Working Together: The Community Action BLOG
Earlier this week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended its current universal free lunch policy through this school year as well as for the entirety of the coming school year . . .
This week (April 18 – 24) is National Volunteer Week. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is an “opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges . . .
The 2021 heating season has been extended and the new deadline to submit applications to Community Action’s Energy Assistance Program is now September 1, 2021 . . .
Throughout the month of April, Ramsey County, in partnership with the City of Saint Paul, has been offering both in-person and virtual healing circles . . .
A week ago today, CDC director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, released an official statement that declared racism “a serious public health threat" . . .
Initial data from both the St. Paul and Stockton pilots reveals that these programs are working to put the extra $500 per month to good use buying groceries, paying bills on time, paying down debt . . .
Food insecurity remains a precarious issue in the State of Minnesota, experts predict that the current hunger crisis will continue through at least the end of 2021 . . .
Yesterday, US Representative Betty McCollum announced that the American Rescue Plan will infuse just over a half-billion dollars into Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District . . .
Beginning next Wednesday, April 14, 2021, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights will temporarily transition into a federally supported COVID-19 vaccination site . . .
As more and more Minnesotans become fully vaccinated, the number of COVID-19 cases has been steadily rising in our state and others. It is critical that we continue to wear protective masks, maintain social distancing . . .
Beginning today, March 31, through the end of the week, Community Action’s Head Start Health Team will host five more COVID-19 vaccination education events on the Zoom platform . . .
Beginning today, March 30, 2021, all Minnesotans ages 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Nevertheless, as the Star Tribune reports, there is “still not enough vaccine to meet demand . . .
According to Consumer Reports, Minnesotans that have excellent driving records but poor credit scores, are likely to pay and estimated $1,000 per year more in car insurance . . .
In response to the tragedy in Atlanta and the larger trend of AAPI hate, including several recent incidents in the Twin Cities and outstate Minnesota, local activists led primarily by young people, are standing up to this hate . . .
Tomorrow afternoon, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties will conclude its free, four-part webinar series Social & Emotional Well-Being, with “Stress and the Body" . . .
This coming Sunday, March 21, 2021, members of the local business community and neighborhood residents will gather for the Midway-Frogtown University Avenue Cleanup event . . .
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has started sending out the third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP3s) based on tax returns from either 2019 or 2020 . . .
Next week, Community Action’s original four-part webinar series, “Social & Emotional Wellness,” will conclude with the presentation of “Stress and the Body" . . .
Yesterday, President Biden officially signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, this sweeping legislation, totaling $1.9 trillion, will provide direct financial assistance and protections to millions of Americans . . .
This week Community Action’s Head Start Health Team will host three COVID-19 vaccination education events on the Zoom platform, including one in Española / Spanish (on Wednesday, March 10) and one in Hmoob / Hmong (on Thursday, March 11), while the Friday, March 12, event will be presented in English. Additional vaccination events, including meetings in Oromo and Somali are in the planning stages (more information to follow).
Tomorrow, Community Action hosts the third webinar in our four-part series on Social & Emotional Well-Being. This installment titled, “Community Violence and Trauma,” is presented by Jimmie Heags, Jr. . . .
With sharp increase in gas prices, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has made the decision to raise its annual energy assistance crisis benefit from $600 to $1,200, per eligible household . . .
The COVID-19 Assistance Relief for Homeownership Program (CARH), is funded through the Community Development Block Grant as part of the federal CARES Act . . .
Next Tuesday (March 9), Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties will hold the next offering in its webinar series, Social & Emotional Well-Being . . .
Many historians, activists, and educators have long advocated that we neither reduce black history, nor the history of other communities of color in this nation, to mere month-long festivities . . .
In an effort to streamline future efforts to more efficiently and effectively distribute the vaccine to everyone, the Minnesota COVID-19 Response Initiative has created the “Vaccine Connector" . . .
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a vital campaign designed “to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their parents and caregivers, teachers and many others . . .
This free virtual event hosted by Brandon Jones will explore the link between historical, cross-generational, and race-based trauma experienced in the African American community . . .
Starting March 8, 2021, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties will again offer its Manufacturing Skills Course . . .
Last November, The City of St. Paul became the second of only two US municipalities (the other being Stockton, California) to implement a guaranteed income program targeted at low-income residents . . .
