Southeast south-central Minnesota

Document Sample
Southeast south-central Minnesota Powered By Docstoc
					 Status of the safety net
    in southeast and
south-central Minnesota
      A needs assessment



        A P R I L   2 0 0 0
Status of the safety net
in southeast and
south-central Minnesota
A needs assessment

April 2000




Prepared by:
Greg Owen
Amy Bush Stevens
Justine Nelson-Christinedaughter

Wilder Research Center
1295 Bandana Boulevard North, Suite 210
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55018
651-647-4600
www.wilder.org
Contents
Acknowledgments............................................................................................................... 5
Summary ............................................................................................................................. 1
Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 6
   Background and purpose................................................................................................. 6
   Profile of the region......................................................................................................... 7
Key-informant interviews with service providers............................................................. 14
   Methods......................................................................................................................... 14
   Results ........................................................................................................................... 14
   Discussion ..................................................................................................................... 31
Interviews with current and former MFIP participants..................................................... 33
   Methods......................................................................................................................... 33
   Results ........................................................................................................................... 35
   Summary and discussion............................................................................................... 52
Trends in emergency service use ...................................................................................... 54
   Food shelf visits ............................................................................................................ 54
   Shelter use ..................................................................................................................... 55
   Requests to community action agencies for housing assistance ................................... 56
   Comparison of requests for housing assistance: October 1997 and November 1999... 63
   Requests to community action agencies for basic services........................................... 67
Discussion and issues to consider ..................................................................................... 73
   Current trends in emergency service use....................................................................... 73
   Emergency assistance needs: Who needs what............................................................. 73
Recommendations ............................................................................................................. 74
   Nonprofit and community agencies .............................................................................. 74
   Local government.......................................................................................................... 75
   Employers...................................................................................................................... 75
   Funders (foundations, grantmakers, donors)................................................................. 76
   State and federal government........................................................................................ 76
Appendix: Key informant interview: open-ended responses to selected questions ........ 81
                 Key-Informant Interview.............................................................................. 119



                      Status of the safety net in                                 Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Figures
1.     Southeast and south-central Minnesota: counties and cities over 9,500 ..................... 7
2.     1998 population density, by county ............................................................................ 8
3.     Population growth in the region .................................................................................. 9
4.     Race and ethnicity, 1998 ............................................................................................. 9
5.     Percent of children in poverty, 1995 ......................................................................... 10
6.     Percent of total population in poverty, 1995 ............................................................. 11
7.     Percent of children age 17 and under receiving AFDC (1996) and MFIP (1998) .... 12
8.     Unemployment rates in southeast/south-central region and statewide, 1995-1999 .. 12
9.     Percent of students who changed schools during the 1997-98 school year .............. 13
10. Types of organizations where key informants worked ............................................ 15
11. Services provided by key informants’ organizations ............................................... 15
12. Counties served by key informants’ organizations ................................................... 16
13. Effects of welfare reform on service needs ............................................................... 17
14     Barriers to self-sufficiency for low income adults with children.............................. 18
15. Barriers to self-sufficiency for low-income adults without children ........................ 18
16. Identification of basic service needs ......................................................................... 19
17. Unmet service needs.................................................................................................. 20
18. What concerns do you have about your agency’s ability to meet the needs of
    immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers? ............................................................ 21
19. What concerns do you have about your agency’s ability to meet the needs of
    family farmers? ......................................................................................................... 22
20. What concerns do you have about your agency’s ability to help people with
    one-time emergency oritical needs but do not meet eligibility criteria for county
    or state assistance ? ................................................................................................... 23
21. Other emergency and basic service needs not addressed by the survey ................... 24
22. Adequacy of existing services................................................................................... 25
23. Suggestions for improving the least-adequate services............................................. 28
24. Key informants’ top priorities for making improvements to basic services ............. 29
25. Can you think of anything that would improve basic assistance services at your
    agency?...................................................................................................................... 29
26. What do you think should be done to increase the availability of affordable
    housing in your area? ................................................................................................ 30


                      Status of the safety net in                              Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Figures, continued
27. What role do you think your agency could play in increasing the availability of
    affordable housing? .................................................................................................. 30
28. Respondent residence by McKnight case study site areas ........................................ 33
29. Mcknight welfare to work partnership sites.............................................................. 34
30. Race and ethnicity of respondents) ........................................................................... 35
31. Number of children under age 18 in respondent’s household................................... 35
32. Are you currently receiving MFIP? .......................................................................... 36
33A.Length of rime on welfare over entire adult lifetime ............................................... 36
33B.Length of time on welfare over entire adult lifetime and dichotomous variable ...... 36
34. Did the household you grew up in receive welfare? ................................................ 37
35. Current work, school, or training .............................................................................. 37
36. Average number of hours worked per week ............................................................ 37
37. Median income of respondents ................................................................................. 38
38. Helpfulness of MFIP ................................................................................................. 38
39. How has MFIP helped you? ...................................................................................... 39
40. What kind of problems has MFIP caused for you?................................................... 40
41. If you were in charge of MFIP and wanted to make it better, what would you do? . 40
42. Do you think you will be qble to get off welfare within the time limits? ................. 42
43. When you think about the future, what do you see as the main barriers that might
    make it difficult for you to get off welfare when the time limit comes?..................... 42
44. When you think about your future, what do you see as the main barriers that might
    make it difficult for you to stay off welfare? ........................................................... 43
45. Summary of services used and unmet needs by service type (n=242)...................... 45
46. Use of and need for transportation services .............................................................. 46
47. Use of and need for child care services..................................................................... 47
48. Use of and need for job-related xervices................................................................... 48
49. Use of and need for other support services ............................................................... 49
50. Use of and need for Medical Assistance and Food Stamps ...................................... 50
51. Have you been able to meet your kids’ basic needs for food during the past three
    months? .................................................................................................................... 50
52. Do you feel that your children have any other needs right now that you can’t meet? ... 51
53. Do you feel that your children get to spend as much time with you as they need to?.... 51

                      Status of the safety net in                              Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Figures, continued
54. Do you have enough money to pay your bills this month?....................................... 51
55. Southeast and south-central Minnesota Food Shelf visits 1991 – 1998.................... 54
56. Number of people sheltered during one month, 1995-1999...................................... 55
57. Number of clients who requested housing assistance during November 1999......... 56
58. Demographic characteristics of clients seeking housing assistance in November 1999.57
59. Ages of people requesting housing assistance in November 1999. .......................... 58
60. Race and ethnicity of clients requesting housing assistance in November 1999. ..... 59
61. Number of children in households requesting housing assistance in November 1999. . 60
62. Previous night’s residence of clients requesting housing assistance in November
    1999........................................................................................................................... 61
63. Number of requests for various types of assistance in November 1999. .................. 62
64. Number of clients receiving various types of services.............................................. 63
65. Housing assistance requests to Community Action Program and Agencies,
    1997 and 1999. .......................................................................................................... 64
66. Race and ethnicity of clients requesting housing assistance in October 1997 and
    November 1999. ........................................................................................................ 64
67. Age of clients requesting housing assistance in October 1997 and November 1999..... 65
68. Number of children in households requesting housing assistance in October 1997
    and November 1999 .................................................................................................. 66
69. Total of all service Requests to MVAC and SEMCAC, 1999 .................................. 67
70. Requests for food assistance, 1997-1999 .................................................................. 68
71. Requests for job training or education, 1997-1999 ................................................... 68
72. Requests for emergency shelter or other housing-related assistance, 1997-1999..... 69
73. Requests for weatherization or housing rehabilitation loans, 1997-1999 ................. 69
74. Requests for head start or early education, 1997-1999 ............................................. 70
75. Requests for heating or energy assistance, 1997-1999 ............................................. 70
76. Requests for emergency services (primarily crisis funds), 1997-1999 ..................... 71
77. Requests for legal services or tenant rights assistance, 1997-1999........................... 71
78. Requests for transportation or car repairs, 1997-1999 .............................................. 72
79. Requests for miscellaneous assistance, 1997-1999................................................... 72




                      Status of the safety net in                                Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Acknowledgments
Wilder Research Center staff wish to thank the following Emergency Assistance Steering
Committee members who contributed to the development of this report: Nancy Haag,
Collette Turcotte, Jo Mahn, Mike Gerber, Joy Koch, Carla Johnson, Marcia Hitz, Beth
Forkner-Moe, Wendy Todd, Betty Bluem, Chris Hubley, and Trixie Golberg.

We also wish to thank the following Wilder Research Center staff contributors. Lennore
Bevis coordinated the survey of key informants. Lennore Bevis, Margie Peterson, Diana
Haden, and Jenna Nargang conducted the interviews. Mikki Haegle coded the completed
interviews. Mary Lue Tillman provided data entry assistance, and Phil Cooper provided
data analysis. Marilyn Conrad, Louann Graham, and Kari Danielson provided formatting
and other administrative assistance. June Heineman assisted in the collection of housing
services data and Ginger Hope edited portions of the report and prepared summary
information.

Finally, the authors wish to thank the many area service providers who served as
respondents to our survey. Without their support this study would not have been
possible.




                   Status of the safety net in       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
             Status of the safety net in   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
southeast and south-central Minnesota
Summary
The Initiative Fund of Southeast and South Central Minnesota asked Wilder Research
Center to study trends in the use of emergency assistance and to identify unmet needs in
the 20-county region. Emergency assistance was broadly defined to include housing,
food, clothing, utilities, transportation, health care, child care, and financial assistance.

This needs assessment answers two kinds of questions:

! What future needs for emergency assistance can service providers anticipate? How
  can they best plan and prepare for these needs?
! What can service providers, funders, and policy-makers do to improve conditions for
  people living in or near poverty? Which services and policies are working well?
  What needs to change?
Key-informant interviews with service providers form the centerpiece for this study.
Additional sources include interviews with welfare participants, information about
geographic, demographic, and economic characteristics, and trends in the use of
emergency assistance.

Profile of the region
The southeast and south-central region of Minnesota includes 20 counties, most of them
rural and many of them sparsely populated. The economic well-being of the region as a
whole is quite good compared to other regions of the state, although significant
differences within the region point to areas of greater economic need. The
unemployment rate has dropped substantially since 1996 and stood at 2.4 percent in
1999, slightly below the statewide rate.

An estimated 17,566 children lived in poverty in the region in 1995, representing
10 percent of all children there, compared to 12 percent statewide. The proportion of
children receiving welfare through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or
the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) has declined in recent years and stood
at 4 percent in 1998, compared to 8 percent statewide.




                   Status of the safety net in   1       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Key-informant interviews with service providers
Wilder Research Center staff conducted qualitative telephone interviews with 122
representatives of social service organizations from around the region. The response rate
was 97 percent.

While these local experts had many suggestions for expanding or improving emergency
services, they returned again and again to a handful of large, underlying issues that have
more to do with reducing the need for emergency services.

Large proportions of respondents identified the following needs as the most critical issues
for the region’s low-income residents:

! Affordable housing
! Child care
! Transportation
! Affordable health insurance
! Living-wage jobs

Many service providers called for increased funding to address these needs. Other
recommendations included incentives for employers to provide or subsidize child care;
better collaboration among service providers; less “red tape” and simpler eligibility rules
for emergency assistance programs; and more interpreters and culturally-appropriate
programming. Suggestions for addressing the housing shortage focused on preventing
homelessness by increasing the number of affordable housing units, as well as increasing
the supply of emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.

Interviews with current and former MFIP participants
As part of a statewide study for The McKnight Foundation, Wilder Research Center
conducted 42 telephone interviews with current and former MFIP participants living in
the southeastern part of the state (a 10-county portion of the region covered in the current
study). Respondents were randomly selected from a list of MFIP participants provided
by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The response rate was 66 percent.

Southeast Minnesota respondents in this sample were more likely to have gotten off
MFIP and to have shorter histories of welfare use than were those from other regions of
greater Minnesota. Large proportions of southeast Minnesota participants also reported



                   Status of the safety net in   2      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
working and going to school. Nearly one-third of employed respondents were working
more than one job and just as many were working more than 40 hours per week.

When these current and former welfare participants talked about the barriers to self-
sufficiency, most said they anticipated no major problems either getting off welfare
within the time limits, or staying off. However, many expressed serious reservations.
The most frequently-named concerns were:

! Lack of livable-wage jobs
! Lack of education
! Lack of affordable housing
! Disability

To explore unmet needs, the survey asked whether participants had used certain services
and, if not, whether they needed those services. The top responses:

! Help obtaining, maintaining, and repairing a car
! Help paying for child care
! Workplace support to help people to keep their jobs
! Activities, tutoring, and clothing for children
! Funds for emergency expenses
! Improved access to Medical Assistance and other forms of health coverage

Trends in emergency assistance
Review of previous studies and secondary data sources shows little evidence that
emergency needs have let up as the economy and employment rates have grown.

Requests for emergency assistance from two of the largest community action agencies in
the region (Minnesota Valley Action Council and South East Minnesota Community
Action Council) rose steadily from 1997 to 1999 in most – but not all – service categories.

Overall, food shelf use remained relatively stable in the region throughout the 1990s.

After peaking in 1997, emergency shelter use dropped somewhat in 1998, then climbed
again for women and children in 1999. Children and unaccompanied youth make up the
largest proportion of people using homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, and
vouchers for emergency shelter in the region.



                   Status of the safety net in   3     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
People of color, especially African American and Hispanic women and children, appear
to make up a growing proportion of those seeking emergency housing assistance.

Conclusions
Although unemployment rates and welfare caseloads have decreased in recent years in
the region, the need for emergency and basic services has remained relatively stable, and
in some cases has increased.

Housing, child care, transportation, and health insurance stand out as the most critical
issues facing the region’s low-income residents. Despite high employment rates, the
dearth of livable wage jobs for lower-skilled workers also remains a considerable barrier
to self-sufficiency for many residents.

Changing demographics call for increased cultural competence to work effectively with
immigrants, refugees, migrant workers, and other cultural groups.

Recommendations
After discussing the implications of this study, the advisory committee worked with the
study’s authors to develop recommendations to strengthen both self-sufficiency and the
safety net of emergency assistance in southeast and south-central Minnesota. These
proposals call for changes in policy and practice on the part of those with a large stake in
improving the economic stability of the working poor: nonprofit and community
organizations, local government, employers, funders, and state and federal government.

The recommendations address six issues vital to long-term economic stability for low-
income residents.

Transportation
Continue and expand revolving loan programs for car purchase and repair. Use
collaboration and innovation to improve public and pooled transportation services within
in and among communities.

Child care
Coordinate and integrate early childhood education, child care, and school-age
programming to provide comprehensive care that fits working families’ needs. Use
public and private funding to ensure the quality and availability of child care.




                   Status of the safety net in   4      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Housing
Make a sustained public investment to increase the supply of affordable housing
throughout the region, with the support of civic leaders, employers, and a public clearly
informed about what is at stake in the housing issue.

Health insurance
Gaps in medical coverage and access to providers causes great hardship for the working
poor and their children. Service agencies, funders, employers, and the state and federal
government need to step into these gaps with short-term solutions, even as longer-term
policy debate continues.

Emergency financial assistance
Until community, civic, and economic development leaders achieve a better balance
between the wage scale and the cost of living, all communities can anticipate the
persistent need for basic and emergency assistance for low-income working people. For
many of the region’s lowest-paid workers and their families, access to flexible, direct
assistance can mean the difference between a stable home environment and one
continually disrupted by economic crises.

Services for immigrants, refugee and migrant workers
Communities and agencies must purposefully build their capacity to understand and work
with this growing population, which is an important part of the region’s social and
economic future.




                   Status of the safety net in   5     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Introduction

Background and purpose

In late 1999, the Initiative Fund of Southeast and South Central Minnesota convened a
group of local human service providers to discuss emergency assistance needs throughout
the 20-county region. These representatives were particularly interested in assessing
factors that impact the basic services “safety net” within the context of welfare reform
and the increased emphasis on the needs of the working poor. For the purposes of this
study, emergency services were broadly defined to include housing, food, clothing,
utilities, transportation, health care, financial, and child care assistance. The advisory
committee selected Wilder Research Center to conduct a needs assessment that would
document trends in the use of these emergency services and identify existing needs.

The purpose of the needs assessment was to answer several overarching questions:

! What can service providers anticipate as the future emergency assistance needs?
  How can they best plan and prepare for these needs?
! What can service providers, funders, and policy-makers do to improve conditions for
  poor and near-poor families and individuals in southeast and south-central
  Minnesota? What services and policies are already working well for these residents
  and what needs to change?

This report draws upon a wide variety of primary and secondary data to address these
questions. Findings from key-informant interviews with service providers conducted
specifically for this study are the centerpiece of this report. The results of interviews with
welfare participants – conducted for a separate study for the McKnight Foundation – are
also reported here. Information from other sources includes geographic, demographic,
and economic characteristics, and current trends in emergency service use.

This report focuses on people with very limited resources – those who receive or are
eligible for welfare benefits; those with incomes near or below the poverty line, whether
they are working or not; and those with disabilities or other barriers to self-sufficiency.




                   Status of the safety net in   6      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Profile of the region

Geography and population
The southeast and south-central region of Minnesota includes 20 mostly rural counties,
which can be further divided into three subregions shown in Figure 1: South-central,
southeast I, and southeast II. The region borders the south suburban counties of the Twin
Cities area to the north, Wisconsin to the east, and Iowa to the south. The city of
Rochester, home to 80,186 people in 1998, is by far the largest population center in the
region. Figure 1 displays the locations of cities with a population of 9,500 or greater.
Figure 2 displays the population density of each county. These maps indicate that several
counties lack a significant population center and many are sparsely populated.

