Tri-County Action Program Newsletter Fall 2016
The Promise of Community Action
Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.
A Letter from the Executive Director

The emerging autumn ushers in cooler temperatures and with it, a continuity to life’s daily routine. Children go back to school, summer holidays end, and the hours of daylight get shorter, all reminding me of the season at hand.

Around Tri-CAP’s office, fall brings new and renewed activity and programs, all designed to expand opportunities for the economic and social well-being of our residents and the development of our communities. Throughout this letter we’ve highlighted a few of the ways that Tri-CAP employees are working to provide increased opportunities to the residents of the communities we serve.

A priority for Tri-CAP is to be responsive to the needs of the residents of our communities. To stay current of needs on a grass roots level, Tri-CAP and all Community Action Agencies,  conduct a Community Needs Assessment every three years. The Community Needs Assessment is an in-depth assessment of our clients, community members, other service agencies, and partners to identify the barriers that low-income residents of Central Minnesota are facing. Next month, Tri-CAP will email our Community Needs Assessment to recipients of this newsletter and we are asking for your help. Please complete the survey and share your input so that our results reflect the needs of the residents of Central Minnesota.  We will appreciate it if you are willing to help. Please watch for our Community Needs Assessment in your email next month.

As you read through this newsletter, if any of the programs interest you, I invite you to connect with Tri-CAP via our website at or by calling us at 320-251-1612 or 888-765-5597. Or, if you prefer to talk to someone in person, you may visit our office where we have extended office hours on Mondays and Thursdays from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. To meet with an Outreach Specialist in Elk River, Foley, Paynesville, Sauk Centre or Little Falls, call our office and we can provide contact information to make an appointment.   

Lori Schultz, LSW

Tri-CAP Program Highlights

Vehicle Repair: Tri-CAP is offering a limited-time vehicle repair program to help eligible residents with functional car repairs.  Applications for this program can be found on the home page of Tri-CAP’s website at

Financial Fitness Class Opportunities: Tri-CAP has expanded opportunities to go to our Financial Fitness classes! In addition to the monthly class at Tri-CAP in Waite Park, Tri-CAP offers classes in Elk River, at Capital One 360 in downtown St. Cloud, and through Community Education classes in Melrose and Paynesville. Visit our website to find the class best for you.

Energy Assistance Program: The Energy Assistance Program starts up again with applications available immediately. Previous recipients of this program have been mailed applications directly from the Department of Commerce. If you’ve moved or are new to this program, applications may be found on our website.

Outreach: Tri-CAP also employs Outreach Specialists who are regularly working in communities across our service area including Elk River, Foley, Little Falls, Sauk Centre, Melrose, Paynesville and Elrosa.  The purpose of Outreach is to make Tri-CAP more accessible throughout our service area. Feel free to call our office to connect with an Outreach Specialist in your area.

Voter Registration: This November, Minnesotans will go to the polls to elect the next President, U.S. Representatives, state House and Senate members, and many local and county offices. For the past 9 elections, Minnesota was #1 in voter turnout. In 2014 Minnesota dropped to #6. Tri-CAP can help you register to vote. Registration forms are available at Tri-CAP's reception desk and from many Tri-CAP employees.

Tri-CAP Transportation

Tri-CAP’s bus service is open to the public, which means there is no special eligibility to ride in our service areas. Many families in our transportation service area depend on Tri-CAP to transport  preschool children to and from school, commuters to and from work,  and residents to and from appointments, shopping, and other errands. 

The cost to ride a Tri-CAP bus is $1.25 per boarding in-city and $3.00 per rural boarding when reservations are made 24+ hours in advance. Need to make a last-minute reservation? No problem, just be aware that reservations made with 24 hours or less notice are subject to an additional convenience fee of 75 cents.  This means for last-minute reservations, the fares per boarding are $2.00 for in-city and $3.75 per rural. Tri-CAP accepts cash, check, or tokens to ride and change is not given.

You’re invited to call and talk to one of our friendly dispatchers to find out if Tri-CAP’s Transportation service can help you with a transportation need 320-251-1612/ 888-765-5597 or visit our website.

Success Story

An Outreach Specialist at Tri-CAP met with a homeless gentleman, Tom*, who had been living out of his Dodge Grand Caravan for several months.  Tom was unemployed and needed his van repaired in order to commute to a job. 

Tri-CAP's Outreach Specialist worked with Tom, helping him to apply for the Emergency Vehicle Repair Program. The vehicle repair program provides assistance for functional vehicle repairs. During the program application process, Tom interviewed and received a job offer to become a heavy equipment operator.  Tom was approved for the vehicle assistance program and was able to get his van repaired just in time to be able to accept the job offer.  The repair shop provided a discount so that all the needed van repairs were able to be completed.


With his vehicle repaired, Tom is able to work and has hopes of  increasing his income, obtaining housing, and achieving self-sufficiency. He has applied for GRH (group residential housing) at this time.  While Tom is currently living in his vehicle, he hopes to obtain housing soon.  He stated “things are looking up!”


* - Not his actual name


Please consider making a tax-free donation to Tri-CAP today. Your gift is an investment in the programs that help low-income residents of Central Minnesota as they work toward financial self-sufficiency.
Donate Now
1210 23rd Ave South
P.O. Box 683
Waite Park, MN 56387
(320) 251-1612
(888) 765-5597

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