Nationally renowned education experts, Idara Essien, PhD and J. Luke Wood, PhD, are inviting the parents and guardians of Black children currently in kindergarten through the third grade to participate in a nationwide study . . .
This certification by the USDA means that more than 315,000 Minnesota school-aged children will automatically receive additional nutrition assistance dollars beginning in late March and extending through the month of July . . .
Presented by Brandon Jones (MA), this free virtual event will explore the link between historical, cross-generational, and race-based trauma experienced by the African American community . . .
The purpose of the Health Café is to engage early education and childcare professionals, parents, caregivers, and the larger community on critical health issues that, in particular, affect low-income households and members of BIPOC . . .
Every year, Hunger Solutions MN hosts Hunger Day on the Hill brings together members of our community dedicated to ending hunger in Minnesota . . .
There has been a myriad of recent news stories reporting African Americans and other communities of color are only receiving the vaccine at around half the rate of white Americans . . .
Last Friday, the new administration announced that P-EBT benefits for this year will increase by approximately 15 percent, which will up the total benefit to roughly $135 per eligible child, per month . . .
After the initial phase of this program was completed, Governor Walz announced that an additional allocation of 15,000 vaccines had been reserved for area teachers . . .
Community Action’s four-part Social & Emotional Well-Being Webinar Series features experts in the mental health industry, who will provide vital health/wellness tools and strategies to the communities we serve . . .
Today is EITC Awareness Day, a national effort to increase the number of low- to moderate-income American households that claim the EITC on their federal tax returns . . .
The Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinic will launch for the 2021 tax season very soon . . .
As more and more Minnesotans receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the number of daily coronavirus cases is gradually trending downward, the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Response Team warns that we are not out of the woods yet . . .
Although the new presidential administration has announced its intention to extend that increase yet another three months, the USDA notes that the current level of “SNAP benefits are inadequate for most participants" . . .
Next Friday, January 29, 2021, marks the 16th Annual EITC Awareness Day, a collective outreach effort by the IRS to increase the number of eligible American households that claim the EITC . . .
Yesterday, as one of 15 Executive Orders signed, President Biden extended the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) original federal moratorium on evictions by two months through March 31, 2021 . . .
In presenting this four-part series, we will partner with experts in the mental health industry to provide the communities we serve with vital health and wellness tools and strategies . . .
President-elect Joe Biden has shared his proposal for another coronavirus relief bill known as the American Rescue Plan, which addresses a number of the critical issues that Community Action's Working Together blog has highlighted in recent weeks.
Although the bill extended the federal eviction moratorium through January 31, the state’s moratorium on evictions officially ended yesterday, putting thousands of families at risk of being forced from their homes during a pandemic . . .
The United States Congress has temporarily increased the maximum benefit for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) . . .
Refugee Resettlement Network recently established a new telephone hotline to provide COVID-19 related assistance and information regarding other important resources to immigrant and refugee communities . . .
Unlike the CARES Act passed in March of 2020, the latest relief package set forth from Congress, does not include a provision for mortgage forbearance to homeowners . . .
Governor Tim Walz has declared January 2021 to be Health Care Month, this proclamation underscores the “dynamic and robust” impact that the healthcare industry—the largest job sector in Minnesota . . .
In addition to a second round of stimulus checks, one of the most important provisions in the latest coronavirus relief bill is $25 billion in rental/utility assistance and a one-month extension to the present federal eviction moratorium . . .
Some have already seen the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) hit their bank accounts over the past few days, while the rest of eligible Americans should receive their stimulus payments sometime in January . . .
The Community Engagement Department, while adapting to a new shelter-in-place and social distancing culture, continued to provide direct services and case management support to participants across multiple program areas . . .
Beginning in May, Energy Conservation staff were able to participate in comprehensive training and planning sessions which helped to establish virtual/remote audit processes . . .
As the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic in March, our Energy Assistance Program quickly adapted to the new reality, taking advantage of the extended heating season to approve nearly 17,000 primary heating grants . . .
To end the year, Community Action’s “Working Together” Blog will highlight the accomplishments of our four program areas during 2020. Today, we begin with Head Start / Early Head Start . . .
The current administration is asking Congress to increase the amount of EIPs to Americans, which, for the moment, is holding up the bill’s signing . . .
Community Action will frequently post details (here on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter) about how to claim (if required) and receive your stimulus payment as soon as possible (once that information is available) . . .
There has been a lot of discussion on how remote learning has negatively impacted the social, emotional, and academic development of students, particularly among low-income and children of color . . .
