Tuesday, July 5, 2022


A new Supreme Court case will focus on state legislative control of federal elections, community health centers seek protection against Big Pharma, and Oregon's estuary management plan gets an update.


A shooting near Chicago leaves six dead and dozens injured, Democratic governors huddle to ensure abortion access, and officials say the "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy will be phased out in the coming weeks.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

MN's Community Agencies Can Stretch Dollars a Little Further


Monday, July 12, 2021   

ONAMIA, Minn. -- Helping Minnesotans escape poverty requires behind-the-scenes work, often done by community action agencies on shoestring budgets. Now, they're getting a funding boost, including tribal governments.

Community action agencies facilitate a variety of services, like job placement and rental assistance. The new state budget increases their annual grant by $1 million each year, with tribal nations now getting an equal share under a revised funding formula.

Tammy Wickstrom, executive director of Aanjibimaadizing, a resource program for Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, said they mostly use their annual grant for youth programming, and more equitable funding will go a long way.

"We're really focusing on supplies and activities that the kids aren't necessarily going to get in a public school or in another setting," Wickstrom explained.

Her agency's annual grant of $25,000 will double. Other local offices say the grants help them assist clients even beyond traditional needs, such as helping with car insurance costs, so they can travel to a much-needed job.

Many cover several counties, and limited funding makes it hard to reach every low-income resident and address their unique circumstances.

Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, helped secure the additional funding. He said the agencies are mostly invisible to the public eye, but hopes they get more attention in light of the pandemic. In an era of divided government, the Republican describes the budget action as a breakthrough.

"When people consider politics, they think of it as sparring and arguing," Abeler acknowledged. "But that debate that happens in politics actually generates agencies like this that are committed to doing the people's work, and they really do a good job of it, on a pretty lean budget."

Annie Shapiro, advocacy director for the Minnesota Community Action Partnership, which oversees local agencies, said the increase comes after years of funding declines for the grant, and noted the extra money can help advance the agencies' post-pandemic work.

"This was really a specific moment in time where agencies stepped up to make sure that people were able to stay safely housed, to make sure that people have access to food," Shapiro stated.

She added they can now start to focus on longer-term recovery efforts for low-income Minnesotans.

Disclosure: Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Coal-fired energy generation accounts for as much as 80% of air pollutants in some parts of the country. (lilifest/Adobe Stock)


Groups working to curb climate change said a Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control carbon …


Government labels on meat products that say "humane" or "raised in a stress-free environment" are meaningless, according to some animal-rights groups…

Social Issues

A new report found when high school students enroll in early college programs, it improves the chances they will go on to college after graduation…

From 2006 to 2015, more than 17,000 Pennsylvanians filed flood claims with FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, for more than $550 million in damages. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As hurricane season kicks into full gear, Pennsylvania officials are reflecting on the impacts of Hurricane Agnes 50 years ago, and urging property …

Health and Wellness

Texas is home to one in 10 Americans of reproductive age, and mandated births due to the state's abortion ban will increase the number of maternal …

In the 1920s and 1930s, agents for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power posed as ranchers and bought land and water rights in Mono County. (Jennifer Little)


The futures of tourism, wildlife and ranching in Mono County are now at the mercy of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - according to …

Social Issues

Coming off a string of controversial opinions, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case tied to oversight of federal elections…

Health and Wellness

Some New York health care facilities are getting a funding boost to help train the next generation of doctors and dentists. The U.S. Department of …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021