1.   SOUTHEAST AND SOUTH-CENTRAL MINNESOTA: COUNTIES AND CITIES OVER 9,500

               Hutchinson                        South Metro
                                                  Suburbs
                                                                                           River Falls

                                                                                Hastings

                                                                                           Red Wing
                     Sibley
                                              Northfield

                                  St. Peter                            Goodhue
          New Ulm   Nicollet                          Rice
                                   Le Sueur                      Faribault
                                                                                            Wabasha
     Brown
              North Mankato         Mankato
                                                              Owatonna                                   Winona
                                                                                             Rochester                      Onalaska
      Watonwan         Blue Earth       Waseca Steele                 Dodge
                                                                                           Olmsted       Winona
                                                                                                                            La Crosse

                                                     Albert Lea
                              Faribault                                      Mower
          Martin                                                             Austin               Fillmore        Houston
                     Fairmont

                                                Freeborn

               South Central                      Southeast Region I                          Southeast Region II

Source:    1998 population estimates, State Demographic Center at Minnesota Planning.




                   Status of the safety net in               7                  Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
2.      1998 POPULATION DENSITY, BY COUNTY

                                             People per square mile
                                                    182
                                                     65 to 182
                                                     43 to 65
                                                     31 to 43
                                                     23 to 31

                       Sibley
                         25
                                                                  Goodhue
                      Nicollet        Le Sueur        Rice          56
                        65               53           105                           Wabasha
        Brown                                                                         38
          45

                         Blue Earth          Waseca    Steele    Dodge         Olmsted             Winona
          Watonwan                             43        76       39
                             73                                                  182                 78
             27


             Martin              Faribault         Freeborn           Mower             Fillmore            Houston
              31                    23                45               53                   24                34



Source:     State Demographer’s Office, 1998 estimates
Note:       Minnesota’s overall population density is 56.8 people per square mile.

The population grew modestly in the 1990s and is projected to continue growing during the
next decade. An estimated total of 666,640 persons reside in the region in 2000, compared to
636,415 in 1990. This represents a 5 percent increase in total population. This increase was
slightly lower than the increase for the state of Minnesota overall, which grew 9 percent
between 1990 and 2000.




                     Status of the safety net in        8             Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
3.      POPULATION GROWTH IN THE REGION


700,000

                                                                           676,120
                                                          666,640
                                    659,869

650,000
                  636,415




600,000
               1990 count        1998 estimate       2000 projection 2010 projection


Sources: 1990 and 1998 data from U.S. Census Bureau, 1999. Projections from State Demographic Center
at Minnesota Planning, 1998.




The vast majority of the region’s residents are White (98%), while Asians and Hispanics are
the most prevalent ethnic minorities. In recent years, new immigrants from countries such as
Somalia and Russia have added to the diversity of the region, although current demographic
data do not yet reflect these changes. Figure 4 displays the race and ethnicity of the region’s
population, compared to that of Minnesota as a whole.

4.      RACE AND ETHNICITY, 1998
                                              Southeast/                 Minnesota
                                             south-central
 White                                             98%                      93%
 Black or African American                         0.5%                       3%
 American Indian                                   0.3%                       1%
 Asian or Pacific Islander                          2%                        3%
 Hispanic origin                                    2%                        2%

Source:     US Census Bureau, 1998 estimates.
Note:       Totals do not add up to 100 percent due to rounding and because persons of Hispanic origin can
be of any race.




                     Status of the safety net in          9         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
Economic well-being
The region as a whole is quite well off, compared to many other regions of the state.
Significant differences within the region, however, point to localized areas of greater
economic need. Personal per capita income in 1997, for example, ranged from $27,233
in Olmsted County to only $18,500 in Sibley County. This compares to a total per capita
income of $26,243 for Minnesota (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

An estimated 17,566 children lived in poverty in the region in 1995, the last year for
which county-level statistics are available. This represents 10 percent of children in the
region overall, compared to 12 percent of all Minnesota children. Child poverty rates
varied widely by county; 7 percent of children in Goodhue County were living below the
poverty line, compared to 15 percent in Watonwan County. Figures 5 and 6 display
poverty rates for children and all persons by county.

5.      PERCENT OF CHILDREN IN POVERTY, 1995

                                                   Percent
                                                   12.7 to 14.5
                                                   10.6 to 12.7
                                                    9.3 to 10.6
                                                    8.3 to 9.3
                                                    7.3 to 8.3


                         Sibley
                         11.8%

                         Nicollet       Le Sueur       Rice        Goodhue        Wabasha
                          7.9%            8.3%         8.5%         7.3%
            Brown                                                                  8.5%
            8.4%


            Watonwan       Blue Earth         Waseca    Steele     Dodge       Olmsted       Winona
             14.5%           11.9%             9.3%     7.8%       7.9%         8.3%         10.6%



                Martin            Faribault        Freeborn         Mower              Fillmore       Houston
                13%                13.6%            13.6%           12.7%               14.2%          9.3%




Source:     U.S. Census, 1995 poverty estimates.
Note:       Percent of children in poverty in Minnesota: 11.7%.




                     Status of the safety net in              10           Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
6.      PERCENT OF TOTAL POPULATION IN POVERTY, 1995
                                                      Percent
                                                     10.2 to 10.9
                                                      8.9 to 10.2
                                                      7.3 to 8.9
                                                      6.6 to 7.3
                                                      6 to 6.6
                            Sibley
                             8.9%

                          Nicollet        Le Sueur        Rice      Goodhue
                           6.6%              7%           7.5%        6%
                                                                                  Wabasha
            Brown                                                                  6.8%
            7.1%

             Watonwan       Blue Earth           Waseca   Steele    Dodge     Olmsted            Winona
              10.7%           10.7%               7.3%    6.2%      6.9%       6.6%               9.3%



                 Martin              Faribault       Freeborn         Mower           Fillmore            Houston
                 9.9%                 10.3%           10.2%           9.6%             10.9%               7.6%




Source:     U.S. Census, 1995 poverty estimates.
Note:       Percent of people in poverty in Minnesota: 8.7%.




The proportion of children receiving welfare through Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC), or the new welfare program, Minnesota Family Investment Program
(MFIP), has declined in recent years. On any given month in 1998, an average of 7,646
of the region’s children were relying on MFIP. Rates of welfare receipt are lower than
elsewhere in the state, although caseloads have declined at a similar rate. In 1998 a
monthly average of 4 percent of children in the region were receiving MFIP, compared to
8 percent of children statewide (see Figure 7). Once again, there is significant variation
within the region; only 2 percent of Fillmore County children were receiving MFIP,
compared to 7 percent of Blue Earth County children.




                     Status of the safety net in             11         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
7.    PERCENT OF CHILDREN AGE 17 AND UNDER RECEIVING AFDC (1996) AND MFIP (1998)


10%
                                            9.4%
                 8.9%
                                                                       Minnesota
                                                               7.8%

5%               5.5%                        5.8%
                                                                       Southeast/South Central
                                                               4.4%




0%
               AFDC                        AFDC               MFIP
                 1995                        1996              1998




Unemployment rates in the region are almost identical to those in the state of Minnesota
overall. Unemployment has dropped substantially since 1996, and stood at 2 percent in
1999 (see Figure 8).

8.    UNEMPLOYMENT RATES IN SOUTHEAST/SOUTH-CENTRAL REGION AND STATEWIDE, 1995-1999

5%

                          4.0%
          3.7%
                          4.0%            3.3%
          3.7%
                                                     2.5%       2.8%      Minnesota
                                          3.1%

                                                     2.4%       2.4%      Southeast/South Central




0%
         1995            1996            1997        1998       1999




                   Status of the safety net in      12      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Housing and mobility
Key informant reports from across the region indicate a lack of affordable housing for low-
income families, and low vacancy rates for rental housing in general. According to the
Community Partners Research, Inc., a healthy vacancy rate ranges from 3 to 5 percent of
all rental units. In their January 2000 study of the housing conditions in Rice county, one
of the counties in the southeast/south-central area, investigators found that 2.2 percent of
rental units were available in the city of Northfield, and less than 1 percent of rental units
were available in the city of Faribault.

Student mobility (transferring in or out of school during the school year) is an important
indicator of family and housing stability. High rates of mobility in a community may
reflect a lack of affordable housing, as families who have difficulty securing housing
move more frequently than do families with stable housing. Figure 9 shows that school
districts in southeast and south-central Minnesota have lower rates of student mobility
compared to the state overall. Sixteen percent of students in the southeast Sub-Region 1
(which includes Olmsted County), however, changed schools in the 1997-98 school year
(see Figure 9). This represents a total of 8,030 children who experienced a mid-year
disruption.

9.      PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO CHANGED SCHOOLS DURING THE 1997-98 SCHOOL YEAR



20%                                                                          18%
                                     16%

               13%
                                                       11%
10%




 0%
          South Central          Southeast I       Southeast II         Minnesota


Source:     Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning.
Note:       Percentages are calculated using October 1 enrollment figures.




                     Status of the safety net in     13           Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
Key-informant interviews with service providers

Methods

The key informant interview instrument was developed by Wilder Research Center in
consultation with the advisory committee for this study. The interview contains several
open-ended questions designed to elicit comments about the status of basic and
emergency assistance services in southeast and south-central Minnesota.

Advisory committee members nominated 161 key informants from throughout the region.
Wilder Research Center staff stratified the nominees by the three subregions; 83 names
were provided from the south-central subregion, 48 from southeast I, and 30 from
southeast II. Fifty names were randomly selected from the south-central sample and all
names were included from the other two samples. Of the 126 persons who were eligible
to participate, 122 completed the interview, for a response rate of 97 percent. Three
individuals refused to participate and one could not be contacted.

All interviews were conducted via telephone by trained interview staff at Wilder
Research Center in December 1999 and January 2000.

Results

Respondent characteristics
Fifteen percent of respondents said they supervise or manage programs, while 29 percent
work directly with clients and 56 percent perform both functions. Most key informants
had several years of experience with the issues addressed in the interview. Years of
experience working in social services ranged from 0 to 60, with an average of 15 years.
Informants had worked for their current organizations for an average of 10 years and had
worked in the region for an average of 17 years. Eighty percent of the respondents were
women.

The majority of the key informants work in nonprofit organizations (62%) or government
agencies (30%). Many work for organizations that provide a wide variety of basic services.
Transportation, housing, food, and economic assistance were the most common services
provided by these agencies.




                   Status of the safety net in   14   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
10.   TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS WHERE KEY INFORMANTS WORKED (N=122)

                                             Number           Percent
 Nonprofit organization                             76         62%
 Government agency                                  37         30%
 School or child care facility                       5          4%
 Other                                               4          3%




11.   SERVICES PROVIDED BY KEY INFORMANTS’ ORGANIZATIONS (N=119-122)

                                             Number           Percent
 Transportation assistance                          93         76%
 Housing assistance                                 73         60%
 Food assistance                                    67         55%
 Financial assistance                               65         55%
 Education                                          65         53%
 Utilities assistance                               60         49%
 Job training                                       58         48%
 Child care                                         46         38%
 Clothing or furniture
 assistance                                         45         37%
 Health care                                        43         35%
 Economic development                               33         30%
 Other types of emergency or
 basic assistance                                   85         71%




                      Status of the safety net in        15        Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
12.   COUNTIES SERVED BY KEY INFORMANTS’ ORGANIZATIONS
                                         Number of respondents
                                        whose organizations serve
                                                the area
 South-central                                    119
      Blue Earth                                   15
      Brown                                        12
      Faribault                                    17
      Le Sueur                                     13
      Martin                                       11
      Nicollet                                     14
      Sibley                                       14
      Waseca                                       12
      Watonwan                                     11
 Southeast I                                      110
      Dodge                                        17
      Freeborn                                     15
      Mower                                        17
      Olmsted                                      27
      Rice                                         14
      Steele                                       20
 Southeast II                                      78
      Fillmore                                     15
      Goodhue                                      13
      Houston                                      15
      Wabasha                                      17
      Winona                                       18
 Other (Cottonwood, Lyon,                           7
 Nobles, Stearns, Wright)




                    Status of the safety net in    16        Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Welfare reform and barriers to self-sufficiency
Key informants were asked several questions to gauge the impact of welfare reform on
basic service needs and to identify barriers to long-term self-sufficiency among the
region’s residents. Eighty-four percent of respondents said welfare reform has affected
the need for help in their area. When asked to describe those changes, 21 percent of the
comments were positive and 79 percent were negative. Figure 13 displays the most
frequent responses to this question.

13.      EFFECTS OF WELFARE REFORM ON SERVICE NEEDS (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES (N=89)
                                                                          Number            Percent
 Negative effects
      More transportation needs                                               14               16%
      More need for affordable health care, health insurance                   9               10%
      Increased stress for participants                                        7                8%
      Families do not earn enough income, low wages                            5                6%
      Lack of affordable housing                                               4                5%
      More needs for food assistance                                           4                5%
      Increased job training needs                                             4                5%
 Positive effects
      People are more self-sufficient                                          4                5%
      People must go to work, school                                           4                5%
      Good impact (unspecified)                                                4                5%
      More people are working now                                              3                3%


The remaining 16 percent of respondents said they had not seen needs changing due to
welfare reform, often citing the existence of adequate support systems and the availability
of jobs in the area.

Key informants were also asked to identify barriers to self-sufficiency for families and
for adults with no children. Almost half of the respondents (46%) identified the lack of
affordable child care and other child care problems as a barrier to getting off and staying
off welfare for families with children. Aside from child care, the reported barriers were
very similar for adults with or without children. The most common barriers mentioned
were low wages, transportation problems, lack of affordable housing, and poor job skills
and lack of training.




                      Status of the safety net in   17         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
14    BARRIERS TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY FOR LOW INCOME ADULTS WITH CHILDREN (MOST FREQUENT
      RESPONSES) (N=120)
                                                                     Number of         Percent of
                                                                    respondents       respondents
 Lack of affordable child care, other child care problems                  55               46%
 Low wages, lack of living-wage jobs                                       38               32%
 Lack of transportation, transportation problems                           35               29%
 Lack of affordable housing                                                34               28%
 Poor job skills, lack of training                                         18               15%
 Language barriers (for immigrants)                                         9                8%
 Lack of soft skills, poor work ethic, bad habits                           8                7%
 Lack of education                                                          8                7%
 Lack of affordable health insurance                                        5                4%
 Poor job market; lack of permanent, full-time jobs                         5                    4%




15.   BARRIERS TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY FOR LOW-INCOME ADULTS WITHOUT CHILDREN (MOST FREQUENT
      RESPONSES) (N=113)
                                                                     Number of         Percent of
                                                                    respondents       respondents
 Low wages, lack of living-wage jobs                                       30               27%
 Lack of affordable housing                                                30               27%
 Poor job skills, lack of training                                         27               24%
 Lack of transportation                                                    27               24%
 Disability (physical or mental)                                           14               12%
 Lack of soft skills, poor work ethic, bad habits                          14               12%
 Lack of education                                                          8                7%
 Language barriers (for immigrants)                                         6                5%
 Lack of affordable health insurance                                        6                5%
 Chemical dependency problems                                               6                5%
 Low self-esteem, emotional problems                                        5                4%
 Poor job market, lack of permanent full time jobs                          5                4%




                    Status of the safety net in     18      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Basic service needs
Key informants were asked to comment on basic service needs, including several issues
identified by the advisory committee as special concerns – one-time emergency needs;
the needs of immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers; the needs of family farmers; and
affordable housing. Overall, 84 percent of the key informants said that they think some
people in their area are unable to get some of the help they need. The vast majority of
respondents (89%) said that the lack of affordable housing was a problem in their area.
Over half of the key informants said they had concerns about their agency’s ability to
help immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers (59%) and people with one-time
emergency needs (53%). Respondents were somewhat less concerned about their
agency’s ability to meet the basic service needs of family farmers (24%).

16.   IDENTIFICATION OF BASIC SERVICE NEEDS

                                                                           Responding “yes”
                                                                        Number            Percent
 Do you think that some of the people who need basic services
 in your area at this time are unable to get the help they need?          101                84%
 (n=121)
 Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to help
 people who have one-time emergency assistance needs but
                                                                            63               53%
 do not meet eligibility criteria for county or state assistance?
 (n=119)
 Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to meet
 the basic needs of immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers               71               59%
 in your area? (n=121)
 Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to meet
                                                                            27               24%
 the basic needs of family farmers in your area? (n=114)
 Many people in Minnesota are concerned about the availability
 of affordable housing. Is this a problem in your area of the             107                89%
 state? (n=120)




                   Status of the safety net in   19          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Key informants specified housing (60%), child care (31%), transportation (31%), and
health insurance (10%) as the primary unmet needs in their area.

17.   UNMET SERVICE NEEDS (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=100)

                                                                     Number            Percent
 Housing (affordable housing, homeless shelters, transitional
 housing programs)                                                       60               60%
 Child care                                                              31               31%
 Transportation                                                          31               31%
 Affordable health insurance                                             10               10%
 Not enough funding available for basic services                          7                7%
 People don’t know what’s available                                       7                7%
 People don’t know how to get help, how to ask for help                   7                7%
 Services for adults who do not have children                             7                7%
 Livable wage jobs                                                        5                5%
 Services that address language barriers                                  5                5%




“What services are people unable to get?’—Selected comments:

       Shelter is a severe problem in our area. There just isn’t available housing.

       Affordable housing for lower-income people, especially here because of
       the presence of the two colleges in town. Landlords pack them into these
       houses and apartments at high rental rates. This leaves very little for
       working people.