Early on during the coronavirus pandemic, a report from Feeding America forecasted that food insecurity could increase nearly 50 percent in 2020 . . .
Earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans to refrain from travel during the rest of the holiday season, noting that “the safest thing to do” is stay home . . .
Among the benefits included in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act passed in late March, was mortgage forbearance for homeowners that have experienced a financial hardship “directly or indirectly” related to the coronavirus pandemic . . .
With the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the first coronavirus vaccines expected any day now, Governor Tim Walz and state health officials detailed Minnesota’s initial plan for vaccine distribution Tuesday . . .
We have no universal health care. No universal childcare. No universal social insurance entitlement. No guaranteed basic income. No paid parental leave or illness leave . . .
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLICH) annual 2020 Out of Reach report demonstrates again, the significant need for fair, affordable, and high quality housing throughout the United States, including in Minnesota.
As with Thanksgiving, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising Americans not to travel for the remainder of the holiday season. According to the CDC’s Dr. Cindy Friedman, “The safest thing to do is to postpone holiday travel and stay home. Travel volume was high over Thanksgiving, and even if small numbers were infected, that could result in hundreds of thousands of new infections.”
The deadline to apply for support funds from the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) is this coming Monday, December 7, 2020. If you choose to apply online, your application must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Monday. Paper applications submitted via US Mail must be postmarked by December 7.
Our state has recorded several number one rankings of late. It's no surprise as US News and World Report ranks our state as the “Most Charitable” in the nation . . .
A bipartisan group of legislators has established a new social media campaign titled #TakeThePlegeMN, which “asks Minnesotans to pledge to wear masks in public spaces, maintain social distancing in public, stay home if they are sick or exposed to the virus and limit the size of gatherings during the holidays.”
Just days before the Thanksgiving Holiday, food insecurity continues to rise dramatically in the United States. Eight months after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, millions of American households are seeking assistance from food banks, many for the first time.
The deadline for the thousands of eligible Americans (generally not required to file a tax return) to still claim their Economic Impact Payment (EIP) in 2020, is tomorrow, November 21.
As great as the needs are for Minnesota’s schools and nonprofit agencies, those needs have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for those that primarily serve BIPOC populations . . .
Give to the Max Day is tomorrow, November 19, 2020. An initiative of GiveMN, Give to the Max Day raises millions of dollars each year to support schools and nonprofit agencies across the state . . .
Tomorrow is the final day to pre-order free Thanksgiving meals from Neighborhood House . . .
The Minnesota Department of Health will expand its COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contract Tracing protocols to send text messages to Minnesotans informing them that the MDH will soon be calling them . . .
During the first six-months of the coronavirus pandemic, SNAP enrollment in Minnesota increased by nearly 20 percent, almost doubling state expenditures to upwards of $77 million per month . . .
Thanksgiving is two weeks from today and Neighborhood House will be providing free, fully-cooked takeout meals on Thanksgiving Day . . .
State officials continue to ask Minnesotans to wear their protective masks in public, practice social distancing (six feet), and avoid large gatherings (whether indoors or outdoors) . . .
We are nearly six weeks into the 2021 Heating Season and Community Action is accepting for its Energy Assistance Program . . .
Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties is still seeking virtual volunteers to assist in our 2021 VITA Tax Clinic . . .
If you have yet to submit a completed absentee ballot, you still have until 3:00 pm CST to deliver it in-person to your county elections office. You also have the right to register and vote in-person today at your local polling place between the hours of 7:00 am and 8:00 pm . . .
It is too late to submit your absentee ballot by mail, so you must either deliver it today (November 2, 2020) in-person to a designated drop box in the county where you’re registered to vote or at your county election office on election day (November 3, 2020) . . .
Voting by absentee ballot and voting early in the 2020 general election mean the same thing and one of the safest and most secure ways to cast your vote is to drop off your ballot at one of many drop box locations in your county . . .
USA Today's six-part series documents how this nation’s history of discriminatory policies and practices have negatively impacted BIPOC populations . . .
For the past several presidential elections Minnesota has led the nation in voter participation, and nothing is likely to change in 2020 . . .
Some Minnesota residents are eligible to vote early or on election day through a method known as “Agent Delivery" . . .
A full seven months since Governor Tim Walz first declared a peacetime emergency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity continues to increase . . .
