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BLOG: Working Together

Working Together: The Community Action BLOG


Deadline to apply for P-EBT benefits has been extended to July 31, 2020. Program has also added an additional $100 benefit per child and has been expanded to include eligible Pre-K children ages 3 and 4.

Community Action's Community Engagement programs adopt virtual strategies and tools to serve low-income households during COVID-19 pandemic

Energy Assistance applications for the extended 2019-2020 heating season are due by tomorrow, July 1, 2020.

Community Action Head Start / Early Head Start’s Food Distribution that was recently featured in the newsletter of the National Child and Adult Food Care Program (CAFCP) Association.

The deadline to apply for P-EBT benefits is next Tuesday, June 30, 2020. So if you, or someone that you know has children (aged 5 to 18 as of September 1, 2019) that were: 1) receiving free or reduced-priced lunches during the 2019-2020 school year, 2) were enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision School, or 3) access food through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), please visit the Code for America website to apply.

The P-EBT program provides a one-time benefit of $325 per eligible child to help meet the nutritional needs of children during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The DHS also reminds Minnesota families that “applying for P-EBT does not affect enrollment in any other program.”

Normal food distribution will continue today, June 23 as well as next Tuesday, June 30 (from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm), at both McDonough HS (1544 Timberlake Road) and Battle Creek HS (2181 Suburban Avenue).

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is reminding Minnesotans that their call center remains open during the current COVID-19 crisis and “is ready to assist taxpayers with questions about their individual tax returns.”

Community Action has also added a Car Repair Grant option to reduce the cost burden of transportation by assisting those in need of general automobile maintenance or repairs. This initiative provides a one-time grant of up to $750 per household. 

We are pleased to announce that we are partnering with the City of Shoreview to provide additional affordable housing units in Ramsey County.

Yet there are other ways that we can still help each other. A May 23rd story by philanthropy reporter Kelly Smith in the Star Tribune, illustrates how local nonprofits have reimagined volunteerism during the era of Stay At Home MN and more recently Stay Safe MN.

The July 15, 2020, tax filing deadline is now exactly 30 days away. And, The July 15, 2020, tax filing deadline is now exactly 30 days away. And, while most VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) clinics remained closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, free tax filing is still available to households earning $69,000 or less during the 2019 tax year via Free File on your smart phone, tablet, or computer.

The weekly events held at both McDonough HS (1544 Timberlake Road) and Battle Creek HS (2181 Suburban Avenue) will continue to run through the next three Tuesdays (June 16, 23, 30 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm), while the University HS distribution will take place tomorrow June 16 at The Journey School (775 Lexington Parkway North).

Tina Smith delivered the first of several addresses on the Senate floor yesterday in honor of our fellow citizen, George Floyd, and in support of Minnesotans and millions of more through our nation and the world demanding transformative change to the structures that continue to foster and exacerbate racism, inequity, and injustice our world.

Due to the damage that occurred to our headquarters at the Community Action Resource Center during the last week of May, the University Head Start food distribution event was moved to Wednesday, June 3. Collectively, these efforts provided more than 3,200 meals to Head Start children and their families. 

There are a couple of new updates that we are pleased to share from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).

Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties is pleased to announce that our Community Engagement Department will be offering Money Smart workshops in June and July.

This past Wednesday, in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers and the worldwide protests that followed, CNN published a feature titled “US black-white inequality in 6 start charts.” 

Ramsey County has established a Food Resources webpage at ramseycounty.us. The dedicated webpage is designed to help residents in locating free meals and food assistance programs throughout the county.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) are in the process of issuing P-EBT food benefits to eligible Minnesota families with school-age children. According to the DHS, there are two primary categories of eligibility to receive P-EBT benefits.

Due to the damage at our St. Paul headquarters (450 Syndicate Street North), we were forced to suspend delivery of our meal kit boxes provided by our agency partner, The Food Group. The Food Group is holding those donations so that we may deliver them this week.

Although the Twin Cities have long ranked at or near the top for many quality of life indicators when compared to other major metro areas and all 50 states, our communities also suffer from some of the widest black/white gaps in the nation when it comes to employment, education, housing, and healthcare.

Following last week’s announcement from the US Department of the Treasury that as many as four million Americans will now receive their Economic Impact Payment (EIP) via prepaid debit card, the IRS is following up to let recipients know that these cards will arrive via US Mail in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

Last Tuesday our efforts provided more than 4,100 meals to 345 Head Start children. And, in addition to food and educational materials, Head Start staff passed out a multitude of essential home care items to families including toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner, feminine hygiene products, as well as additional food items donated by a local food shelf.

As the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has increased crisis funding and extended the current heating season to July 2, 2020, enabling even more Minnesota families to apply for assistance.