       Transportation is a big problem. In Faribault County, people have to go
       out of the county to work and it’s hard to get there. Not much housing;
       [few] rental units available. Not many subsidized units either.

       I think there’s a lot of transportation needs that are lacking. People can’t
       get to where agencies and services are. Basic isolation in our county
       prevents people from knowing where to start, if they don’t have someone
       giving them information.

       The working poor can’t get health care coverage from MinnesotaCare
       because they earn too much. [Another unmet need is] low-income
       housing for the working poor that they can afford.

                   Status of the safety net in   20       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
        Some people don’t pursue or aren’t aware of services in the community.
        With the elderly it’s a matter of pride. Transportation for the elderly is a
        problem. Others are living paycheck to paycheck and won’t lose a day at
        work to come and see [staff at the agency]. We need arrangements for
        off-hours—no flexibility is a gap. They are unaware of programs.

        The low-income folks don’t know how to access them. Lots of paperwork
        and it’s frustrating for them and us. The same paperwork over and over
        again. People [with] low income are] more difficult [for us to serve] than
        on MFIP….


A more specific question about the needs of immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers
revealed that about half of the respondents (55%) were concerned about their agency’s
ability to overcome language barriers and access interpreters. Other concerns included
lack of funding to serve these populations (21%), the shortage of affordable housing
(16%), discrimination against immigrants and people of color (7%), and their agency’s
lack of experience with or knowledge of diverse cultures (7%).

18.   WHAT CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT YOUR AGENCY’S ABILITY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF
      IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES, AND MIGRANT WORKERS? (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=71)

                                                                      Number            Percent
 Language barriers, lack of interpreters                                  39               55%
 Lack of funding                                                          15               21%
 Lack of affordable housing                                               11               16%
 Lack of experience providing culturally appropriate services,
 lack of knowledge about diverse populations                               5                7%
 Discrimination                                                            5                7%
 Poor accessibility of services                                            4                6%
 Transportation problems                                                   4                6%




                   Status of the safety net in   21        Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
“What concerns do you have about your agency’s ability to meet the needs of
immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers?” – selected comments:

        Funding and finding translators and finding helping professionals who can
        work with these populations. We have housing problems, also. We have
        lots of hidden bigotry in the community.

        We have a tough time finding bilingual volunteers. The crisis line doesn’t
        have bilinguals working so non-English speaking callers have a difficult
        time. No one in our agency speaks anything but [English and] Spanish.

        The cost per unit of service. When you have lots of different culture
        groups with different languages and cultural differences, meeting needs is
        that much more expensive per each culture. Each population is small but
        translations are needed for each one. Dollars are needed, staffing is
        needed, expertise is needed.

        Immigration issues – there is a lot of fear, partially caused by large amount
        of bureaucratic red tape.


The primary concern respondents had about their agency’s ability to meet the needs of
family farmers was that farmers are reluctant to seek assistance, often because they feel
too proud to ask for help (52%). Others mentioned that existing funding does not cover
the specific needs of farmers (19%) and that farmers often don’t qualify for existing
programs (7%).

19.   WHAT CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT YOUR AGENCY’S ABILITY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF FAMILY
      FARMERS? (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=27)

                                                                         Number            Percent
 Pride prevents them from asking for help; they don’t apply for             14                52%
 services
 Lack of funding for services that farmers need (retraining                  5                19%
 programs, debt relief, etc.)
 They don’t qualify for assistance                                           2                     7%
 Lack of access to services                                                  2                     7%




                   Status of the safety net in   22           Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
“What concerns do you have about your agency’s ability to meet the needs of family
farmers?” – selected comments:

        How do we do the outreach to them in a way they would be receptive to
        that? They usually do not approach us because of their sense of
        independence.

        Nothing we can do anything about. The farming community is very proud
        and doesn't like to ask for anything. It's not so much lack of our programs
        as much as their unwillingness to accept them.

        We try to let them know what's available to them but they are a proud
        group and hard to help. They are getting help with energy assistance.
        Many don't qualify for help, though.


Lack of funding (40%) was by far the most common concern respondents had about their
agency’s ability to help people with one-time emergency needs that do not meet
eligibility criteria for county or state assistance. Several others mentioned that existing
eligibility requirements are too strict.

20.   WHAT CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT YOUR AGENCY’S ABILITY TO HELP PEOPLE WITH ONE-TIME
      EMERGENCY ORITICAL NEEDS BUT DO NOT MEET ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR COUNTY OR STATE
      ASSISTANCE ? (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=62)

                                                                    Number            Percent
 Lack of funding                                                        25               40%
 Eligibility requirements are too strict                                 9               15%
 If the county or state can’t help, we can’t help                        5                8%
 Too much red tape                                                       5                7%
 We don’t know where to refer people with these needs                    3                    5%
 Housing shortage                                                        3                5%




                    Status of the safety net in     23   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
“What concerns do you have about your agency’s ability to meet one-time emergency
needs?” – selected comments:

        We try to help that population. We are last resort. We have very limited
        resources. Sometimes we have money and sometimes we don't. We run
        out. First come, first serve basis. It can go very fast.

        Access to funds is the most significant problem. Eligibility guidelines
        may be too high to reach many who are just above [the] poverty level.

        Our resources for crisis situations are not sufficient for the need that is out
        there (weatherization and rehabilitation has a long waiting list, housing
        shortages).

        Where to send them if they are not eligible?—usually housing and
        transportation are the problem areas.


At the end of the interview, key informants were asked if there were any other emergency
or basic service needs that had not yet been addressed. Access to prescription drugs was
mentioned by three respondents. Other issues were mentioned by one or two persons each.

21.   OTHER EMERGENCY AND BASIC SERVICE NEEDS NOT ADDRESSED BY THE SURVEY (MOST FREQUENT
      RESPONSES) (N=32)

                                                  Number     Percent
 Access to prescription drugs                        3           9%
 Job training                                        2           6%
 Legal assistance for low-income
 people                                              2           6%
 Services for people with disabilities               2           6%
 Short-term emergency foster care                    2           6%
 Flexible funding                                    2           6%




                    Status of the safety net in     24     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Adequacy of existing services
Key informants were asked to rate the adequacy of 36 different types of basic and
emergency services on a four-point scale:

1= much more than adequate
2= adequate
3= less than adequate
4= much less than adequate or simply not available.

The average ratings and basic frequencies are displayed in Figure 22.

Overall, the following services were identified as least adequate:

! Non-standard child care, especially sick child care, off-hours child care, and drop-in
  child care
! Housing assistance, especially homeless shelters and transitional housing programs
! Help with obtaining, maintaining, and repairing cars

More than half of all respondents rated sick child care (55%) and homeless shelters
(52%) as “much less than adequate or simply not available.” Around one-third of
respondents gave this same rating to transitional housing programs (32%), drop-in child
care (28%), and help with obtaining, maintaining, driving cars (27%).
Conversely, food assistance (food shelves and food stamps), utility bill assistance, and
access to medical providers and government-funded health coverage were viewed as
largely adequate by most respondents.

22.     ADEQUACY OF EXISTING SERVICES

                                                                                                  Much less than
                                                       Much more                                   adequate, or
                                              Mean        than                      Less than       simply not
                                              score*    adequate    Adequate        adequate         available
 Shelter/housing
      Homeless shelters                         3.3           --       19%             29%              52%
      Battered women’s shelters                 2.6          6%        49%             24%              21%
      Transitional housing programs             3.1           --       27%             41%              32%
      Subsidized rental housing                 2.7          3%        37%             50%              10%
      Access to funds for emergency
      housing repair                            2.7          7%        36%             43%              15%
      Access to mortgage foreclosure
      prevention funds                          2.7          5%        39%             42%              14%


                      Status of the safety net in       25         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
22.      ADEQUACY OF EXISTING SERVICES, CONTINUED

                                                                                                   Much less than
                                                        Much more                                   adequate, or
                                               Mean        than                      Less than       simply not
                                               score*    adequate    Adequate        adequate         available

 Food/clothing/furniture
      Emergency food shelves                     1.8      26%           65%              8%              1%
      Food shelves for ongoing use               2.0      20%           58%             20%              2%
      Food stamps                                1.9      19%           72%              8%              1%
      Free/ or low-cost clothing for
      adults                                     2.1      21%           50%             24%              4%
      Free or low-cost clothing for
      children                                   2.2      19%           45%             32%              4%
      Free or low-cost furniture                 2.9          1%        27%             51%              22%
      Free or low-cost work supplies
      (work boots, tools, uniforms)              2.9          2%        27%             51%              22%
 Utilities
      Utility bill payment assistance            2.1      12%           65%             21%              2%
      Emergency funds to repair or
      replace appliances, such as
      furnaces                                   2.7          1%        42%             44%              12%
 Transportation
      Help with car repairs                      2.9          1%        26%             58%              15%
      Other help with obtaining,
      maintaining and driving cars               3.1          1%        19%             52%              27%
      Access to transit services like
      shuttles, volunteer drivers,
      public busses, etc.)                       2.8          7%        33%             36%              24%
 Health care
  Access to government-funded
  health care (MA, MinnesotaCare)                2.1      11%           68%             18%              3%
      Access to employer-sponsored
      health insurance                           2.6          4%        35%             56%              5%
      Access to medical providers                2.0      17%           68%             13%              2%
      Access to mental health                    2.2      12%           58%             27%              3%
      Access to dental providers                 2.7          5%        40%             35%              19%
      Access to chemical dependency
      treatment                                  2.2          9%        67%             18%              6%




                       Status of the safety net in       26         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
22.      ADEQUACY OF EXISTING SERVICES, CONTINUED

                                                                                                       Much
                                                                                                     less than
                                                          Much                                      adequate,
                                               Mean     more than                    Less than     or simply not
                                               score*   adequate     Adequate        adequate        available

 Financial assistance
      Emergency financial assistance             2.3         8%         55%             34%              3%
      for families with children
      Emergency financial assistance             2.9         3%         22%             54%              21%
      for adults without children
      Emergency financial assistance             2.5         7%         41%             45%              7%
      for the elderly
      Consumer credit counseling                 2.4         7%         53%             32%              9%
 Child care
      Off-hours child care (evening,             3.3          --        11%             47%              42%
      weekend)
      Sick child care                            3.4         1%          9%             36%              55%
      Child care centers                         2.8         3%         30%             50%              17%
      In-home child care providers               2.5         6%         43%             44%              7%
      (licensed family child care)
      Drop-in child care                         3.1          --        20%             52%              28%
      Access to child care subsidies             2.6         3%         46%             39%              12%
      (Basic Sliding Fee Program,
      MFIP child care subsidy and
      transitional year)
 Services for immigrants and
 refugees
      Translators for emergency                  2.7         3%         46%             39%              12%
      services
      Other services for immigrants,             2.5         6%         45%             41%              8%
      refugees, and migrant workers
      (such as ESL classes and
      culturally appropriate services)

Note:         1= much more than adequate, 2= adequate, 3= less than adequate, 4= much less than adequate or
simply not available.




                       Status of the safety net in      27          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
Suggestions and strategies for improving services and policies
When respondents rated any of the above items as “less than adequate” or “much less
than adequate”, they were asked what should be done to improve these services. Figure
23 displays the most common suggestions for services considered “much less than
adequate or simply not available” by at least one-quarter of respondents.

23.     SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE LEAST-ADEQUATE SERVICES (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES)

                                                                         Number            Percent
 Homeless shelters (n=88)
      None available, need to develop one in this area                       34               39%
      More sites, expand existing shelters                                   28               32%
      Increase funding for shelters                                          21               24%
 Transitional housing programs (n=71)
      More sites, expand existing programs                                   33               47%
      None available, need to develop one in this area                       15               21%
      Increase funding for transitional housing programs                     12               17%
 Help with obtaining, maintaining, and driving cars (n=74)
      Increase funding for car loans, car donation, and other car
      programs                                                               22               30%
      None available, need to develop programs in this area                  10               14%
      Offer classes on auto maintenance                                       8               11%
 Off-hours child care (n=89)
      Provide incentives, tax breaks for businesses                          21               24%
      None available, need to develop programs in this area                  20               23%
      Increase funding for off-hour child care providers/programs            14               16%
 Sick child care (n=87)
      None available, need to develop programs in this area                  27               31%
      Increase funding for providers, programs                               15               17%
      Provide incentives, tax breaks for businesses                          12               14%
 Drop-in child care (n=74)
      More sites, expand existing programs                                   19               26%
      None available, need to develop programs in this area                  19               26%
      Provide incentives, tax breaks for businesses                          13               18%




                      Status of the safety net in   28        Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Asked to choose just one type of basic service that would be most important to improve
in their part of the state, respondents most often named affordable housing (38%),
transportation (18%), and child care (11%).

24.   KEY INFORMANTS’ TOP PRIORITIES FOR MAKING IMPROVEMENTS TO BASIC SERVICES (MOST
      FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=120)

                                                                    Number            Percent
 Affordable housing                                                     45               38%
 Transportation                                                         22               18%
 Child care                                                             13               11%
 Health care (including Medical Assistance, insurance
 coverage, access to dental care)                                        6                    5%
 Education, career development, training programs                        5                    4%
 Increase wages, increase the minimum wage                               4                    3%
 Homeless shelters, transitional housing programs                        4                    3%
 Cultural diversity, decrease racism                                     4                    3%




In order to capture more specific suggestions, respondents were also asked what should
be done to improve basic assistance services at the agency for which they work.
Increased funding (46%) and more staff and/or volunteers (13%) were the most common
suggestions.

25.   CAN YOU THINK OF ANYTHING THAT WOULD IMPROVE BASIC ASSISTANCE SERVICES AT YOUR
      AGENCY? (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=96)

                                                                    Number            Percent
 Increase funding                                                       44               46%
 More staff or volunteers                                               12               13%
 Provide more help with housing                                         11               11%
 Collaborate with other organizations                                    9                    9%
 Serve more non-English-speaking clients, hire staff who speak
 languages other than English                                            9                    9%
 Loosen eligibility requirements                                         8                    8%
 Provide transportation for clients and/or volunteers                    8                    8%
 Decrease “red tape”                                                     6                    6%
 Nothing                                                                 6                    6%




                   Status of the safety net in   29      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Key informants were also asked to generate suggestions for improving the availability of
affordable housing in their area. The most common suggestion was to build and renovate
more housing units (44%). Others talked about expanding the availability of the Section
8 program (government-subsidized vouchers) (11%) or reducing the cost of housing in
some other unspecified way (8%).

26.   WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE DONE TO INCREASE THE AVAILABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN
      YOUR AREA? (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=99)

                                                                     Number            Percent
 Build more housing units, renovate more units                           44               44%
 Increase availability of Section 8 housing                              11               11%
 Reduce the cost of housing                                               8                    8%
 Provide incentives for builders of low–cost housing                      7                    7%
 Community needs to work together                                         7                    7%
 Make government help more flexible and accessible                        6                    6%
 Increase funding for housing programs                                    6                    6%
 Create an easier building environment                                    5                    5%




Most key informants (78%) said their organization had a role to play in addressing the
housing shortage. Working with others (25%) and contributing ideas and information
(24%) were offered by several respondents as ways their organization could play a role in
this area.

27.   WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK YOUR AGENCY COULD PLAY IN INCREASING THE AVAILABILITY OF
      AFFORDABLE HOUSING? (MOST FREQUENT RESPONSES) (N=71)

                                                                     Number            Percent
 Work with others                                                        18               25%
 Contribute ideas and information                                        17               24%
 Provide affordable housing                                               7               10%
 Raise public awareness, publicize the need for housing                   7               10%
 Advocate for special populations (homeless, refugees, etc.)              6                    9%
 Increase funding for housing programs                                    6                    9%
 Get resources                                                            4                    6%
 Organize others                                                          4                    6%




                   Status of the safety net in   30       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Discussion

How do key informants feel about welfare reform and the ability of area
residents to reach long-term self-sufficiency?
Key informants gave mixed reviews of the impact of welfare reform on service needs in
their area. Some felt that the change from AFDC to MFIP has had little or no effect,
while others cited positive changes or negative changes. Most respondents did identify
increased service needs associated with the transition from welfare to work, particularly
in the areas of transportation and health insurance.

With the exception of child care – which was seen as the primary challenge to self-
sufficiency for families with children – respondents identified very similar barriers for
adults with and without children. Large proportions of respondents identified the lack of
living wage jobs, transportation, and housing as problems standing in the way of long-
term self-sufficiency for the region’s residents.

What do key informants identify as the biggest unmet needs?
Key informants were asked to identify unmet needs in a variety of ways. Regardless of
how the question was framed, the following needs rose to the top as critical issues for the
region:

! Affordable housing
! Child care, especially care that is affordable, flexible, and available during non-
  standard hours and for sick children
! Transportation, especially personal vehicles
! Affordable health insurance

What suggestions do key informants have for improving basic and
emergency services?
Increased funding for basic services was a recurring suggestion among respondent
comments. Key informants continually remarked that more resources are necessary to
serve the existing needs, particularly in the areas discussed above. Tax breaks and other
business incentives were suggested as a way to get businesses to provide off-hour and
sick child care for their employees. Others called for increased collaboration, decreased
“red tape”, simplified eligibility criteria, and more interpreters and culturally-appropriate
programming.




                   Status of the safety net in   31     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Key informants’ suggestions about how to address the housing shortage focused on
preventing homelessness by increasing the supply of affordable housing, as well as on
providing shelters and transitional housing programs to meet short-term needs. Many
urged that more housing units need to be built and that housing subsidies should be
increased. Several other comments emphasized that existing homeless shelters and
transitional housing programs should be expanded and that new ones should be
developed in areas of the region that simply do not have theses resources.