The 2021 Energy Assistance Program Heating Season kicked off on October 1, 2020. Energy Assistance applications were mailed to 2020 approved households beginning in August . . .
Ramsey County’s COVID-19 RECERT (Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team) announces the “A Mask for Everyone" initiative . . .
For more information on how to request your absentee ballot, complete your ballot, submit your ballot, track your ballot, or vote safely on election day, please visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website.
Local government manages a lot of different things—and their decisions directly affect your life. Think schools, policing, affordable housing, public transit…
Community Action Partnership of Ramsey County still has crisis dollars available to support residents in our service area who have suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic . . .
Food insecurity continues to be a concern for many Minnesota households during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 100,000 new SNAP applications submitted since late March of this year . . .
The Internal Revenue Service has once again extended the deadline for eligible Americans to claim their Economic Impact Payment as part of the CARES Act . . .
Volunteerism is critical to Community Action’s ability to achieve its mission to reduce poverty and its impact on people’s lives. Last year, for example, Community Action benefitted from more than 33,000 volunteer hours . . .
Community Actions is accepting applications for volunteers to assist in the operation of our VITA Tax Clinic (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) . . .
The 2020 general election is now just 33 days away. If you are not registered to vote, there is still time. The Elections and Voting page at the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website presents information on how to register online, on paper, or on Election Day . . . .
Ramsey County’s Free COVID-19 Testing will go ahead at testing site events both today (October 1) and this Saturday (October 3) at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood (1850 White Bear Avenue) . . .
According to a number of experts, the decision to extend census taking through the end of October is critical to the representation of rural areas, immigrant populations, and BIPOC communities, which are historically at increased risk of being undercounted . . .
Since 1971, Prepare + Prosper has helped low- to moderate-income Minnesotans “build financial well-being through free tax preparation and financial services, products and coaching, and by changing systems to create economic opportunity" . . .
All this week, Working Together has focused on the multiple early voting options available to Minnesota residents in the upcoming 2020 General Election (Tuesday, November 3) . . .
All this week, the Working Together blog has featured the various methods that Minnesotans can use to vote early in the 2020 general election, including in-person, by mail, and through “Agent Delivery”. There are also absentee ballot options for active military personnel and Minnesotans currently living outside of the United States . . .
Another way that some Minnesotans, who find themselves in unique circumstances, can vote both early or on election day is known as “Agent Delivery.”
Early voting has started. In Minnesota, all voters have the option vote by mail. And, unlike several other states, you do not need to provide a reason to vote early in our state . . .
Each Minnesota county has at least one location for early in-person voting, however many counties have multiple locations . . .
For the next forty-six days (September 18 to November 2) registered voters in Minnesota can vote ahead the November 3, 2020 national election in one of several ways . . .
Bike riding, along with many other modes of outdoor recreation, can be vital to the mental, emotional, and physical health of people of all ages . . .
"Welcoming Week” is designed “to celebrate and affirm the importance of inclusivity and connections for immigrants, refugees and long-term residents" . . .
Sometime around the 24th of this month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will start to mail letters to approximately nine million Americans that haven’t filed a tax return on either 2018 or 2019, but who still may be eligible for an Economic Impact Payment . . .
Minnesota continues to lead all 50 states in our response rate to the 2020 Census as more than three-quarters of all our households have successfully completed their questionnaire, already exceeding our state’s response rate from 2010. But, there is still more work to be done.
Any family that provided an email address on their original application have been notified via email and have until this coming Monday, September 14, 2020, to submit their appeal. Those families (both with public or private school children) who were denied and that did not provide an email address in their P-EBT application will be notified by mail and have until next Friday, September 18, 2020, to make their appeal.
The extension of these free meal services by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which were originally set to expire this week, will help to meet the nutritional needs of nearly 30 million of low-income preschool and school age children . . .
Consider the story of Anthony Taylor, who in 1999 co-founded the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota, whose mission seeks to get more and more African Americans interested in riding . . .
This past weekend Governor Tim Walz announced that our state has received federal approval to add $300 in weekly unemployment benefits to eligible Minnesotans as part of the Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA) . . .
Among the reasons that Black Americans and other people of color are at increased risk of exposure and dying from COVID-19 at rates nearly 2½ times that of whites is due to their disproportionate representation in employment sectors that don’t enable them the luxury to work remotely during the pandemic . . .
Although withholding during this time remains voluntary, unemployment beneficiaries are able to “choose a flat 10 percent withheld from their benefits to cover part or all of their tax liability" . . .