In the May 6, 2020, installment we discussed the USDA’s recent approval to allow the State of Minnesota’s SNAP recipients to use their EBT cards to buy groceries online and have them delivered directly to their homes . . . The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is pleased to announce that these services are scheduled to go online starting next week at two statewide retailers: Amazon (May 27) and Walmart (May 28).

In order to more efficiently and securely expedite stimulus payments to eligible Americans, the IRS and the US Department of the Treasury will begin to issue approximately 4 million Economic Impact Payments (EIP) via pre-paid debit cards.

As the IRS continues to process and disburse Economic Impact Payments to eligible Americans as part of the CARES Act, it announced yesterday that they are adding as many as 3,500 telephone representatives to answer basic questions about these stimulus payments.  

Beginning in March, in order to meet the nutritional needs of our Head Start children, Community Action set up food distribution sites at three of its Head Start Centers in St. Paul.

Locally, in response to the array of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Action has adopted new approaches and innovative tools to serve the critical needs of low-income individuals and families. And yet, there will undoubtedly be more hurdles ahead as we attempt to navigate the unpredictable and turbulent waters of these unprecedented times.

Recent data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey highlights the substantial technological disparities that currently exist between Minnesota households earning less than $35,000 per year as compared to those making more money.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, as the nation witnessed historic lows in unemployment, African American and Native American workers were more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white individuals. In Minnesota, those disparities were even more pronounced and have been further exacerbated by the current crisis.

The impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has already wrought on the United States economy—with the possible exception of the Great Depression—is unprecedented.

The IRS has set the deadline for Americans to enter their direct deposit information for this Wednesday, May 13, 2020, by 12:00 pm Eastern Time.

This past month Governor Tim Walz established the Community Resiliency and Recovery Work Group, to be co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero.

Tomorrow, May 8, 2020, will conclude #GiveAtHomeMN Week, a virtual fundraising initiative established by our friends at GiveMN.org to rally around and support the Minnesota’s nonprofit community, our schools, and the residents that they dutifully serve year-round.

The USDA has approved Minnesota’s request to allow the state’s SNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy groceries online and have them delivered to their homes. This is a significant step in helping nearly 400,000 more Minnesota residents reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Today, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, is National Teacher’s Day. So, in honor of our Head Start/Early Head Start teachers, staff, and volunteers who continue to serve more than 1,200 children and their families during the COVID-19 crisis through innovative tools and strategies—We say Happy Teacher’s Day and thank you for all that you do!

May 1 through May 8, 2020 is #GiveAtHomeMN Week, a virtual fundraising event designed by GiveMN.org to support Minnesota nonprofit agencies, schools, and all those that they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May is National Community Action Month, which is designed to highlight the stories, successes, and indelible impact of the Community Action Movement.

A mother of two, Nalie shares with her young children the importance of giving back, and together, the three of them have volunteered to put summertime learning kits together for Head Start students. “I want my kids to see the positive impact they can make in the world."

On February 24, 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security updated the “public charge” rule, a change that directly affects immigrants applying for either visas or green cards from within the country. This is a complicated rule and can potentially affect the immigration status of those that use government programs . . .

As part of its recent initiative, the “Plus $500 Push,” the IRS has announced that those individuals receiving Veteran’s benefits (VA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and who did not file a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019, have until next Tuesday, May 5, 2020, to register their qualifying children (defined as a dependent under the age of 17 with a social security number) for an additional $500 (per child) to be added to their Economic Impact Payment. 

The Minnesota Children’s Cabinet has created a comprehensive resource guide for questions, contacts information, and support in several critical areas that include: health coverage, housing, economic assistance, childcare, mental health needs, food supports, utilities, worker protections, support for college students, small business support, as well as additional family supports and resources related to COVID-19.

In order to clear up any confusion as to who should use the Non-Filers portal to ensure that they receive their Economic Impact Payment, the IRIS has provided information on who should use it. 

Recent news reports indicate there is still confusion over who is entitled to an Economic Impact Payment. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disbursed funds to 80 million people through direct deposits. Still, tens of millions more eligible Americans have yet to receive their money.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection is reminding all Americans how to identify and report phishing and other scams related to your Economic Impact Payment. According to the FTC the following guidelines will help you to avoid becoming the victim of fraud

The IRS announced that there is a limited window for those who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI),  Social Security (SSA), and Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB) who did NOT file a tax return in either 2018 or 2019 to register their dependent children so that they may receive the full amount of their Economic Impact Payments.

Millions of people are now receiving their Economic Impact Payments from the federal government. For most Americans, no further action is required. Still, there is a great deal of misinformation that is being spread online via social media and word of mouth.

Kathleen, like many seniors, faces many financial obstacles. Community Action's Energy Assistance program makes sure staying safe and warm is not one of them.

Our Impact This Year

  • People Who Received Energy Assistance

    55,886

  • Children Enrolled in Head Start & Early Head Start

    1,422

  • Low-Income People Registered to Vote

    1,320

  • Volunteer Hours

    31,317

© 2020 Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties

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