                   Status of the safety net in   32   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Interviews with current and former MFIP participants

Methods

In July through November 1999, Wilder Research Center conducted telephone interviews
with 395 MFIP participants around the state as part of an evaluation study for the
McKnight Foundation. Forty-two of these interviews were conducted with residents of
the southeastern area of the state (Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston,
Mower, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona counties). Although these interviews were
not conducted for this needs assessment, the findings are relevant and are therefore being
reported here. Comparisons are presented between the southeast sample and samples
from other areas of greater Minnesota.

Survey participants were randomly selected from a list of adults who were receiving
MFIP at some point between July 1998 and January 1999. Contact information (name,
address, and phone number) was provided to Wilder Research Center by the Minnesota
Department of Human Services. Potential respondents were invited to participate in the
study through a letter mailed to their home. Trained interviewers conducted the
interviews using computer-assisted telephone interview technology (CATI). Participants
were given a $15 gift certificate for participating in the study. All interviews were
conducted in English.

Forty-two of 64 eligible participants were interviewed in southeast Minnesota, for a
66 percent response rate. The response rate among all other greater Minnesota sites was
63 percent.

28.     RESPONDENT RESIDENCE BY MCKNIGHT CASE STUDY SITE AREAS

                                      N eligible cases        N completes            Response rate
 Southeast                                    64                  42                        66%
 Total Other Greater
 Minnesota Sample                            382                 242                        63%
      Southwest                               64                  41                        64%
      Central                                 60                  44                        73%
      East Central                            55                  40                        73%
      North Central                           72                  40                        56%
      Clay County                             67                  35                        52%




                      Status of the safety net in        33     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
       29.                   MCKNIGHT WELFARE TO WORK PARTNERSHIP SITES




KITTSON                              ROSEAU




    MARSHALL                                                  LAKE OF THE
                                                                WOODS                         KOOCHICHING


           16                                  BELTRAMI


POLK             PENNINGTON                                                                                                                     ST. LOUIS
                                                                                                                                                                                     COOK

                                                                          4
                                                                                                                                                                       LAKE
                         RED LAKE
                                                                                                     ITASCA


                                                                                                                                                 11
                                                 CLEARWATER




   NORMAN                           MAHNOMEN
                                                                                       CASS
                                                                             HUBBARD




       CLAY
                                       18                                               12        Case study sites:
         3
                                                                                                       AITKIN
                                                                                                  1. Anoka County
                       BECKER
                                                      CROW
                                                                              CARLTON
                                                                                                  2. Communities Investing in Families
                                                                          WADENA




                     OTTER TAIL                        WING
       WILKIN
                                                                                                      (East Central)
                                                                                                  3. Clay County
                       15            TODD
                                                                               PINE               4. Headwaters
                                             10               MILLE
                                                              LACS
                                                                                                  5. Hennepin – South Minneapolis
                                                                                                  6. Hennepin – South Suburban
                                                                                                                 KANABEC




                 GRANT    DOUGLAS

                                                                           2
              TRAVERSE




                                                MORRISON
                                                                                                  7. Ramsey County
                      24                STEARNS
                                                      BENTON
                                                                   ISANTI
                                                                                                  8. Southeast
                                                                                                  9. Southwest
                                                                                                                           WASHINGTON CHISAGO




        BIG
       STONE STEVENS        POPE               22 SHERBURNE                                       10. Tri-County (Todd, Morrison, Crow Wing)
                                                                                                  Other partnerships:
                                                                      1
                        SWIFT
                                                              KANDIYOHI




                                                        WRIGHT                                    11. Arrowhead
                                                               14                23
                                            MEEKER
                                                                                                  12. Cass County/Leach Lake
                                                                          7
                      CHIPPEWA

                                        17 MCLEOD              6                                  13. Dakota County
                                                          CARVER 5
              LAC QUI
               PARLE                                                                              14. Hennepin County (5 non-case study sites)
            YELLOW MEDICINE
                                                              19                                  15. Otter Tail/Wadena/Wilkin
                                                                         13
                                    RENVILLE                            DAKOTA

                     LYON                         SIBLEY       SCOTT                              16. Northwest
                         LINCOLN




                            REDWOOD
                                                                                                  17. Kandiyohi/McLeod/Meeker/Renville
                                                                                                   SUEUR




                                                                            GOODHUE
                                               NICOLLET

                      9
                                                                                                     LE




                                                                                                  18. Becker/Mahnomen/White Earth
                                                   20
                                                                                     WABASHA
                                     BROWN                            RICE
                                                                                                  19. Scott/Carver
                                                                                                       WASECA




                                                                                    21
                                                                                                                STEELE




                                                                                                                                                DODGE




                                                                                                           20. South Central
             PIPE-
            STONE MURRAY
                                COTTON-
                                  WOOD
                                           WATON-
                                            WAN
                                                      BLUE
                                                     EARTH                 8 OLMSTED WINONA                21. Olmsted County
                                                                                                           22. Tri-County (Stearns, Sherburne,
                                                                                                               Benton, Wright)
            ROCK     NOBLES     JACKSON     MARTIN   FARIBAULT FREEBORN      MOWER     FILLMORE HOUSTON
                                                                                                           23. Washington County
                                                                                                           24. West Central


          Note: Total number of sites listed here exceeds 22 because Hennepin county is a single partnership with
          seven distinct sites, two of which were case study sites.
                                                Status of the safety net in                                      34                                     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
                                   southeast and south-central Minnesota
Results

Respondent characteristics

Demographic characteristics
All southeast respondents were either White (84%) or Hispanic (17%). All but one
southeast respondent was female and the average age was 30. Respondent households
had a mean number of 1.8 adults and 2.2 children. Southeast respondents were more
likely to have two or fewer children in their household (74%) than were respondents from
other parts of Greater Minnesota (68%).

None of the southeast respondents were recent immigrants; all had lived in the US for at
least five years. This was very similar to the Other Greater Minnesota sample, which
included only one recent immigrant.

30.   RACE AND ETHNICITY OF RESPONDENTS (N=241)

                                                         Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                             Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 White                                              35               83%             156               78%
 Black                                                                                 2                1%
 Asian                                                                                 2                1%
 Hispanic                                            7               17%              13                7%
 Native American                                                                      26               13%




31.   NUMBER OF CHILDREN UNDER AGE 18 IN RESPONDENT’S HOUSEHOLD (N=242)

                                                         Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                             Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 0-2 children in household                          31               74%             135               68%
 3 or more children in household                    11               26%              65               33%




                      Status of the safety net in           35         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
History of welfare dependence
All respondents were receiving MFIP at some point between July 1998 and January 1999.
At the time the interviews were conducted (July-November 1999), more than half of the
southeast respondents were no longer receiving MFIP (55%), compared to 42 percent of
those in other parts of greater Minnesota.

32.     ARE YOU CURRENTLY RECEIVING MFIP?* (N=242)

                                                        Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                            Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Yes                                               19               45%             117               59%
 No                                                23               55%              83               42%

Note:       All respondents were receiving MFIP at some point between July 1998 and January 1999.




About two-thirds of southeast respondents (62%) said they had been on welfare for three
years or less during their entire adult lifetime, compared to 39 percent of those in other
parts of the state.

33A. LENGTH OF TIME ON WELFARE OVER ENTIRE ADULT LIFETIME (N=241)

                                                        Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                            Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Less than one year                                13               31%              22               11%
 One to three years                                13               31%              56               28%
 More than three years but less
 than five years                                   7                17%              46               23%
 Longer than five years                            9                21%              75               38%




33B. LENGTH OF TIME ON WELFARE OVER ENTIRE ADULT LIFETIME AND DICHOTOMOUS VARIABLE (N=241)

                                                        Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                            Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Short-term Dependency (0-3
 years on welfare)                                 26               62%              78               39%
 Long-term Dependency (more
 than 3 years on welfare)                          16               38%             121               61%


                     Status of the safety net in           36         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
34.    DID THE HOUSEHOLD YOU GREW UP IN RECEIVE WELFARE? (N=238)

                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                           Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Yes                                               7               17%              67               34%
 No                                               35               83%             129               66%




Work activities and income
Compared to respondents from other areas of greater Minnesota, southeast residents were
more likely to report that they were employed, had more than one job, were in school,
and were working more than forty hours per week. Almost two-thirds of southeast
participants (67%) were employed at the time of the interview. Among these
respondents, almost one third (29%) had two or more jobs and one third (33%) were
working more than 40 hours per week. The median hourly wage for southeast
respondents was $7.75 per hour, compared to $6.93 per hour in other parts of greater
Minnesota.

35.    CURRENT WORK, SCHOOL, OR TRAINING

                                                                              Percent responding “yes”
                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                           Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Are you working now?                             28               67%             127               64%
 Do you have more than one
 job?                                              8               29%               22              17%
 Are you in any school or
 training program right now?                       7               17%               28              14%




36.    AVERAGE NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED PER WEEK (N=154)

                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                           Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Less than 20 hours per week                                                        13               10%
 Twenty to 40 hours per week                      18               67%              85               67%
 More than 40 hours per week                      9                33%              29               23%




                    Status of the safety net in           37         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
37.   MEDIAN INCOME OF RESPONDENTS

                                                                Percent responding “yes”
                                                                                 Other Greater
                                                                Southeast         Minnesota
 Median hourly wage (n=150)                                          $7.75             $6.93
 Median monthly take-home income (n=155)                          $800.00           $700.00




Experience and satisfaction with MFIP

Benefits and problems associated with MFIP
Survey participants from the southeast region and other parts of greater Minnesota
reported very similar levels of satisfaction with MFIP. The vast majority of southeast
respondents (91%) said that MFIP had helped them in some way. Help with basic needs,
such as paying bills (32%), buying food (26%), getting medical coverage (24%), and
paying for housing (13%), were cited by many as ways that MFIP had helped them.
Several respondents also mentioned that MFIP had helped them to go to school (18%)
and get child care (13%).

About one third of southeast respondents (38%) said that MFIP had caused problems for
them, citing problems with MFIP workers, disliking the work requirements, lack of
access to education, loss of benefits, and unpredictable income fluctuations.

38.   HELPFULNESS OF MFIP

                                                                Percent responding “yes”
                                                                                 Other Greater
                                                                Southeast         Minnesota
 Has MFIP helped you in any way?                                     91%               90%
 Has MFIP caused any problems for you?                               38%               37%




                   Status of the safety net in   38   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
39.   HOW HAS MFIP HELPED YOU? (MOST COMMON RESPONSES) (OPEN-ENDED QUESTION ASKED OF
      THOSE RESPONDING THAT MFIP HAD HELPED THEM IN SOME WAY; N=38 RESPONDENTS)

                                                                               Respondents
Response                                                                 Number            Percent
 Increased income (helped to pay bills in general)                          12               32%
 Got food or Food Stamps, able to feed family                               10               26%
 Got Medical Assistance, health insurance, help with medical bills            9              24%
 Able to go to school, finish education                                       7              18%
 Got housing help, help paying rent                                           5              13%
 Got help with child care (help finding a provider, paying for
 care, etc.)                                                                  5              13%
 Stabilized family, helped “get back on my feet”, back-up support             5              13%




“How has MFIP helped you?” – selected comments:

        It’s helped make ends meet when I didn’t make enough. They told me
        how I could get a loan to get a car through Three Rivers Community
        Action.

        Helped show me that I needed to get a job. Gave us Food Stamps and
        MA. They’re forceful about my getting a job.

        It allowed me to finish school in a shorter amount of time than I would
        have otherwise.

        For [the] first three months after my son’s birth, I couldn’t work. It helped
        me get on my feet. After I got MFIP, I was able to get a house and a job
        and they paid for child care.

        Well, when I was unemployed it helped in paying daycare so I could look
        for employment. When I did find employment it still paid daycare for one
        month so I could get on my feet.




                   Status of the safety net in   39          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
40.   WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS HAS MFIP CAUSED FOR YOU? (MOST COMMON RESPONSES) (OPEN-
      ENDED QUESTION ASKED OF THOSE RESPONDING THAT MFIP HAD CAUSED PROBLEMS FOR THEM;
      N=16 RESPONDENTS)

                                                                               Respondents
Response                                                                 Number            Percent
 Worker is insensitive, rude, mean                                            2              13%
 Worker lacks skills or knowledge                                             2              13%
 Forced to work or look for work despite reasons not to                       2              13%
 Lack of education, couldn’t go to school or finish school                    2              13%
 Lost assistance, reduced benefits, got sanctioned                            2              13%
 Income fluctuates too much to plan                                           2              13%




Participant suggestions for improving MFIP
Most southeast respondents (80%) had suggestions for improving MFIP, although
20 percent said nothing needed to change because the program is working well as it is.
One quarter of respondents (24%) called for improvements in the administration of the
program and the delivery of MFIP services, citing problems with too much paperwork,
slow communication with workers, disrespectful workers, and confusing rules and
procedures. Others suggested that more help should be provided for job searches, that the
income disregards should be more generous and gradual, that more child care help should
be provided, and that individualized case planning should be emphasized.

41.   IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF MFIP AND WANTED TO MAKE IT BETTER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? (MOST
      COMMON RESPONSES) (OPEN-ENDED QUESTION ASKED OF ALL RESPONDENTS; N=41 RESPONDENTS)

                                                                               Respondents
Response                                                                 Number            Percent
 Improve program administration, MFIP service delivery (e.g.,
 reduce amount of paperwork, faster response from workers,
 more respectful workers, clearer rules, etc.)                              10               24%
 Nothing—keep it the way it is, program is good as is                         8              20%
 Provide more help job search                                                 4              10%
 Make income disregards more generous and gradual                             4              10%
 Provide more help with child care (e.g., more help paying for
 care, help with sick child care, reduce or eliminate time limit on
 child care assistance)                                                       4              10%
 Provide more individualized case planning                                    4              10%


                    Status of the safety net in   40         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
“If you were in charge of MFIP and wanted to make it better what would you do?” –
selected comments:

       I don’t know, I think it’s a pretty good program the way they got it set up
       now.

       Less demeaning when you apply for it. I felt like I was sub-human when I
       applied for assistance. A little bit more understandable. Most of the laws
       are written by and for attorneys, not for real people. It’s very difficult if
       you can’t understand legal jargon. Most people on MFIP are not very well
       educated. Most recipients of MFIP can’t comprehend the rules.

       I’d let everybody who went out to work keep their money for at least a
       year and then start taking them off. One month you’re up on top of the
       world and the next month you don’t got nothing because they don’t give
       you anything. Then they could put some of it away and then they’d have
       something to fall back on.

       That they would help us get into a job, go over job applications and
       explain them; help us get clothes and get dental work so we look
       presentable. Also, provide more daycare.

       I guess like I said before, more job opportunities, more awareness of this.
       I guess maybe like help with daycare, child care assistance and places for
       the child to go; i.e. a list of different daycares.

       Probably more counseling. Make each case individual, rather than by the
       mass.


Barriers to self-sufficiency
MFIP recipients were asked, “Do you think you will be able to get off welfare within the
time limits?” More than half of these southeast respondents were confident they would;
56 percent responded “definitely yes.” Another 38 percent said “probably yes”, while
only one participant said “definitely no.” Southeast participants were slightly more
optimistic about getting off welfare than were residents from other areas of the state.




                   Status of the safety net in   41    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
42.     DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE ABLE TO GET OFF WELFARE WITHIN THE TIME LIMITS? (N=128)*

                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                            Number             Percent          Number             Percent
 Definitely yes                                    9               56%              54               48%
 Probably yes                                      6               38%              44               39%
 Probably no                                                                        10                9%
 Definitely no                                     1               6%                4                4%

Note:       Question asked only of those currently on MFIP.


All respondents who were still on MFIP at the time of the interview were asked, “When
you think about the future, what do you see as the main barriers that might make it
difficult for you to get off welfare when the time limit comes?” One-quarter of these
southeast participants (26%) cited the lack of livable wage jobs as a barrier to getting off
welfare. Others mentioned the lack of affordable housing (21%), having a disability
(21%), or lack of education (16%).

43.     WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MAIN BARRIERS THAT MIGHT MAKE
        IT DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO GET OFF WELFARE WHEN THE TIME LIMIT COMES? (MOST COMMON
        RESPONSES) (OPEN-ENDED QUESTION ASKED OF RESPONDENTS CURRENTLY RECEIVING MFIP; N=19
        RESPONDENTS)

                                                                                       Respondents
Response                                                                         Number            Percent
 Low paying jobs, cost of living is too high compared to wages                        5              26%
 Housing problem, lack of affordable housing                                          4              21%
 Disability (physical or mental)                                                      4              21%
 Lack of education, couldn’t go to school or finish degree, lack
 of skills                                                                            3              16%


“When you think about the future, what do you see as the main barriers that might make
if difficult for you to get off welfare when the time limit comes?” – selected comments:

          Income. Right now I need to make on an average of twelve dollars an
          hour because my family is so large. I can’t work a seven dollar [an hour]
          job. I need more money.

          Finding housing because that’s so expensive nowadays…



                     Status of the safety net in          42         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
        The only problem is that I can’t work. I wish I could work because I
        would make more per week than I do per month. But I’m disabled so I
        can’t work.

        My lack of education. I need my GED and don’t know how to get it. And
        I’d like to have training to be a nurse’s aid. Our rent is too high. We need
        a program that would help us buy a house. I need a good job but can’t
        work for many months because of the surgeries I’ve had.


Those who were no longer on MFIP at the time of the interview were asked, “When you
think about your future, what do you see as the main barriers that might make it difficult
for you to stay off welfare?” Half of the southeast respondents saw no barriers to self-
sufficiency. Others reported concerns about job security (9%), low wages (9%), and lack
of education (9%).

