 20% of income is owed for taxes)

$1,005 total income per month

$301 each month to spend on housing and utilities

Sybil Betsinger, the CAC’s housing case manager, said, “A closer look at the numbers and it becomes apparent just how difficult it can be to meet housing payments for low-income families. At the CAC, we do our best to connect people with the resources they need to have a stable and warm place to live.”

For more information about the CAC’s housing services, call 507-664-3550 or email us at info@communityactioncenter.org.

Introducing Northfield WORKS

November 18, 2013

Supporting a person in his or her journey out of poverty is at the core of Northfield WORKS, the CAC’s newest program that serves low-income, underemployed and unemployed individuals in the Northfield area.

Northfield WORKS is a community job partnership program through the CAC in collaboration with area partners and core employers. Bringing together a network of job seekers, business partners, skilled volunteers, and donors and supporters, Northfield WORKS helps people achieve economic independence though sustainable, livable wage employment.

Hear more about Northfield WORKS from our Executive Director Jim Blaha in the Northfield News.

Free Summer Lunch Program

May 23, 2013

The CAC is excited to offer summer lunches to all those 18 and under beginning June 10. Each weekday, all children will be able to have lunch at either Jefferson Square Apartments or Emmaus Church. Lunches will be available from 11:15 – 12:00 at the Jefferson Square Apartments or from 11:30 – 12:15 at Emmaus Church. Lunch will be served weekdays from June 10 – August 30, except for July 4 and 5. No registration is required.

The CAC is working with the USDA and the Northfield School district to provide these free lunches. Volunteers are needed to help with this program. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at info@communityactioncenter.org.

Board Members

April 22, 2013

The CAC is seeking nominations for election to its Board of Directors. You many nominate yourself or someone else by completing an addplication, including a letter addressing the nominee’s skills, background, availability, and interest in serving on the Board. The Board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 a.m.

Applications are available in the “About” – “Board of Directors” section of this website. Completed applications should be sent to Matthew Rich, Grundhoefer and Ludescher, at 515 Water Street South, Northfield.

See previous blog entries »