Programs: Early childhood and family development (head start and united way programs):these programs provide services to income eligible families with pregnant women and or children up to 5 years of age. The services are comprehensive with the cornerstones being parent and child education, health and wellbeing, and family and community asset building. This was the 50th year of head start and while it has been reframed a few times that longevity reaffirms the effectiveness of the program in helping families become stable and to impart skills that families use to build upon their successes. Lakes and pines served 542 pregnant women and children through these programs in 2014-2015.
energy assistance:provides assistance through payment of fuel/utility bills and repair or replacement of heating systems to correct emergency problems. This program makes fuel bills more affordable for low income families. Seniors are able to stay in their homes where high fuel costs would be burdensome on their budgets so they would have to cut back on food or medications. 7,183 households were served by this program.
community services includes a variety of programs which include, emergency housing assistance, homeless youth programs, volunteer income tax assistance, financial literacy education, food shelf support, clothing assistance, vehicle donation program, supplemental nutritional assistance program (snap) outreach, social security outreach, advocacy & recovery (soar), healthcare access/mnsure, and live well at home. Emergency housing assistance: provides case management and/or financial assistance to individuals or families experiencing a temporary housing crisis that could or will render them homeless. Funds help by assisting with mortgages, rent, deposits, transportation costs, and emergency shelter costs, but also intensive case management to prevent future housing emergencies (budget counseling, resource referrals, creating a permanent housing plan). Homeless youth programs: provides case management and/or financial assistance to at-risk and homeless youth (21 years old and younger). Funds help by assisting with rent, deposits and transportation costs, but also intensive case management to achieve self-sufficiency (budget counseling, goal setting, resource referrals). Volunteer income tax assistance: provides free income tax preparation for low-income individuals and families to ensure that they file their income tax forms and receive all the tax credits they are eligible for. This program also helps individuals and families become financially stable by providing an additional source of funds to use to repair their vehicles, homes and credit, while the spending also stimulates the local economy. It also provides an additional opportunity for staff to educate the public on financial literacy topics. Financial literacy education: provides one-on-one and classroom style financial coaching & education sessions. Participants learn about budgeting, debt reduction, repairing credit, building assets and how to navigate financial institutions and products. Classes are offered throughout the seven-county service area but one-one-one sessions can be scheduled for persons eligible for public assistance programs. Food shelf support: staff members regularly donate to area food shelves (bi-weekly collections are held). Lakes & pines also distributes garden seeds to area food shelves each spring to encourage individuals and families to start growing their own food. Clothing assistance: provides vouchers to individuals and families in an emergency or crisis situation, to purchase clothing and necessities at area local businesses and thrift stores. Vehicle donation program: provides vehicles to households that are seeking employment but lack transportation to obtain employment. Vehicles are donated to lakes & pines by community members, repaired through a vocational program at a federal correctional institution and distributed to eligible households that are referred to the program by program partners. Supplemental nutritional assistance program (snap) outreach: provides outreach, education and application assistance to area individuals and families that may be eligible for the supplemental nutritional assistance program (snap), formerly known as food support or food stamps. Social security outreach, advocacy & recovery (soar): provides outreach, education and application assistance to area individuals that suffer from mental health issues and homelessness, or are enrolled on any state public assistance programs apply for and obtain social security benefits. Healthcare access/mnsure: provides outreach, education and application assistance to area individuals and families so that they can obtain affordable healthcare coverage, either through public programs or private insurance companies through the health care exchange called mnsure. Live well at home: provides assessements to seniors and disabled persons and matches those individuals with volunteers whom provide chore services aimed to keep the senior/disabled person in their home rather than entering a nursing home or assisted living facility.
weatherization: the goal is to reduce air filtration and lower energy costs with insulation, weather stripping, caulking and installation of energy efficient doors, windows, etc. By insulating homes that would not receive energy efficiency improvements, families experience a higher quality of life. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the nation's dependence on foreign oil. 107 households were served by this program. Housing rehabilitation: funds are administered from the minnesota housing finance agency (mhfa) for the rehabilitation loan program. These grant funds are to be used to repair homes to meet section 8 housing quality standards. Grant funds will be loaned, at zero interest, to owner occupied property for a loan term of 15 years. At that time, if the property is still owned by the original borrower the loan will be forgiven.