44.   WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MAIN BARRIERS THAT MIGHT
      MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO STAY OFF WELFARE? (MOST COMMON RESPONSES) (OPEN-ENDED
      QUESTION ASKED OF RESPONDENTS NOT CURRENTLY RECEIVING MFIP; N=22 RESPONDENTS)

                                                                            Respondents
Response                                                              Number            Percent
 Nothing                                                                 11               50%
 Job security concerns (if I or my partner loses job)                      2                   9%
 Low paying jobs, cost of living too high compared to wages                2                   9%
 Lack of education, can’t go to school or finish degree                    2                   9%


“When you think about the future, what do you see as the main barriers that might make
it difficult for you to stay off welfare?” – selected comments:

        I don’t see any. I’m already off and don’t expect to be on again unless
        circumstances drastically change in my life.

        I guess I really don’t know because I’ve been off it for a year now and
        everything is going fine now with my employment.

        I don’t know. Minimum wage jobs.

        Just I suppose that I have a daughter now and if I was ever in the situation
        of not having a job or employment, that would be an easy thing to fall
        back on.


                   Status of the safety net in   43       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Use of, need for, and satisfaction with welfare-to-work support
services
In order to assess the use of and need for the types of resources provided by the
McKnight Foundation’s welfare-to-work initiative, respondents were asked if they had
received a wide variety of specific transportation, child care, job-related, and other
support services within the past three months. For each type of service, those who had
not received it were asked whether or not they needed such a service.

Overall, the following types of services were most commonly received by southeast
respondents within the past three months:

! Help paying for child care (33%)
! Help at work from a mentor or someone else who supports and encourages you at
  work (29%)
! Training for a specific kind of job (26%)
Overall, the most common areas of unmet need for southeast participants were:

! Help with car repairs (35%)
! Free or low-cost car (29%)
! Help paying for child care (21%)
! Mentoring program (other than at your workplace) where you get personal support
  and encouragement (21%)
! Help getting your child involved in activities or tutoring (21%)
! Emergency money or vouchers for expenses such as utility payments or rent (21%)
! Help finding referrals for other kinds of resources (21%)

Overall, southeast respondents reported similar rates of service use as did those from
other areas of greater Minnesota. About half of southeast respondents said that they had
gotten help with job placement, training, or retention, which is not surprising considering
that these services are offered through the MFIP program, as well as by many other
providers. Southeast participants had somewhat fewer unmet needs than did other
residents. Over half of southeast participants, however, said that they had at least one
unmet transportation (57%) or other support service need (60%).




                   Status of the safety net in   44    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
45.     SUMMARY OF SERVICES USED AND UNMET NEEDS BY SERVICE TYPE (N=242)

                                                                                              Other Greater
Service use—received at least one service per category                       Southeast         Minnesota
      Transportation                                                             43%               47%
      Child Care                                                                 36%               37%
      Job-Related                                                                52%               45%
      Other Support Services*                                                    43%               49%
    Unmet Need—at least one unmet need per service category**
      Transportation                                                             57%               69%
      Child Care                                                                 31%               42%
      Job-Related                                                                17%               34%
      Other Support Services*                                                    60%               50%

*     Includes counseling, mentoring, activities for children, help understanding MFIP rules, emergency
      money, help with housing, and referrals

** Percent of respondents who did not receive but needed at least one service in this category.




                      Status of the safety net in     45           Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Transportation
Overall, 43 percent of southeast respondents reported receiving some kind of help with
transportation over the past 3 months. A ride from a volunteer driver (17%) and help
with car repairs (12%) were the most commonly used services.

Over half of participants (57%) said they needed but did not receive some kind of help
with transportation. Help with accessing and maintaining a car were the areas of greatest
unmet need; help with car repairs (35%), a free or low-cost car (29%), and help getting a
car loan (15%) topped the list.

46.   USE OF AND NEED FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

                                          Received This Service          Did Not Receive This Service
                                                                                     Needed This Service
                                                                                        (Unmet Need)
 Service                                    Number         Percent      Number        Number        Percent
 Help getting a car loan                         3           7%            39             6              15%
 Free or low-cost car                            1           2%            41           12               29%
 Help with car repairs                           5          12%            37           13               35%
 Help with driving lessons                       0              -          42             1              2%
 Help with getting car insurance or
 clearing your record to get
 insurance or a license                           2          5%            40             4              10%
 Help with other car-related
 expenses                                        5          12%            37             5              14%
 Help using buses                                2           5%            40             1              3%
 Help from a van pool                            0          -              42             1              2%
 A ride from a volunteer driver                   7         17%            35             5              14%
 Help with some other kind of
 group transportation                            2           5%            40             2              5%
 Any other kind of transportation
 help                                            1           2%
 Total respondents who received at
 least one kind of transportation
 service                                         18         43%
 Total respondents with at least one
 unmet transportation need                       24         57%




                   Status of the safety net in        46            Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Child care services
Overall, 36 percent of southeast respondents reported receiving some kind of help with
child care over the past three months. Help paying for child care was by far the most
common type of service received (33%), which is not surprising considering that most
respondents were likely eligible for state child care subsidies.

One-third of participants also reported having an unmet child care need. Help paying for
child care (21%), help finding before or after-school care, and help making back-up or
substitute care plans were the most frequently needed services.

47.   USE OF AND NEED FOR CHILD CARE SERVICES

                                           Received This Service        Did Not Receive This Service
                                                                                    Needed This Service
                                                                                       (Unmet Need)
 Service                                     Number         Percent    Number        Number        Percent
 Help finding regular daytime child
 care                                             2           5%          40             3              8%
 Help finding before or after school
 care for school-aged children                    0            -          42             2              5%
 Help finding other off-hour child
 care including over night, early
 morning, evening or weekend                      2           5%          40             7          18%
 Help finding child care for a sick
 child                                            0            -          42             4          10%
 Help finding drop-in child care                  2           5%          40             5          13%
 Help paying for child care                       14         33%          28             6          21%
 Help making back-up or substitute
 child care plans                                 1           2%          41             7          17%
 Help setting up your own in-home
 child care service                               1           2%          41             0              -
 Any other kind of child care help                 1        2.4%
 Total respondents who received
 at least one kind of child care
 service                                          15         36%
 Total respondents with at least
 one unmet child care need                        13         31%




                    Status of the safety net in        47          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Job placement, training, and retention services
Overall, 52 percent of southeast respondents reported getting some kind of help with
getting or keeping a job over the past three months. Help at work from a mentor or
someone else who provides support and encouragement on the job (29%) and job training
(26%) were most commonly reported.

Only 17 percent of participants said they needed but did not get help with some kind of
job-related service. The most common unmet need was for work and interview clothes
(16%).

48.   USE OF AND NEED FOR JOB-RELATED SERVICES

                                           Received This Service        Did Not Receive This Service
                                                                                    Needed This Service
                                                                                       (Unmet Need)
 Service                                     Number         Percent    Number        Number        Percent
 Help finding a job, including Job
 Club or help with resumes,
 interviewing and job listings                    10         24%          32             0               -
 Training on what employers
 expect (soft skills)                             10         24%          32             0               -
 Training for a specific kind of job              11         26%          31             0               -
 Help at work from a mentor or
 someone else who supports and
 encourages you at work                           12         29%          30             2              7%
 English or ESL classes                            0          -           42             0               -
 Clothes closet or clothes shelf to
 get free clothes for interviews or
 work                                             4          10%          38             6          16%
 Some other kind of help with
 getting or keeping a job                          3          7%
 Total respondents who received
 at least one kind employment or
 training service                                 22         52%
 Total respondents with at least
 one employment or training need                   7         17%




                    Status of the safety net in        48          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Other support services
Overall, 43 percent of southeast respondents said they received some kind of other
support service within the past three months. Individual counseling or a support group
(14%) and emergency funds (12%) were most commonly used.

Over half of the respondents (60%) identified unmet support service needs. Mentoring
(21%), activities and tutoring for children (21%), emergency funds (21%), and referrals
to other resources (21%) were needed but not received by several participants.

49.   USE OF AND NEED FOR OTHER SUPPORT SERVICES

                                           Received This Service        Did Not Receive This Service
                                                                                    Needed This Service
                                                                                       (Unmet Need)
 Service                                     Number         Percent    Number        Number        Percent
 Individual counseling or a support
 group                                            6          14%          36             6          17%
 Mentoring program other than at
 your workplace where you get
 personal support or
 encouragement                                    3           7%          39             8          21%
 Help getting your child involved in
 activities or tutoring                           3           7%          39             8          21%
 Help understanding MFIP rules                     3          7%          39             4          10%
 Help dealing with legal problems
 or getting fair treatment                        4          10%          38             6          16%
 Emergency money or vouchers
 for expenses such as utility
 payments or rent                                 5          12%          37             8          21%
 Help finding or keeping housing                   3          7%          39             7          18%
 Help finding referrals for other
 kinds of resources                               2           5%          39             8          21%
 Other kinds of help to make the
 transition from welfare to work                  7          17%
 Total respondents who received
 at least one kind of other support
 service                                          18         43%
 Total respondents with at least
 one unmet Other Support Service
 need                                             25         60%




                    Status of the safety net in        49          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Food Stamps and medical coverage
Interview participants were also asked about their use of and need for Medical Assistance
and Food Stamps. Three-quarters (76%) of southeast respondents said they had Medical
Assistance or some other type of medical coverage, compared to 88 percent of residents in
other parts of greater Minnesota. Southeast residents were also significantly less likely to
have received Food Stamps; 52 percent of southeast respondents were getting Food
Stamps, compared to 74 percent of those in other parts of the state. Southeast participants
were more likely to report needing help with medical coverage than with Food Stamps;
over half (60%) of those who did not have any medical coverage said they needed it.

50.   USE OF AND NEED FOR MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AND FOOD STAMPS

                                                                                  Percent responding “yes”
                                                                                                  Other Greater
                                                                                  Southeast        Minnesota
 Have you received Medical Assistance or had medical coverage in
                                                                                        76%               88%
 the past three months? (n=242)
 Have you needed Medical Assistance or medical coverage in the
                                                                                        60%               46%
 past three months? (n=34)
 Have you received Food Stamps in the past three months? (n=242)                        52%               74%
 Have you needed Food Stamps in the past three months? (n=72)                           20%               35%




Current family well-being and self-sufficiency

Child well-being
The majority of southeast respondents (88%) said that they had always been able to meet
their children’s basic food needs during the past 3 months, indicating that 12 percent of
the families had recently faced some problems providing food.

51.   HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO MEET YOUR KIDS’ BASIC NEEDS FOR FOOD DURING THE PAST THREE
      MONTHS? (N=240)

                                                      Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                          Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Always                                          37               88%             152               77%
 Most of the time                                 4               10%              38               19%
 Some of the time                                 1               2%                5                3%
 Seldom                                                                             3                2%




                   Status of the safety net in           50         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
About one-fourth of southeast respondents (24%) said that their children had needs they
could not currently meet. When asked to describe their children’s needs, most of these
respondents cited needs for clothing (back-to-school and winter) and tutoring.

52.    DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR CHILDREN HAVE ANY OTHER NEEDS RIGHT NOW THAT YOU CAN’T MEET?
       (N=242)

                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                           Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Yes                                              10               24%              68               34%
 No                                               32               76%             132               66%


Most parents said they were “definitely” or “mostly” able to spend enough time with their
children (83%).

53.    DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR CHILDREN GET TO SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH YOU AS THEY NEED TO?
       (N=241)

                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                           Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Definitely yes                                   18               43%              87               44%
 Mostly yes                                       17               41%              61               31%
 Mostly no                                         2               5%               33               17%
 Definitely no                                     5                12              18                9%


Resource stability
Most southeast respondents (88%) said that they had enough money to pay for at least
most of their monthly bills, compared to 73 percent of those from other parts of the state.
None of the southeast respondents reported being homeless within the three months prior
to the interview.

54.    DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY YOUR BILLS THIS MONTH? (N=241)

                                                       Southeast               Other Greater Minnesota
                                           Number              Percent          Number             Percent
 Yes, all of them                                 16               39%              75               38%
 Yes, most of them                                20               49%              72               36%
 No                                               5                12%              53               27%



                    Status of the safety net in           51         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Summary and discussion

How are families from southeast Minnesota faring under welfare
reform?
Residents of southeastern Minnesota appear to be leaving the welfare roles more quickly
than those in other rural areas of the state. Southeast respondents in this sample were
more likely to have gotten off MFIP and to have shorter histories of welfare use than
were those from other areas of Minnesota. Large proportions of southeast participants
also reported working and going to school, while nearly one-third of employed
respondents were working more than one job and just as many were working more than
40 hours per week. Wages are also slightly higher for southeast participants.

Overall, current and former MFIP recipients from the southeast region appear to be doing
a better job of meeting their families’ needs than are those from other areas of greater
Minnesota. According to parent perceptions, most children are getting their basic needs
met and many families appear to be making progress towards self-sufficiency.

How do families in southeast Minnesota feel about MFIP?
Many of the survey participants seemed to be satisfied with the MFIP program. They
appreciated the help MFIP had provided them with basic necessities, as well as increased
work supports offered by the program. Respondent’s suggestions for how MFIP should
be improved indicate which aspects of the program are most problematic for southeast
residents. Many were concerned about the administrative complexity of MFIP, such as
dealing with too much paperwork and poor skills among overburdened MFIP workers.
Many also called for more generous and gradual income disregards, more help with job
searches, better access to child care, and more individualized case planning.

What do southeast Minnesota participants see as their primary barriers
to self-sufficiency?
Although southeast participants were largely optimistic about their ability to get off and
stay off welfare, many did identify barriers to long-term self-sufficiency. The following
barriers were identified most often:

! Lack of livable wage jobs (low wages compared to cost of living)
! Lack of education, lack of opportunities to finish schooling
! Lack of affordable housing
! Physical or mental disabilities



                   Status of the safety net in   52    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
What services do families in southeast Minnesota need as they move
from welfare to work?
The survey identified several areas of unmet need for residents of southeast Minnesota.
The following services appear to be most needed by respondents:

! Help obtaining, maintaining, and repairing a car
! Help paying for child care
! Workplace supports that help people to keep their jobs
! Activities, tutoring, and clothing for children
! Flexible funds for emergency expenses
! Improved access to Medical Assistance or other forms of health coverage (employer-
  sponsored insurance, MinnesotaCare, etc.)




                   Status of the safety net in   53   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Trends in emergency service use

Food shelf visits

Data from the Minnesota Hunger Partners suggest that trends in food shelf use vary
among the three sub-regions in southeast and south-central Minnesota. From 1997 to
1998, food shelf use stayed about the same in south-central, decreased in southeast I, and
increased in southeast II. Overall, food shelf use has remained relatively stable in the
region throughout the 1990s.

55.   SOUTHEAST AND SOUTH-CENTRAL MINNESOTA FOOD SHELF VISITS 1991 – 1998

120,000




                                                                                   Southeast Minnesota I


 60,000

                                                                                   Southeast Minnesota II
                                                                                   South Central Minnesota




      0
           1991       1992       1993       1994   1995   1996    1997      1998


Source:   Minnesota Hunger Partners




                   Status of the safety net in     54      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Shelter use
The Office of Economic Opportunity in the Minnesota Department of Children, Families,
& Learning conducts annual counts of persons using homeless shelters, battered women’s
shelters or vouchers for emergency shelter (e.g., motel voucher) during the month of
November. These counts provide a “snapshot” of shelter use. After peaking in 1997,
shelter use dropped somewhat it 1998 and rose again for women and children in 1999.
Children and unaccompanied youth make up the largest proportion persons using shelter
in southeast and south-central Minnesota, followed by adult women.

56.     NUMBER OF PEOPLE SHELTERED DURING ONE MONTH, 1995-1999

180                                            169                        165
                                                                                Children/Youth
                             148
                                                          139

                                              109
                                                                          101
             92
                              89                          85                    Women
 90

             52
                              44               41         39              34
             28                                                                 Men


  0
           1995              1996             1997        1998           1999

Source:     Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning, Office of Economic Opportunity
Note:       Data is for November of each year.




                     Status of the safety net in     55          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
        southeast and south-central Minnesota
Requests to community action agencies for housing assistance
Wilder Research Center developed a data collection form to document the number and
types of requests Community Action Programs receive for housing assistance. The form
was first used as part of the 1994 Minnesota Statewide Survey of Persons without
Permanent Shelter. In November 1999, to provide updated information for the current
study, six Community Action Programs in southeast and south-central Minnesota used
this form to record calls from people seeking housing assistance. Comparable data from
four of these agencies collected in October 1997 is also reported.

Description of clients requesting housing assistance in 1999
Table 57 displays the agencies that collected this data in 1999, and the number of people
who called each agency to request housing assistance. People who requested housing
assistance are referred to as “clients,” although many received only a referral to another
agency. Each client is counted only once, although some made repeat requests during the
month.

57.   NUMBER OF CLIENTS WHO REQUESTED HOUSING ASSISTANCE DURING NOVEMBER 1999. (N=287)

                                                                                  Persons requesting
 Agency                         Counties served by agency                         housing assistance
                                Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Steele,
 SEMCAC                         Winona                                                      89
 Olmsted County CAP             Olmsted                                                     60
 Three Rivers CAP               Goodhue, Rice, Wabasha                                      59
 Minnesota Valley Action        Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Sibley, Waseca,
 Council                        Watonwan                                                    45
 Northfield CAC                 Northfield area in Rice County                              25
 Freeborn CAP                   Freeborn                                                      9




                   Status of the safety net in    56         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
58.   DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF CLIENTS SEEKING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN NOVEMBER 1999.