Beginning in September, the catch-up payments will be issued as paper checks “to any eligible spouse who submitted Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation), along with their 2019 federal income tax return, or in some cases, their 2018 return) . . .
There is another Free Food Distribution Event, taking place tomorrow, August 28, at Allianz Field, 400 Snelling Avenue North, St. Paul . . .
Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of federal legislators submitted a letter to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking them to take immediate action to stem this tide . . .
The authors of the NBER report note that during just the first two months of pandemic, unemployment rates for women far exceeded those of men . . .
More than 27,000 Minnesota households due for SNAP recertification have been mailed packets this month that include: a six-month report form and/or combined application form . . .
A new report published by Northwestern University economist Diane Schanzenbach reveals that food insecurity among seniors has increased by approximately 60 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began . . .
The deadline to register for eligible adults to register their dependents passed in May, but the IRS is now encouraging those households that missed the originally deadline to use the non-filers portal, from now through September 30 . . .
A Pew Research Center Poll that reveals one-half of all Americans fear that they will face difficulties voting in the upcoming November 3, 2020, general election, now a mere 81 days away . . .
As congress stalls on the next stimulus bill, there are still many emergency services available to Minnesotans that address critical issues during this pandemic such as economic assistance, childcare, healthcare, housing, and food support . . .
Before polls even opened for the 2020 Minnesota Primary yesterday, the number of absentee ballots received had already exceeded the total number of votes cast (in-person, absentee, etc.) during the 2016 Minnesota Primary by more than 200,000 . . .
A study just published by The Commonwealth Fund reports that, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have suffered significantly higher mental health consequences and economic stress than residents of other “high income” western nations . . .
The new unemployment numbers, coupled with the July 31 expiration of the additional $600 unemployment benefit (first established by the CARES Act), means that millions of American households continue to suffer needlessly as the House and Senate negotiate the terms of a new stimulus relief package.
The 2020 Minnesota Primary is just five days away, and, moreover, the 2020 general election is now only 90 days away . . . Still, there is also another way to vote for those who find themselves in unique circumstances, which is known as “Agent Delivery.”
In Monday’s “Working Together” blog we reported that census takers will soon begin to knock on the doors of households that have yet to submit their completed forms for the 2020 Census . . . since then, however, the US Census Bureau has moved the deadline up one month to September 30, 2020.
Starting this Thursday (August 6) in the Twin Cities, and next Tuesday (August 11) throughout the state, federal census takers will begin the process of knocking on doors to complete census counts in Minnesota (and across the nation).
Thousands of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) households in Minnesota will need to reapply for their benefits before they are set to expire on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
On Monday, July 20, 2020, the Minnesota Head Start Association helped coordinate a virtual meeting with staffers from the offices of Senator Tina Smith and Representatives Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, Angie Craig, and Dean Phillips.
Project Restore MN, is a “youth founded and youth-led private-non-profit social enterprise whose mission is providing various services to African Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) organizations, communities, and youth across Minnesota.”
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is reminding Minnesota residents that this coming Friday, July 31, 2020, is the final day to apply for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits . . .
This statement further echoes a slew of studies that historically detail how housing covenants, institutional redlining, predatory lending, and other dubious housing policies and practices have continued to foster rampant racial disparities such as those in the Twin Cities where black-white gaps in housing, employment, education, and healthcare are among the worst in the nation.
Patterns of segregation that have resulted in high poverty neighborhoods (including ACPs and ACP50s) that we see today “have deep roots in racially restrictive covenants and redlining, which dictated who could live where and who could buy housing, affecting patterns of education and generational wealth.”
Writing for MinnPost, data specialist Greta Kaul explains that these ACP census tracts fall into four different categories: Newly Poor, Deepening Poverty, Persistent Poverty, and Turning Around/Leaving Poverty.
A recent MinnPost article by staff writer and data specialist Greta Kaul reveals that over the past four decades, the number of Twin Cities’ neighborhoods classified as Areas of Concentrated Poverty (ACP) has more than doubled . . .
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, our communities have adopted a number of strategies to make sure that people are fed . . .
Starting this month, census takers will begin to visit households that have yet to respond to Census 2020 to ensure that everyone in every home in America “is counted.”
The Census provides detailed data on the US population—the world’s third largest—that is used to distribute political power and direct nearly $1 trillion in federal spending.
