Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC)

Fulfilling our neighbors' basic needs


Hillcrest Village


Our Work

Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC) has long worked to collaboratively alleviate hunger, homelessness, and all forms of poverty that impact families and individuals in our community. CAC believes in immediate response to crisis, but also prioritizes systemic approaches to support long-term change that aligns with CAC’s mission of creating a caring, healthy, and just community for all.

Learn more

Watch our recorded community presentation and Q&A to learn more about the social, environmental, and community aspects of Hillcrest Village!


The Need

Emergency shelter and accessible housing are vital to the fabric of our community.

Full Capacity+

CAC’s four current emergency shelters are full 365 days per year – providing nearly 1,500 nights of shelter to families and neighbors in need.

Families Waiting+

On average, CAC maintains waiting lists of 5–10 households in need of emergency shelter.

Alarmingly Low Vacancy Rate+

With an affordable housing vacancy rate at less than 1%, families struggle to leave CAC’s emergency shelters.

Temporary Solutions+

CAC currently spends thousands of dollars each year on hotel rooms, providing temporary shelter, but never a home.

Rising Costs+

Rice County is the third most expensive housing district in Minnesota, outside of Rochester and the Twin Cities.

Community Solution

Our goal in building Hillcrest Village is to foster a supportive community that helps families and individuals gain the resources needed to move from emergency housing to transitional housing, and finally, to affordable housing, without ever having to leave home.

“How is a child supposed to focus on school when they don’t know where they will sleep at night?”

-Beth Berry, community volunteer

An Innovative Approach

CAC recognizes that climate change will disproportionately affect the same low-income families our organization aims to support. Gaining recognition for it’s innovative process and design, CAC has brought together leaders from the construction and environmental community to design Hillcrest Village as a Zero Energy Ready project that addresses both homelessness and climate change in a shared community effort. It’s the right thing to do, it’s our responsibility, it reduces operating costs, it pays for itself, it’s affordable, and it aligns with CAC’s mission of a just community by bringing housing and environmental justice together.

“I had previously been a bit skeptical about the affordability of constructing such energy efficient homes, but through the process of working with CAC I am changing the way I will build in the future. It is both affordable and responsible.”

-Steven Schmidt, president of Schmidt Homes

Budget and Support

Hillcrest Village is an affordable project that demonstrates how community solutions to housing and climate change are possible, affordable, and achievable. You can support this project by providing a tax deductible contribution that can be paid in full or pledged over three to five years. We invite you to commit to making this a reality as individuals, families, and groups. It’s a great way to make a big impact right here in Northfield.

The Time is Now

You have a chance to make a safe and welcoming home a reality for a family in our community. The need for support is now. A pledge and commitment today will help put a shovel in the ground in summer of 2021. Your impact will multiply over decades as families navigate through the supportive community of Hillcrest Village. COVID-19 has exacerbated the effects of homelessness and highlighted the lack of access to affordable housing. Now is the time for us to take action and provide smart and strategic solutions that invest in today and generations to come. Be part of community action for the good of families, our community, and our environment.

Giving Support

To bring this ambitious project to fruition, it will be necessary to have the support of those who know that sharing our resources with others is what makes a true and just community.

Providing vital emergency shelter to our neighbors through the use of innovative and sustainable building practices is a gift that will last for generations to come.

“CAC’s ability to meet the immediate needs in our community is inspiring. I am honored to help support a sustainable housing project that uses systemic solutions to meet our community needs for the long term.”

-Diana Abbott, community volunteer

How to Give

  • In Person
    Drop off a check at CAC’s Welcome Center, located at 1651 Jefferson Parkway in Northfield.
    *Please note Hillcrest Village on the check’s memo line.
  • By Mail
    Mail your donation to:
    Community Action Center
    1651 Jefferson Parkway
    Suite HS-200

    Northfield, MN 55057
    *Please note Hillcrest Village on the check’s memo line.
  • Online
    Fill out the the donor form on the right to make a donation online.
  • Over 3-5 years
    If you are interested in making a contribution to Hillcrest Village over the span of up to five years, please follow the link below to fill out our online pledge card.
Online Pledge Form >>
  • Other ways to give
    Donate shares stock, give from a Donor Advised Fund, enroll in an electronic fund transfer, or consider the gift of an estate or IRA distribution.

For more information on how you can help support Hillcrest Village, please contact CAC Executive Director Scott Wopata at (507) 664-3555 or email at