The Community Action Center offers housing assistance that includes utility shut-off and eviction prevention, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing.
The Community Action Center helps people facing a utility shut-off with referrals to energy assistance (administered by Three Rivers Community Action), Heat Share (a program of The Salvation Army) or emergency assistance (through Rice County Social Services). The Community Action Center may provide an interest-free loan or a small grant from another funding source for utility payments.
When a family or individual faces eviction, the Community Action Center offers referrals to Rice County Social Services, Three Rivers Community Action or other area agencies. The Community Action Center may also provide an interest-free loan up to a maximum of $300. Because funding is limited, requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
With support from the Minnesota Office of Economic Opportunity, the Community Action Center operates the only homeless shelter in Rice County. We place one family or individual at a time in an apartment where they may stay for up to 14 days. The Community Action Center provides food, local phone service and support with housing search. Individuals or families who present high risk factors (particularly for substance abuse, violence or other illegal activity) may be ineligible for placement in the Community Action Center’s shelter. Because of increasing demand, priority is given to families with children.
The Community Action Center may also provide emergency shelter in motels for one to three nights. Such stays are typically reserved for households whose health or safety requires it (often in cold weather months or when domestic abuse is a consideration). After regular business hours, the Community Action Center cooperates with local police and area churches in serving people stranded in the Northfield area who need temporary shelter at a local motel.
Transitional Housing with Support Services
Through a partnership with Three Rivers Community Action, the Community Action Center operates two transitional housing units for homeless individuals and families. Households pay 30 percent of their income toward rent and may live in the units for up to 24 months. Households participate in case management with a social worker and work to achieve their goals. The main goals of the program are to secure permanent, affordable housing and family stabilization. No openings in this program are expected until 2015.