The P-EBT program began as a one-time $325 (per child) food benefit “available to Minnesota families with children (ages 5 to 18) who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open.” Recently, the DHS and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) extended the P-EBT application deadline to July 31 . . .
At this time, we want to remind everyone that Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties maintains a dedicated webpage that provides comprehensive resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Community Action Head Start/Early Head Start’s Summer Food Distributions events have concluded, families that utilized the sites at our McDonough and Battle Creek Head Start Centers have been referred to other available locations to help meet the nutritional needs of their children . . .
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.
Because low-income families are more vulnerable than ever in these unprecedented times, it's more vital than ever that Community Action finds innovative ways to continue to provide our programs and services even in the age of social distancing.
The 40th president of the United States, the late Ronald Reagan, once famously said, “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” That’s a wonderful sentiment and one that I suppose many, regardless of their political leanings, would likely get behind...
Among the most common talking points during this current election season is the need to remedy the rampant economic inequality that continues to plague our country. Just last fall, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Community Survey revealed that America’s wealth gap was now wider than it has been at any point since 1969...
When it comes to the subject of health care, a common refrain from American families nowadays is, “Every year we pay more and more for insurance and yet somehow receive less in terms of coverage and benefits..."
This special installment of The Anti-Poverty Solider features an interview with it’s author with Dr. Clarence Hightower conducted by Minnesota Spokeman-Recorder contributing writer Dwight Hobbes.
n 2015 the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment published a ground-breaking study on the phenomenon of “urban heat islands” in the Minneapolis – St. Paul metropolitan area. The findings of this research revealed that temperatures in some local neighborhoods can rise significantly higher than others during the summer months. In fact, during the historic Upper Midwest heat wave in July of 2012, temperature differentials were nearly 10 degrees higher in certain areas of the Twin Cities as compared to others...
Just this last December, thousands of people in dozens of cities across the globe gathered together for the “World’s Big Sleep Out.” The participants of this event purposely slept outside in the cold in an attempt to increase the amount of attention that societies pay to the crisis of homelessness...
As I recently reflected on some of the topics this column covered in the past year, I was immediately reminded of the flagrant discrimination and disparities that persist around housing both here in the Twin Cities and throughout the rest of America...
Earlier this year the federal government bandied about a proposal that would, in effect, lower the federal poverty threshold. According to both the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP), these suggested changes to how we measure poverty in this nation would have “endangered millions” of people...
In the essay, “Fifth Avenue, Uptown”—which depicts everyday life in Civil Rights era Harlem, a full four years prior to the riot that engulfed New York City’s “Black mecca” in July of 1964—Baldwin famously wrote that “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor" . . .
Starting back in 2015, 24/7 Wall Street, an online financial news organization, began publishing an annual study that identified “the worst states for Black Americans” to live. For three consecutive years Minnesota finished second only to Wisconsin for this particularly unflattering distinction . . .
In the summer of 2017, I used this column to embark on a six-part series inspired by a single quote. That quote came from noted historian Rutger C. Bregman, who, during a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk declared, “Poverty isn’t a lack of character. It’s a lack of cash.”
Forty-six years ago this month, an oil embargo targeting the United States resulted in what is today remembered as the 1973 Oil Crisis.
In August of this year, The New York Times launched “The 1619 Project” marking the fourth centennial since the first documented slaves were captured and brought from modern-day Angola . . .
In response to the Supreme Court’s 1954 landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education—which partially overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and outlawed segregation in public schools . . .
As a native of the Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois (birthplace of Miles Davis), I remember the City of St. Louis as being essentially a stone’s throw away from my childhood home.
On the heels of the previous Anti-Poverty Soldier column (August 15-21) — which highlighted the work of two Stanford University professors who revealed that America’s income and wealth disparities are only getting worse . . .
There has been a lot of talk these past couple years of America’s booming economy.
In the spring of 2018, a Minnesota man made quite a splash when he testified before State representatives that — in spite of being a millionaire — he was able to secure benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for well over a year.
On more than one occasion I’ve used this space to criticize the nation’s Federal Poverty Guidelines, which for all intents and purposes have essentially remained unchanged since they were established 55 years ago . . .
On the heels of the most recent “Anti-Poverty Soldier” piece (June 20, 2019) — about a Duke University study that chronicled the systematic plundering of more than $3 billion in wealth from Chicago’s African American homeowners from 1950 to 1970 . . .