                                                                        Number            Percent
 Race and ethnicity (N=255)
      White                                                               175                69%
      African American                                                      44               17%
      Hispanic                                                              33               13%
      American Indian                                                        1                     -
      Asian American                                                         1                     -
      Other                                                                  1                     -
 Age of client (average age: 30) (N=229)
      Under 20                                                              19                    8%
      20-29                                                               112                49%
      30-39                                                                 63               28%
      40-49                                                                 24               10%
      50-59                                                                  7                    3%
      60-69                                                                  4                    2%
 Number of children in household (average number: 1.6) (N=259)
      0                                                                     62               24%
      1-2                                                                 143                55%
      3 or more                                                             54               21%

Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted County CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Northfield
CAC, Freeborn CAP.




                       Status of the safety net in   57      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
The ages of clients requesting housing assistance ranged from 10 to 65. Seventy percent
were between age 20 and 34.


59.   AGES OF PEOPLE REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN NOVEMBER 1999. (N=229)


60                        55        57
                                              48



30
                 16                                15            15
                                                         9
         3                                                                5                 4
                                                                                    2
 0
      Under 18-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-65
       18


Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted County CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Northfield
CAC, Freeborn CAP.




The majority of clients requesting housing assistance were White. Seventeen percent
were African American and 13 percent were Hispanic. One client identified him- or
herself as American Indian, one client as Asian, and one client was of another ethnic
group.




                    Status of the safety net in    58        Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
60.   RACE AND ETHNICITY OF CLIENTS REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN NOVEMBER 1999. (N=255)

                                 Other
                 Hispanic         1%
                   13%




       African
      American
        17%



                                                  White
                                                  69%




Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted County CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Northfield
CAC, Freeborn CAP.



Seventy-five percent of clients who requested housing assistance were female; 25 percent
were male.

Three-fourths of clients had only one adult in their household. The remaining households
had two adults, with the exception of two households that had three adults.




                    Status of the safety net in   59         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
  More than half of clients had one or two children (55%). Approximately one-fourth of
  households had no children (24%), and 21 percent had three or more children.

  61.                    NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN HOUSEHOLDS REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN NOVEMBER 1999.
                         (N=259)

                    80                   74
                                                    69
                             62
Number of clients




                    40
                                                                32



                                                                        14
                                                                                6
                                                                                          1         1
                    0
                               0          1          2              3    4      5         6         7
                                                           Number of children

  Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted County CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Northfield
  CAC, Freeborn CAP.




                                      Status of the safety net in       60      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
                         southeast and south-central Minnesota
Previous night’s residence for clients in November 1999
Agency staff asked clients where they (and their family if applicable) had stayed the night
before their call to the agency. Half of clients reported that they had stayed in their own
housing, although most of these respondents reported that they were in danger of losing
this housing. Twenty-seven percent had a temporary arrangement to stay with relatives
or friends. Less common arrangements were transitional housing (4 clients) and jail (2
clients).

62.   PREVIOUS NIGHT’S RESIDENCE OF CLIENTS REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN NOVEMBER 1999.
      (N=282)


120
           103

                           77


 60
                                           37

                                                   19            19            15

  0
         Own           Relatives/        Own      Motel       Shelter/     Outdoors/
       Housing-         Friends        Housing-               Voucher        Car
      Threatened/                       Stable
      Precarious




Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted County CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Northfield
CAC, Freeborn CAP.




                    Status of the safety net in   61         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
Types of housing services requested by clients in November 1999
Most requests fell within four main types of housing assistance. Eighty-one clients
requested homelessness prevention services. These state and federal programs attempt to
prevent homelessness by helping individuals pay their mortgage or rent. Seventy-six
clients requested affordable housing assistance. Agency staff could help them register for
subsidized housing waiting lists, or help them find affordable housing options. One
hundred and twenty-five individuals requested financial assistance. This could include
anything from an MFIP referral, to money for emergency car or housing repairs, to funds
for their first month’s rent. Forty-one clients requested emergency shelter.

63.       NUMBER OF REQUESTS FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF ASSISTANCE IN NOVEMBER 1999. (N=273 CLIENTS)


140                  125


                                             81                  76
               74                      68
  70                                                       52
                                                                                       41
                                                                                25


      0
              Financial              Homeless          Affordable Housing    E mergency
             Assistance              Prevention            Assistance     S helter/ Voucher
                                      S ervices

                                              Oct-97    Nov-99


Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted County CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Northfield
CAC, Freeborn CAP.




                       Status of the safety net in        62          Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
Assistance provided to clients in 1999
Community Action Programs offered clients five main types of services. The most
common service was referral to other community agencies. The Community Action
Programs also helped clients locate affordable housing. Among other things, clients
might receive a referral to a Section 8 caseworker, or a list of available apartments.
Agency staff reported providing Homeless Prevention Program assistance and financial
assistance approximately 60 times. They provided 31 clients with vouchers or referrals
for emergency shelter.

64.   NUMBER OF CLIENTS RECEIVING VARIOUS TYPES OF SERVICES. (N=283)


200
           167


                              93
100
                                                 60           59
                                                                               31

  0
       Referral to       Assistance        Homeless         Financial      Referral/
         Other            Locating         Prevention      Assistance     Voucher to
       Community         Affordable         Program                       Emergency
        Service           Housing          Assistance                      Shelter




Comparison of requests for housing assistance: October 1997 and
November 1999

Five agencies in the region documented requests for housing assistance during October
1997 and November 1999: SEMCAC, Olmsted Community Action Program, Three
Rivers Community Action Program, Minnesota Valley Action Council, and Freeborn
County Community Action Program. Minnesota Valley Action Council requests are not
included in the following comparison because the agency was grouped in the
southwestern Minnesota region in the 1997 study.




                   Status of the safety net in        63        Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
65.    HOUSING ASSISTANCE REQUESTS TO COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM AND AGENCIES, 1997 AND
       1999.

                                            October            October
                                             1997               1999
 SEMCAC                                         66                89
 Three Rivers                                   72                59
 MVAC                                           16                45
 Olmsted CAP                                    35                60
 Freeborn CAP                                       2             9
 Total                                         191               192




In 1997, 79 percent of clients were White, compared with 69 percent in 1999. In that
time the percentage of African American clients increased dramatically from 14 percent
in 1997 to 22 percent in 1999. The percentage of Hispanic clients increased slightly
(from 6% in 1997 to 8% in 1999).

66.    RACE AND ETHNICITY OF CLIENTS REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN OCTOBER 1997 AND
       NOVEMBER 1999.

100%

                 79%
                          69%



 50%


                                                        22%
                                               14%
                                                                            6%      8%

  0%
                     White                  African American                 Hispanic

                               Oct '97 (N=191)                Nov '99 (N=186)


Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Freeborn CAP.




                      Status of the safety net in        64            Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
In 1997, 30 percent of clients were between age 20 and 29. In 1999, over half of clients
were between these ages. The percentage of clients in every other age group was lower
in 1999 than in 1997.

67.    AGE OF CLIENTS REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN OCTOBER 1997 AND NOVEMBER 1999.

100%




                               51%
 50%
                                        39%
                         30%
                                              26%

          11%                                       14% 11%
                8%
                                                               5% 3%        3% 2%
  0%
         19 or less       20-29           30-39      40-49      50-59        60-70

                        October 1997 (N=188)          November 1999 (N=159)


Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Freeborn CAP.




                    Status of the safety net in      65       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
       southeast and south-central Minnesota
In 1999, clients included more households with one child and fewer with three children,
compared to 1997.

68.                      NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN HOUSEHOLDS REQUESTING HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN OCTOBER 1997 AND
                         NOVEMBER 1999

                        50%
Percentage of clients




                                                31%
                                                       26%
                                           23%                  24%
                        25%   20% 21%                                 21%

                                                                            14%

                                                                                  6% 7%
                                                                                            2% 2%       1% 1%      1% 1%
                        0%
                                   0           1            2            3          4          5           6           7
                                                                      Number of children
                                                   October 1997 (N=188)            November 1999 (N=190)


Sources: SEMCAC, Olmsted CAP, Three Rivers CAP, Freeborn CAP.

Clients requested and received the same types of housing assistance in 1999 as in 1997.
Also, similar percentages of clients requested and received each service, with a few
exceptions. Almost half (48%) of 1999 clients requested financial assistance, while only
one-third (36%) of 1997 clients requested financial assistance. Somewhat more 1999
clients received financial assistance than did 1997 clients (25% in 1999 vs. 17% in 1997).
Fewer 1999 clients received homeless prevention program assistance than did 1997
clients (28% in 1999 vs. 41% in 1997).




                                       Status of the safety net in           66         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
                          southeast and south-central Minnesota
Requests to community action agencies for basic services
Both the Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) and the Southeast Minnesota
Community Action Council (SEMCAC) document service requests in a similar way. This
information is useful because it shows trends in requests over time (1997 through 1999)
and highlights which types of services are most often requested.

MVAC serves nine counties (Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet,
Sibley, Waseca, Watonwan) and SEMCAC serves six counties (Dodge, Fillmore,
Houston, Mower, Steele, and Winona). Figures 70 to 80 display the total number of
telephone and walk-in requests for help from these two agencies. This data reflects
requests for help within a service category, not necessarily the number of people who
actually received these services. Because individuals can make multiple requests, these
tallies do not equal the number of persons seeking assistance.

Overall in 1999, the most common types of requests at these two agencies were for help
with job training and education, heating and energy assistance, emergency services, and
food. For the three-year period from 1997 to 1999, the data show a steady increase in
requests for almost all types of service. The only exceptions to this trend are requests for
food and transportation; both of these categories saw slight decreases from 1998 to 1999,
although 1999 numbers remained well above 1997 numbers.

69.     TOTAL OF ALL SERVICE REQUESTS TO MVAC AND SEMCAC, 1999

                        Food/ Food Shelf                                      10,601

                 Job Training/ Education                                                                  21,780

      Homeless/ Other Housing-Related                                       9,721

Weatherization/ Housing Rehab Loan                                   7,610

           Head Start/ Early Education                             6,482

           Heating/ Energy Assistance                                                              19,110

                    Emergency Services                                        10,583

         Legal Services/ Tenant Rights              853

              Transportation/ Car Repair                  3,135

                   Other/ Miscellaneous                    3,673



Note:     Data include telephone and walk-in requests.



                      Status of the safety net in          67              Wilder Research Center, April 2000
         southeast and south-central Minnesota
70.   REQUESTS FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE, 1997-1999

12,000                                               10,909            10,601



                      7,484


 6,000




      0
                      1997                           1998               1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




71.   REQUESTS FOR JOB TRAINING OR EDUCATION, 1997-1999

24,000                                                                 21,780


                                                     16,619

                     12,169
12,000




      0
                      1997                           1998               1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data; from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




                       Status of the safety net in            68   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
72.   REQUESTS FOR EMERGENCY SHELTER OR OTHER HOUSING-RELATED ASSISTANCE, 1997-1999


12,000
                                                                       9,721

                                                     7,904


 6,000                4,862




      0
                      1997                           1998              1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




73.   REQUESTS FOR WEATHERIZATION OR HOUSING REHABILITATION LOANS, 1997-1999


12,000



                                                                       7,610
                                                     6,975

 6,000
                      4,616




      0
                      1997                           1998              1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




                       Status of the safety net in           69   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
74.   REQUESTS FOR HEAD START OR EARLY EDUCATION, 1997-1999

12,000




                                                                        6,482
 6,000                5,437                          5,303




      0
                      1997                           1998               1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




75.   REQUESTS FOR HEATING OR ENERGY ASSISTANCE, 1997-1999

24,000

                                                                       19,110



                                                     11,623
12,000
                      9,485




      0
                      1997                           1998               1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




                       Status of the safety net in            70   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
76.   REQUESTS FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES (PRIMARILY CRISIS FUNDS), 1997-1999

12,000
                                                                      10,583




 6,000                                               5,363


                     2,532



      0
                      1997                           1998              1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




77.   REQUESTS FOR LEGAL SERVICES OR TENANT RIGHTS ASSISTANCE, 1997-1999

 1,000
                                                                        853




                                                      492
  500
                       385




      0
                      1997                           1998               1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




                       Status of the safety net in           71   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
78.       REQUESTS FOR TRANSPORTATION OR CAR REPAIRS, 1997-1999

5,000


                                                     3,563
                                                                       3,135


2,500

                     1,458




      0
                      1997                           1998              1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




79.       REQUESTS FOR MISCELLANEOUS ASSISTANCE, 1997-1999

5,000


                                                                       3,673
                     3,383
                                                     3,218


2,500




      0
                      1997                           1998              1999


Note: Based on MVAC and SEMCAC data from 15 counties. Includes telephone and walk-in requests.




                       Status of the safety net in           72   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
          southeast and south-central Minnesota
Discussion and issues to consider
Current trends in emergency service use
Although unemployment rates and welfare caseloads have decreased in recent years in
the region, the demand for emergency and basic services has remained relatively
consistent, and in some cases has increased. Overall, food shelf use has been fairly
steady throughout the 1990s, although between 1997 and 1998 use decreased in some
areas of the region and increased in others. Overall, shelter use increased from 1995 to
1999. Although shelter use peaked in 1997, there were modest increases in shelter use
among women and children between 1998 and 1999. Requests for emergency assistance
from two of the largest community action agencies in the region (MVAC and SEMCAC)
indicate that need has risen steadily from 1997 to 1999 in most – but not all – service
categories.

Emergency assistance needs: Who needs what
The following needs emerged as widespread, critical issues for the region: housing, child
care, transportation, and health insurance coverage.

According to service providers and MFIP participants, welfare reform is associated with
increased needs in the areas of transportation, child care, health insurance, housing, and
job training or education. Low wages – the scarcity of living-wage jobs – has also been
identified by families and service providers as a problem associated with welfare reform.
Services to families who are leaving welfare and other adults who are trying to reach and
maintain self-sufficiency must therefore address these critical issues.

Key informants indicated that immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers with limited
English proficiency need more help to overcome language and cultural barriers. More
specifically, agencies that serve these populations often need better access to translators
and more experience with and knowledge about different cultures.

People of color, especially African American and Hispanic women and children, appear
to be make up a growing proportion of people seeking emergency shelter. These groups
are clearly in need of housing resources, such as emergency shelter, transitional housing,
and housing subsidies.

Family farmers in need of emergency or basic assistance present a unique challenge for
service providers because they may be unwilling to ask for help. It is not clear from this
study what kinds of assistance family farmers are most likely to need, or how these needs
can be better met.


                   Status of the safety net in   73     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Recommendations
After discussion the implications of this study, the advisory committee worked with the
study’s authors to develop recommendations to strengthen both self-sufficiency and the
safety net of emergency assistance in southeast and south-central Minnesota. These
proposals call for changes in policy and practice on the part of nonprofit and community
agencies, local government, employers, funders, and the state and federal government.

The recommendations address six issues vital to the economic stability of low-income
people in this region: transportation, child care, housing, health insurance, emergency
financial assistance, and cultural competence to work with immigrants, refugees, and
migrant workers.

Nonprofit and community agencies

! Develop and expand locally sustainable revolving car loan and repair programs.
! Integrate Head Start and other early education programs with child care services,
  providing a “seamless” continuum of care for working families.
! Educate employers and policy-makers on steps they can take to improve child care
  access and quality.
! Provide clearer information to the public on the specific, local needs for housing units
  and the broad cross-section of residents who benefit from community housing
  investments.
! Make sure clients and residents understand the available health coverage through
  public and private sources.
! Help people to navigate the health insurance system, including one-to-one help
  completing insurance forms.
! Expand awareness of transitional supports for current and former MFIP clients, such
  as child care subsidies, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, and Food Stamps.
! Continue to document and articulate how flexible, emergency assistance contributes
  to long-term self-sufficiency.
! Engage in more client-centered collaboration among agencies and among different
  types of services.
! Invest in building agency capacity to meet the needs of immigrant and refugee
  populations through translation skills, cultural awareness and inclusion of this
  population in agency planning and outcome measurement.


                   Status of the safety net in   74   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Local government
! Invest in revolving car loan and repair programs.
! Increase public-private partnership and inter-governmental collaboration to expand
  public transit service and integrate city bus systems.
! Invest in a strong child care system that meets the needs of residents and children at
  all income levels. Focus on child care as a community strength and economic asset.
! Encourage the building of new housing units through policies such as land donation,
  forgiveness of past assessments, revision of zoning laws, and local tax-increment financing.
! Include calculations of housing costs compared to wage rates in economic and
  community development planning and decisions.
!    Provide complete information to MFIP participants regarding criteria for public
    health insurance programs and other public health services.
! Undertake an assessment of the adequacy of the public, private and charitable safety
  net in your community.
! Analyze access to community services from the perspective of immigrant and refugee
  residents, and develop comprehensive action plans for improvement.

Employers
! Encourage and provide pooled transportation for employees.
! Provide more flexible benefit plans that include help with child care expenses.
! Sponsor ongoing and emergency child care slots for employees’ children.
! Implement policies that allow working parents to care for sick children, deal with
  gaps in the care available for their children, and meet other parental responsibilities.
! Support efforts to build new affordable housing units.
! Offer down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers as part of the benefit
  package for all employees.
! Provide health insurance to employees at all wage levels, and make sure workers
  understand their health benefits.
! Provide employee assistance programs, employee mentorship programs, Community
  Net-First Call for Help access, on-site brown bag training, on-site community service
  fairs, and encourage employee support systems that build soft skills and support
  networks for all employees.
! Work with community agencies to help immigrants and refugees adjust to the
  workplace, addressing both skills training and cultural adjustment.

                   Status of the safety net in   75    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
Funders (foundations, grantmakers, donors)
! Support revolving car loan and repair programs.
! Favor child care proposals that provide extended hours, “wrap-around” care, and
  integration of Head Start and other early education programs with child care.
! Fund not only the building of child care centers, but also the ongoing costs of
  operating a child care center. Consider guaranteeing or underwriting child care slots.
! Provide funding for new affordable housing units, homeless shelters, and transitional
  housing programs.
! Support research and pilot projects that assist people to navigate the health care
  system and improve public health insurance programs.
! Provide funding for emergency assistance with flexible eligibility requirements,
  particularly for housing, transportation, health care, and children’s basic needs.
! Support community-based networks and innovative volunteer-centered ways of
  meeting emergency assistance needs, such as community clotheslines, food shelves,
  and family mentoring programs.
! Support efforts to increase community and agency capacity for serving immigrant and
  refugee populations. This might include translation services, bicultural staff, and
  cultural training for staff, volunteers, and the community.


State and federal government
! Consistently fund and support revolving car loan and repair programs, in partnership
  with local agencies and lenders.
! Allow public-private partners to expand public transit service and integrate
  neighboring transit systems.
! Increase funding for the Basic Sliding Fee child care subsidy program.
! Increase funding and access to food aid for family child care providers.
! Provide tax incentives to employers that support child care and family-friendly
  workplace policies.
! Coordinate regulations for Head Start, child care licensing and subsidy, and MFIP
  regulations to encourage comprehensive care.
! Increase the usefulness of Section 8 vouchers by revising HUD’s Fair Market Rates.




                   Status of the safety net in   76   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
! Consider the impact of new building codes on the cost of housing, while ensuring the
  health and safety of new units.
! Increase the supply of dentists who serve Medical Assistance patients by increasing
  reimbursement rates for dental care, or establish new ways to provide dental care for
  low-income people.
! Expand eligibility requirements for MinnesotaCare. Specifically, cover those whose
  employer-sponsored insurance costs exceed a certain percentage of their income.
! Provide funding for emergency assistance with flexible eligibility requirements.
! Reduce MFIP caseloads for county workers so they can more fully prepare clients for
  self-sufficiency.
! Improve the competency of all state, federal and county agencies to work with
  immigrant, refugee and migrant worker populations.




                   Status of the safety net in   77   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
      southeast and south-central Minnesota
             Status of the safety net in   78   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
southeast and south-central Minnesota
Appendix




                Status of the safety net in   79   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
   southeast and south-central Minnesota
             Status of the safety net in   80   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
southeast and south-central Minnesota
Key informant interview: open-ended responses to selected questions
1B. Do you think that some of the people who need basic services in your area at
    this time are unable to get the help they need? Please describe.
     Response
•    Child care, housing, transportation.
•    Housing is very difficult right now. Child care has long waiting lists, which is
     discouraging.
•    Our main problem is rental assistance. There aren’t enough programs for rural
     areas. Child care assistance is available but there’s a long process to get it.
•    Some don’t understand how to get it. They don’t understand the programs for
     housing and heating assistance.
•    Shortage of housing (both rental and purchased).
•    Our emergency services don’t cover deposits on rentals; we can’t help with eviction
     notices; we can’t help with stoves and refrigerators; or help with used furniture;
     also sewage and plumbing problems. Transportation Program “We’ll Get There”
     requires MFIP; there are others that need it. License plate fees, replacing water
     heaters, sometimes car repairs are too high – only up to $200.
•    Our emergency fund is only for one-time use in a 12-month period, for an
     individual needing help. This is very limited.
•    One of the reasons is the 30-days residency restriction. What they are able to find
     are partial services. Housing assistance is the most critical lack.
•    Child care has long waiting lists. We also don’t hire enough dentists in the area
     who take MA.
•    Child care funding available. A day care center just closed here recently.
     Transportation is the biggest issue. Cars, they can’t afford to keep them running.
     Bus doesn’t go into country, doesn’t run odd hours for shift jobs. Healthcare:
     M.A., MN Med., dental services are not available, a big problem.
•    To be eligible for assistance, people need to be residents for at least 30 days and
     then they have to wait for services. People seem to be focusing on housing, but
     putting together the pieces of work, child care, etc. are also difficulty.
•    The working poor can’t get health care coverage from MinnesotaCare because they
     earn too much. Low income housing for working poor that they can afford.




                  Status of the safety net in   81     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
     southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   The eligibility requirements are too low. The cracks are getting bigger in many areas.
    The Senior Drug Program ($82 month and can’t have more than $4,000 in savings)
    with elderly, to be eligible. To go through the paperwork and then be turned down.
    Many people would have to impoverish themselves to get benefits. Transportation in
    Faribault county is just now getting established. Fewer able-bodied people at home
    to assist elders in getting to medical appointments. Also, the hours that clinics are
    open could be adjusted to help the working people. Nutrition is a big problem for
    elderly. Affordable housing for low income people is another gap.
•   Shortage of housing in Austin. That’s our biggest challenge right now.
•   It’s difficult to get dental care. A long term problem has been housing for low
    income people who don’t have children. Mental illness prevents many from
    working. And then low income housing slots go to only Section 8.
•   Waiting list for housing – affordable housing. Child care always a waiting list for
    assistance and for infant care availability. Transportation system in Winona we
    have a bus system but it’s limited to where it goes.
•   Transportation to services – on a timely basis in order to get help needed, more
    promptly.
•   Minority groups tend to be underserved. Vulnerable adults and [those with]
    disabilities are underserved. Senior citizens – transportation is a problem.
•   Transportation is a problem for people in participating in activities and also
    applying for services.
•   Affordable housing and availability of housing in general.
•   Transportation. Child care for disabled or sick children. Meals on Wheels outside
    of town limits. Health care accessibility.
•   Some people don’t pursue or [are not] aware of services in community. With
    elderly it’s a matter of pride. Transportation for elderly a problem. Others [living]
    paycheck to paycheck, won’t lose a day at work to come and see [the agency].
    Arrangements for off hours, no flexibility is a gap. Unaware of programs.
•   Emergency shelters. Transitional housing for large families, with three-plus
    bedrooms.
•   Affordable housing and transportation to work and other services. Child care
    (particularly infants and sick children).
•   Some of them: housing, jobs that pay a decent wage, that’s our main problem here.
•   Retraining funds for people who fall through the cracks (for services). With day
    care it’s hard to get child care for rotating shifts. Houses to rent or to buy are hard
    to find.
•   Transportation to jobs and services. Affordable housing. Emergency shelters (we
    just have one shelter that houses 14 people). We need emergency shelter for
    families.)


                 Status of the safety net in   82      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Transportation for those in rural areas. Child care affordability and accessibility.
    Eligibility (many are just over limits) for many services.
•   Emergency shelter for homeless people (none exists in Freeborn County).
•   Those that make just above the limits in earning but are basically still low-income
    and don’t get help. Transportation – many can’t get to the services offered, they
    need access to them in order to be helped.
•   More of all are needed, but especially rental assistance for low income. That is the
    highest priority or need.
•   Singles seem to be having a hard time. It’s easier for families to get help with
    emergency services (via HUD, etc.).
•   There is a housing shortage for lower-income people in Freeborn county.
•   Housing is a big issue. Also affordable housing. Emergency housing is also a
    problem.
•   We have the homeless program and there’s the RASP program but people fall
    through the cracks. It’s the homeless that I’m worried about, especially those
    people who don’t qualify for other services.
•   Migrant seasonal workers are just “out of luck” for help. Single adults have
    shortages of services available. Child care is tough to come by or not available.
    Prevention of homelessness for people who don’t fit eligibility criteria.
•   Biggest problem: people who fall between the cracks for assistance and low-
    income.. They aren’t being served. Falling between cracks for qualifying for
    assistance and being low income.
•   Network is here. Transportation, public awareness of what is available. Access to
    health care is still a major issue. Lack of decent, affordable housing.
•   I’ve worked with child care (McKnight-funded) and Project FINE. Some things
    I’ve seen is child care is very much a need for culturally diverse populations.
    There’s not always readiness for families to let them do that. Transportation, bus
    had fixed routes for so long. Trying to change routes is another problem.
    Coordination of transportation system. Sometimes they (workers) have to take cabs
    which is expensive. There’s a shortage of subsidized housing. People are on a
    waiting list for Section 8. Finding housing is a large problem.
•   I think there are accessibility issues related to language and just information that’s
    available. Transportation resources, service providers is also an issue.
•   Biggest gap is working to find transitional housing. Also, there’s a real need for
    rent assistance for people in emergency situations (our funding here is about one-
    half of what it needs to be).
•   I think primarily they don’t come forward and ask.




                 Status of the safety net in   83      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Affordable housing for lower income people (especially here because of the
    presence of the two colleges in town). Landlords pack them into these houses and
    apartments at high rental rates. This leaves very little for working people.
•   Affordable housing – entry level, owner occupied, and decent rentals.
•   Folks who do not know where to get the help. (There are resources identifying
    them for people who need it.)
•   We have such limited resources that we can’t give services to everyone.
•   A lot of the services available are for extremely low income families. We work
    with battered women who need things even though they may have an income.
•   There are some unusual services but those are a rarity. It’s more the weird
    situations.
•   I’m the treasurer for Salvation in Sibley County . We do electricity, heat, rent bills,
    if family needs help I can’t do much on emergency service. There is a limit to how
    much I can help, my limit is $75, a bill might be $500. They’ve already have to far.
    Social service can’t help (probably second time). Might have gone there already.
    SA is probably the second service family has gone to, but we don’t know because
    of privacy laws. If family hasn’t been able to pay their bill for five months, $75
    isn’t going to go very far. They often go to SA or MN Valley Area Council for
    help as well.
•   The single people, families: families can get emergency services. Nothing exists
    for single people.
•   People are not getting proper diagnoses (for physical and mental handicaps and
    medical situations) because they don’t meet eligibility requirements for whatever
    reason.
•   Transportation is a big problem. Faribault County people have to go out of the
    county to work and it’s hard to get there. Not much housing; [few] rental units
    available. Not many subsidized units, either.
•   There are always some but I can’t put a finger on them now.
•   I think some gaps are for the single people or families without children.
•   There’s major shortage of housing in this area. There is less than one-half percent
    vacancy rate. There’s always the issue of the way the welfare system is set up. A
    person was hired into a professional position and the company didn’t help her with
    changing her licensing from one state to the next. She lost her job after two months
    and had to take a job for less than one-half of what she was making. She didn’t
    qualify for public aid because of her past job and money she made. Sliding child
    care, waiting list is very long.
•   They’re unable if they don’t have the information. Two families needed winter
    boots but we couldn’t provide them.




                 Status of the safety net in   84     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Once in a while there are some people who fall through the cracks. Sometimes
    there isn’t help from the other sources we have available. Sometimes the basic
    need is for food. Transportation is a big thing but the bus is not exactly an easy
    thing to get to. The bus comes on a call basis but you have to call 24 hours in
    advance.
•   Employment – some people don’t get help with it.
•   Language barrier – Somali, Spanish and Hmong – all written materials are in
    English.
•   When they (people) don’t have telephones they tend to get lost in the gaps, you
    can’t reach them and they tend to not get the information that is out there about
    available services.
•   I think there’s a lot of transportation needs that are lacking. People can’t get to
    where agencies and services are. Basic isolation in our county prevents people
    from knowing where to start, if they don’t have someone giving them information.
•   Serious housing shortage in Rochester, particularly a difficulty of low income
    people. Shortage of child care resources. Shortage of shelter for people who need
    safe shelter – someone who cannot live in one of the homeless shelters (unique
    women and children).
•   Sometimes bills are so high that our services can’t give it all to them and they have
    to piece it together through a lot of different agencies and sometimes that’s not
    enough.
•   Housing is unavailable and funding for housing. We have a rental assistance program
    but there’s a waiting list. Child care assistance – there’s a huge waiting list.
•   Child care never has enough funding, many long waiting lists. Affordable housing
    shortage.
•   I don’t have funding to help a person who’s going to get her phone turned off and
    that’s hurting her job search. She’s getting evicted because she couldn’t pay rent
    and she didn’t get enough MFIP because she made too much money.
•   My experiences with individuals (had managed a homeless shelter in Northfield).
    Health care – not applied at work place or can’t afford MN health care, doesn’t
    work for them. Serious medical needs.
•   The near poor, making a minimal level just above accepted guidelines, they don’t
    qualify for help. Rent, obtaining apartments because they don’t have money for a
    deposit. All people working have odd shifts. They don’t have access to quality
    child care during second and third shift. Transportation; my secretary mentioned
    this yesterday. People who have to depend on bus. Runs in a.m. 7-8 a.m. and
    doesn’t run again until 5-6 p.m. Not much available for second and third shift.
    Transportation open, e.g., a child protection case on chemical dependency. They
    are expected to make and deep appointments. There isn’t adequate transportation.
    Set them up for failure. They could lose their children over a transportation
    problem. Because I have seen it.

                 Status of the safety net in   85     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Low income, minority groups, hearing impaired, non-English speaking possibly
    illiterate adults. Housing for low income. Not enough housing in our area
    generally. Public transportation has improved. More food shelf accessibility.
•   Transportation – we are rural between communities, they have no access to cars and
    no county-wide transportation system.
•   Shelter – shortage of housing. Shortage of child care.
•   Late teens and early 20’s people who have low funds, only one vehicle, domestic
    problems perhaps the male counterpart holds keys. Couple isn’t married (two times
    women have come to us), the male isn’t responsible. How widespread is this?
    Poverty, no transportation to get to services. Child care nearing problems.
•   I think that these are affordable housing issues, there may be money available but
    not places. Personal situations like they may have a criminal history or others make
    it hard to get housing or a job or certain culture, language and hesitancy to ask for
    services aren’t getting them.
•   A longer transitional housing. Homeless shelter: than can stay two weeks. Longer
    – three months or six months would be helpful. Not enough. We don’s have
    affordable housing.
•   To get things – a guy who needs hearing aids that Medicare doesn’t pay for or
    insurance doesn’t pay for. What do you do? He can’t afford $1,000 for one.
•   People who haven’t met 30 day status in Minnesota. Anybody who comes to our
    area needs deposits for first and last month rent. We don’t have enough money in
    all organizations to cover this need, $1,500 to get started and this isn’t working.
    Housing shortage here. We are struggling with a homeless problem. Because there
    is a shortage of apartments and they are too costly. Children, there is a waiting list
    for the subsidies.
•   Child care. Unless they’re on MFIP they have to go on a waiting list for assistance.
    Transportation is another problem here.
•   I think it’s not because of the programs, people need assistance in. They’re thinking
    of getting to programs or knowing what to do or understanding the program.
•   I think we have a gap for services for single and handicap individuals and those that
    do not fall into MFIP guidelines. Safety net not there. Housing, transportation
    needs we have a problem with.
•   Sometimes it’s hard to find housing. There have to take what’s available. We have
    need for affordable housing for low to mid-income families.
•   There are a few people who aren’t getting services they need because of lack of
    transportation. There may be some need for more affordable housing.
•   I know that the biggest thing we see is lack of housing.
•   The hardest one is child care that puts a lot of people back. A lot of people don’t fit
    in the narrow guidelines.


                 Status of the safety net in   86     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Access to transportation to get to necessary services.
•   Employers who pay better wages in Sibley county. Child care, and not the children
    or custodial parent (after hours or weekends, Hispanic providers). Transportation –
    bus system only runs during business hours. Health care insurance is not widely
    available. A crisis nursery is needed in Sibley county. Homeless must be sent to
    another county.
•   Needs are expanding and changing faster than the vehicle that provides for them.
    Housing is difficult to get at an affordable price.
•   Basic child care.
•   Services are there but because of barriers like language barriers (for immigrants and
    refugees) they don’t find out about them. The child care, transportation and housing
    areas just do not have enough services or funding for the needs that are there.
•   Child care assistance and housing. A lot of people are working, but their wages
    aren’t great enough to meet their needs.
•   They can’t get transportation very well. Child care.
•   I think people don’t know where to go or that these services are out there. Not in
    particular.
•   We have a waiting list for the basic sliding for child care. Single adults fall through
    the cracks. They don’t qualify for help. Minors under 18 years old also fall
    through the cracks, especially minors with children.
•   I’m thinking the big thing I see a lot of is help with transportation. People depend
    on their cars, which go down hill. Affordable housing is another thing.
•   Funding holes or eligibility caused problems (so people can’t get services, so low
    income people are just above learning limits and can’t get help).
•   I’m a single mom who can’t get child care assistance or get into head start.
•   The low income folks don’t know how to access them. Lots of paperwork and its
    frustrating for them and us. The same paperwork over and over again. People on
    low income is more difficult than on MFIP. Working poor its harder to access for
    them, than mandated help assistance.
•   Funds and resources get exhausted an no where for people to go (in a crisis),
    especially when they already used up everything they’ve been entitled to. Or not
    funds exist for the specific problem they are having (i.e., like a gas leak and sewer
    problems with residents of a trailer home).
•   Financial assistance – being eligible for different programs. Transportation – more
    public. We are a small town. We get transit Hispanics who have basically nothing.
    Child care, housing.
•   Shelter is a severe problem in our area. There just isn’t available housing.




                 Status of the safety net in   87     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•    There’s a lot of red tape and running back and forth at human services also at the
     other programs. I know they have the money and these people do qualify, but they’re
     not getting the services. A lot of the time people don’t know who to call for help.
•    People who are unable to get government benefits or emergency assistance become
     some workers in system are not helpful in assisting clients with verifying facts,
     obtaining verification, language barriers – not Hispanic speakers on staff. Shelter
     area – housing is tight – not many actual shelter beds – not any transitional housing
     program, subsidized and unsubsidized housing are not there or extremely
     expensive.