In a recent installment of this column (March 28, 2019), I highlighted the Twin Cities Public Television documentary, Jim Crow of the North.
Four years ago this week, the first of 79 lawsuits was filed against the State of Michigan, claiming the water from the Flint River posed a significant health risk to the approximately 100,000 residents of Flint, Michigan.
In the last two installments of The Anti-Poverty Solider (from MSR issues April 25 and May 9), I began to introduce the findings from Community Action’s latest Community Needs Assessment (CNA).
In the previous column [April 25 issue] I referenced Community Action’s most recent triennial Community Needs Assessment (CNA), which yielded six major findings plus one central theme.
Every three years the agency that I lead, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, conducts a thorough Community Needs Assessment (CNA), a process that takes the better part of an entire calendar year.
In 1990, Vincent Fanelli published his one and only book, The Human Face of Poverty: A Chronicle of Urban America.
There have been a number of themes covered over and over again during the life of this column, including the examination of the Twin Cities’ rampant racial disparities, which have consistently ranked among the worst in the nation.
The previous installment of this column explored, in part, what many scholars and activists have long termed “the criminalization of poverty.”
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to take a lunch meeting with Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo.
A little more than a century ago, German sociologist Max Weber famously put forth a theoretical model which, when translated to English, become known as the “iron cage.”
There have been a multitude of reports in recent years about how poverty can negatively affect
the health of its victims.
On behalf of the board of directors, staff, volunteers, partners, and participants of Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties (CAPRWC), I wish to express our collective appreciation to the state’s lawmakers as they pledge unity on plans to mitigate the detrimental effects of the federal government shutdown on Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations.
In spite of what we hear about record-low levels
of unemployment, persistent job growth, and other positive economic indicators, food insecurity remains one of the pressing issues in the nation.
As we reflect on the passing of another year and anticipate the unfolding of the new one, I want to strike a somewhat different tone in this first column of 2019.
A constitutional democracy is in serious trouble if its citizenry does not have a certain degree of education and civic virtue.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of the minority . . .
Prison is the only form of public housing that the government has truly invested in over the past five decades.
Fewer than half of children younger than 5-years old are read-to daily in our country.
Today, the lines are blurring between the middle class, the working poor, and those unable to find work.
To empower people and strengthen their political voice, we need to help them gain access to the sources of power in any society.
To get away from poverty, you need several things at the same time.
Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.
It is our moral failure that we still tolerate poverty.
The long-standing and partisan debate over the subject of climate change ramped-up even more recently at the news of America's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.
We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.
The message is not if you are poor, then your brain will be smaller and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is absolutely not the message.
In the group that has been here longer, white Americans dominate both the FTE sector and the low-wage sector.
A federal study last year found that about one in four US households skirts banks and relies on such services as check-cashing and payday loans.
Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren't so because of what they now but because of their insatiable need to know more.
I was raised to believe we all have a civic duty and a responsibility as Americans to improve our neighborhoods and our nation.
In 2011, following the release of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, Minnesota Compass published a statistical profile titled "Poverty in St. Paul."
In the 1930s and the 1940s Rondo Avenue was at the heart of St. Paul's largest black neighborhood.
When you allow racial disparity and institutional inequity to affect one part of the country, eventually it's coming back to get everyone.
The relationship between transportation and social mobility is stronger than the between mobility and other factors . . .
Thought leadership should be the entry point to a relationship.
Without question, the stars of Class Divided and perhaps the foremost reason for any hope at in this neighborhood, are the young people whose daily lives straddle the same one block stretch of 10th Avenue . . .
The disposition to admire and almost worship the rich and powerful, and to despise, or, at least to neglect persons of color is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.
The failure of political leaders to help uplift the poor will be judged as a moral failure.
Minnesota has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation.
Even before the start of "The War on Poverty" more than 50 years ago, there was a dedicated push to establish innovative volunteer programs that addressed social and political inequalities . . .
Dr. King organized the Poor People's Campaign in 1968 to shut down Washington, D.C., and force legislators to tackle poverty.
Whatever thoughts we have about God, who he is, or even if God exists, most would agree that God has a special place for the poor.
Social-inequality trends over the past half century indicate that class divisions are growing more rigid.
Nearly two full years ago, I penned a column that asked the question, "Did Dr. King's Dream ever makes its way to Minnesota?"
Across the United States, the likelihood that poor children will eventually rise into the middle class or beyond depends on heavily on where they live . . .