2B. Do you think the recent changes in welfare rules in Minnesota have in any way
    affected the kinds of help people need in your area? In what ways?
     Response
•    Not enough funding for rent, eviction notices and disconnects. If they are buying a
     mobile home they couldn’t make their payments. There are no home improvement
     loans for mobile homes.
•    Single parents have more stress dealing with house, job, child care since they are
     moving back into work place (often for wages so low they can’t make it).
•    I believe it’s a good thing. People are making a paycheck and really working hard
     to make it. I’m not seeing as many repeats for Christmas help as I have in the past.
•    They’re kind of scared because they only have five years. They need more budget
     counseling with the grants. The grants, while they work, give them more money
     then they’re used to and they need help evaluating priorities.
•    As people have gone back to work, some of the requirements of that have made the
     child care and transportation needs more critical issues.
•    Some people who don’t comply are sanctioned more than they used to be so they
     look to other resources such as the food shelf.
•    Its affected the child care. People need more child care.
•    Absolutely. Need for child care and transportation, greater than it ever was before.
•    Positive change – now they are more open (honest) to admitting dad’s presence in
     the home. Then we can work with the true picture.
•    Some families are struggling because they’re trying to find work to stay on MFIP
     but they also feel like they want to stay home with their children.
•    People are going back to work, but for very limited wages so they don’t qualify for
     services they used to get. They don’t have time for the education like GED to get
     jobs with higher wages. Kind of a catch 22. Lack of benefits ways with many jobs
     they can get. So in some ways worse off.




                  Status of the safety net in   88    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
     southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Especially affordable health care insurance. Many getting off welfare are going
    into temporary jobs and do not have insurance. The numbers of uninsured is
    growing.
•   It’s forcing some individuals into job situations or educational situations.
•   For day care. Brought other needs to light like mental health services that are
    needed. (These tended to stay hidden before work was required.)
•   First, a lot of money put into system. A lot of services can be used by individuals
    such as child care. I think that people were encouraged to come together and look
    at where barriers are and find ways to overcome those barriers.
•   Training needs have increased. (Workers don’t’ have needed skills.)
•   Some of the regulation changes have impacted health insurance and caused difficulty in
    qualifying for it. One woman was told she makes too much, which was astonishing
    given the low amount she makes. Another one of our sexual assault clients had a child
    from the assault and had kept away from her assailant successfully for five years. Then
    the law changed and told her that the father must be involved in supporting the child.
    This had put both her and the child in great danger. There should be exceptions.
•   Health care insurance coverage is more difficult. Proper, approved forms and
    documents (especially for migrants and immigrants) is difficult.
•   Child care needs have increased as a result.
•   Negative: day care that is affordable given their wages. Only one center in our
    county rest are all in-home licensed. Positive: some have gained access to health
    care they have not had before, by going to work.
•   More of a focus on getting self-sufficient. More people working with employment
    counselor. A push to get a job or training. Arrange for day care. A big education piece
    in our agency. Undependable transportation, getting a vehicle, vehicle program to get a
    car. Educate them on resume, appropriate clothing, back up plans for sick child.
•   Increased expense of child care is significant, considering that many of the jobs are
    entry level (in $8-$10 hour range), this also leads to increased shelter costs for
    emergency shelters.
•   It’s put some pressure on people to see the types of health care they can’t get
    through help from the government (MA and MFIP).
•   In creating a larger demand or need for affordable child care and transportation than
    the community can provide.
•   Positive: It’s a motivator for some and I’ve seen some benefits – gives incentives to
    move ahead for some. Negative: Most serious or persistent mentally ill are not
    benefiting by this. Also, the 60 month (5 year) limit is a concern for many,
    although sometimes some other options are available.




                 Status of the safety net in   89     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Focus is now on jobs first and second on education. They are going into jobs
    without having the basic education in reading and English. Then they can’t get
    more training and education because they are working in hourly jobs and can’t
    afford to take time off (sort of a “catch 22).
•   It impacts day care (more sites are required/costs) and wages are too low to be
    helping people be self supporting. Transportation costs can also be a factor.
•   As the same time, they (legislature) changed some of our emergency assistance (now
    we can only help with shelter and utilities, we used to help with food). It’s tighter now.
•   Child care availability and sliding fee needs have increased while case loads for
    MFIP workers have decreased.
•   Going to work when you’ve never worked before is a lot harder than people think it
    is. Lack of day care and stress is rising. Transportation is also a need. It’s put a lot
    more strain on transportation needs and family.
•   Now the homeless money is for TANF eligible people who are people with
    children, so people without kids are left out.
•   Key areas: more education and training resources for people to get and stay in jobs.
    Child care assistance particularly for older child (10-14) and second and third shift
    child care a need for it.
•   Some people are being force to go to work who’d prefer to stay home. Especially
    in culturally diverse area like the Hmong. They’d rather stay home with kids and
    they can’t because they have to work. ESL has to change approach. Classes are not
    conducive to people in workplace. We’re trying to do this.
•   It’s brought more attention to the needs that were there.
•   The biggest change is that there are more people showing up at the food shelves
    every month and needing assistance every month in order to make it. The overall
    number of families we serve at the food shelves is down but the number that we
    serve consistently is higher.
•   Transportation needs are different because of the work requirements and all the
    shift work that requires an automobile to get to the job.
•   I’m worried about families who hit their five year mark.
•   They’ve increased availability of services and money, such as car repair, interview
    outfits, gas money. There is definitely more money in jobs.
•   We can’t help more or less because of limit and much is donated to us. The people
    who come to us have greater needs.
•   More people have gone to work. Child care is a problem. Still provide services for
    those in transition.




                 Status of the safety net in   90      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   It’s mandatory they work extra number of hours and not everyone is capable of
    working that number of hours, so then they get cut off and then many are not able to
    advocate for themselves. They are required to go through a legal process to get
    reinstated after a cut off.
•   It’s made people more self-sufficient.
•   I found that with folds going back to work, they’re no longer income eligible for
    our programs.
•   It hasn’t been detrimental. There are a lot of people who wanted to use the Stride
    group but they didn’t meet the requirements. Right now it’s a work first, the people
    need training to get them up to speed and get better jobs.
•   Positive: We’re a whole different ball game. Our unemployment is less than 1
    percent. The economy really helped the folks get job history and they are doing
    things themselves. It worked out wonderfully economically focus.
•   We have more people working or looking for work. Our caseloads aren’t down but
    we have a whole new ethnic community here. I like the fact that we’re working with
    them to do something and try to find out what their issues are and that they have to be
    responsible for themselves. I like that we meet with them once a wee or month.
•   We’re able to serve mental ill now although we haven’t gotten any referrals from
    the county.
•   Child care assistance help is extremely limited and tends to not be affordable for
    low income people. Health care benefits – many of the lower paying jobs have no
    benefits and they lose MA or else the costs of health care coverage are so high
    many do not take it. Transportation – especially finding and keeping reliable cars
    to get back and forth to jobs.
•   The biggest would be transportation. That was one of the big barriers that kept
    people from working. It’s getting better now.
•   Basically, the need to go to work. Being a rural community the jobs are limited and
    we have transportation problems getting to better jobs. The ones available are not
    helping them become self-sufficient. They’re basically stuck.
•   We have less than 1 percent unemployment so fewer people are willing to sign up
    for welfare benefits because they are scary. The reform has exacerbated distrust.
    Battered women do not trust the exemptions so don’t ask for help. It has directly
    placed people in danger. Particularly women and children are responding to the
    negative things said about them.
•   There are more people working but they’re working poor. It’s not enough to keep
    them from being poor, even though they do have an income.
•   Probably one of the biggest is job training. If you’re dealing with people who’ve
    been on welfare and they’re suddenly not, they don’t have the skills for a job.
    Developing job skills is something that is needed.



                 Status of the safety net in   91    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   On the whole positive, although for those with mental illness and chemical [or]
    drug dependencies, the consequences are unclear over the long haul. Wages do not
    seem high enough to support people, in many of the jobs people are forced to work
    at.
•   I’ve seen a change in the needs identified because it’s partly because of the
    requirement with people to comply. They need to get around the barriers I’m
    seeing an increase in need. It’s more identifiable now.
•   Affected the need of child care. Health care insurance don’t have access to it even
    through working. Make money not getting medical assistance. The forms are huge.
    They’re better not enough.
•   It shifted the population. The majority right now are immigrants who can receive
    assistance. Not as readily available to average Rochester citizens. I believe more
    women are staying in abusive relationships because of unavailability of MFIP and
    other forms of assistance.
•   Definitely. More need for child care.
•   Our office does MFIP employment counseling. Families are going out to work
    more (home based program were losing them). It puts a lot of demands of the
    families ? new resources from MFIP to support they. Day care.
•   I think that we’ve had response from employers to be more open to hiring people.
    Opened up funding for child care, so more people are working.
•   From what I can see, it positively affected my clients (I mentioned child care as a
    problem).
•   We can serve everybody now. People who were disabled and forgotten can get
    SSI, people with MFIP we don’t write off and can work with. In our area we’ve
    outreached to Somali community and we have bilingual resources now. MFIP
    forced clients and system to help people become self-sufficiency.
•   I think day care is really stinky. I’ve had a couple who are eligible for day care
    assistance but they need to pay up front and bring in receipts. The paying up front
    is making them slump on bills and then they have to pay day care with their
    reimbursement check. Another thing is people who need housing and the housing
    isn’t here. There are waiting lists for years for three bedroom housing. Subsidy
    housing is not good.
•   They have been sanctioned for specific things, for example failed to report because
    they were unaware of need for it.
•   I guess I think about the people who don’t have a really clear direction of what to
    do next need help with life management skills. People who may have mental
    illness and chemical dependency issues may need help. Also, help in explaining
    how the new system works. They need a big picture of how it works.
•   They need a lot more coaching and support services. The MFIP people don’t have
    families who can give them that emotional support.


                 Status of the safety net in   92    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Obviously the program requires employment. Needs have been addressed in child
    care and work related issues.
•   You get sanctions and people are unable to get emergency assistance. Emergency
    assistance has been tightened. Much more difficult to get.
•   I think they need more one-on-one time and counseling time, especially people who
    have been on welfare a long time.
•   I guess that it may increase the need for their transportation, day care and health
    insurance.
•   People are being lulled to sleep because of the bubbling economy. There are no
    jobs in rural communities.
•   They have a need for more child care assistance.
•   The biggest effect on our office is the 30-day resiliency requirements. Greater need
    for housing assistance for migrants.
•   Greater need for food, emergency needs, and dependable, reliable child care.
    Availability of jobs that pay wages enough to support a family. Limitations on
    training is that it must be completed within one year. Many can’t complete training
    in a year because of shift work and unreliable transportation and child care.
•   People aren’t applying for mortgage loans now with MFIP.
•   I don’t see the MFIP as that beneficial. It’s filled a lot of low income jobs but it’s
    creating a lot of need in the child care area.
•   Positive: now programs have been developed to help people become independent.
    Also nonprofits have collaborated and become stronger to help. Negative: it’s
    harder for immigrants who don’t qualify at all for government services. They used
    to be able to address English skills first and then qualify for better jobs. Now they
    must go to work first. Government failed to look at specialty groups when they set
    the new law up.
•   It’s hard to find child care for people going back to work.
•   I think sometimes we haven’t seen many changes yet. I think, though there are
    people who aren’t eligible and aren’t getting the services they need.
•   People need transportation and reliable day care more so that they can get jobs and
    around here housing is a huge problem.
•   More specifically to gaining, maintaining, retaining work, also child care issues.
•   Getting to work when you’re in the area I am in, you may work in one town and
    live 20 miles away. Also, people are not getting to spend as much time with their
    children. They spend more time away.




                 Status of the safety net in   93      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•    Eligibility problems. Laws changed regarding homelessness and child abuse cases,
     so many women or mothers aren’t reporting problems. Work requirements are
     pushed more than educational goals. This is causing many women to be working at
     jobs below a living wage.
•    Medical assistance is a greater need. People now don’t have any medical assistance
     at all.
•    Most certainly. We see MFIP provided. Getting a job isn’t easy. Jobs in our area
     low-level, low pay jobs. Helping getting jobs in a different way had happened.
     Workforce center is good. Need more one-on-one help, go with them to help them
     get the job. Mental illness, chemical dependency and lack of, or poor, work history
     changed the needs on our area.
•    Before under AFDC and Stride people didn’t work if other problems prevented
     them from doing so. Now all kinds of issues are occurring – we see more of the
     barriers to self-sufficiency: transportation (reliability, old cars and availability of
     public), inadequate day care services particularly for shift workers on evenings or
     weekends).
•    A lot of people don’t apply for services any more because of the way they’re treated
     and all the running around they have to do.
•    There have been positive changes because some private sources assist in child care
     and transportation issues. Negative changes where the agencies main goal is to
     reduce their caseload to show system is working. Also differences because of
     traditional duties, especially in the sanction area have changed workers and they’re
     not familiar with role and have had difficulty applying sanction procedure.

3A. What do you see as the biggest barriers to permanent self-sufficiency for low
    income adults with children in your area of the state?
     Response
•    Lack of interest in self-sufficiency. It’s difficult to get off the system because
     they’re better of on the system.
•    Getting their education (language – ESL—skills and GED) to get good jobs.
•    Many low income people are lacking in good work habits (hit and miss type of
     attendance). Poor budgeting habits, and in need of money management counseling.
•    Day care and transportation.
•    Child care, health care insurance, transportation, housing.
•    I think once they get through some of the housing, that’s the biggest problem.
•    The child care issue. They have a hard time funding child care and them their
     wages are too low. Transportation is also an issue.
•    They can’t find employment that pays them high enough wages. They were doing
     better by utilizing welfare.

                  Status of the safety net in   94      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
     southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   We have a lot of new coming people of color in the area. They have limited
    education and limited English skills. Those who are able to find employment have
    other barriers such as mental health issues or family dysfunctions.
•   Child care, affordable child care. Transportation maybe.
•   The wages being too low. The minimum wage is too low.
•   There are jobs for low educational levels, not enough training. Job retention issues
    are a problem. Best paying jobs are jobs that have rotating shifts and finding day
    care is a problem.
•   Low wages (need for education is a big component is this).
•   A lack of understanding of the single parent situation. Single parenting is a huge
    responsibility and task. They need as much support and flexibility as they can get.
    They’re going through a lot of emotional issues.
•   Affordable housing for low income people. The training piece has gone away
    because the people are encouraged to get jobs even if it’s at minimum wage. They
    can’t support families on that. They don’t have time or energy to take GED training
    in evenings. Transportation is a problem, get to jobs and training.
•   Full time jobs that provide a living wage and benefits.
•   Sometimes it’s a lack of desire for self-sufficiency.
•   Lack of self-confidence is the biggest barrier. Lack of training (almost completely
    cut off). People don’t have the personal self-esteem to stay at something.
•   The biggest barrier is that so many people have mental disorders that are falling
    between the cracks. I work in a rural community and it’s lack of transportation as
    well.
•   Child care needs (especially for sick children).
•   Day care costs (most in homes and this creates barriers for low income parents).
    Costs are higher than in centers, especially for more than one child.
•   Child care and associated costs. Access to affordable housing for low income
    people.
•   Adequate wages to live on. Child care. Housing.
•   Day care that is affordable. Transportation. People lacking social skills to maintain
    employment, lack of stability in personal life.
•   Child care – can’t find, providers are full. Transportation – not having one, or that
    is dependable. Commute to Rochester for example.
•   Training and education to qualify for good jobs. Lack of basic skills, workplace
    skills, computer literacy, some form of mentorship is needed.
•   Developing wage for skill levels they have. Developing the skills they need for
    higher wages.


                 Status of the safety net in   95      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   The wage scale.
•   Adequate child care options. Dependable transportation to get to work.
•   English language skills – growing African and Hispanic populations. Many cannot
    communicate at all without help of a translator – not always available. They are
    almost paralyzed.
•   Their environment or family life.
•   Access to information so they know where to go to resolve their problems.
    Transportation to jobs and services. Child care, there’s a waiting list.
•   Getting income high enough to support families and child care. Low wages and
    poor job skills. Many need education (to qualify for jobs above minimum wage).
•   They don’t have enough skills to get better jobs.
•   Adequate transportation – getting dependable autos (can’t afford to buy good cars).
    Other means of public transportation. Child care availability.
•   Not making a living wage to pay everything needed. Child care (lack of enough of
    it or no shift work child care, off hours child care).
•   There is not enough income for expense ratio (a livable wage is needed).
•   Jump in rent right away, on some programs. Fairly low wages, don’t feed a family.
    Best paying jobs are non-traditional work hours (no day care for those hours).
•   Permanent full-time employment and transportation to that employment.
•   The primary issue would be making it financially in an abusive situation.
•   I think educational advancement.
•   Good job skills, education. It’s complicated to start that stuff.
•   Day care, it’s real bad at this point. There aren’t enough of them. The wages aren’t
    that great either. Transportation is also a problem.
•   The housing shortage. Many competing for available units. Mental illness in the
    homeless population prevents many from ever becoming self-sufficient.
•   Not qualified. Don’t know.
•   The living wages, so wages take them out of poverty. Affordable child care.
    Transportation – tied to the scarcity of affordable housing. Right now over
    40 percent spent on housing.
•   Low wages and high cost of housing.
•   Affordable housing, I think appropriate child care options, and finally
    transportation.
•   Cost of housing, lack of child care for sick children (or if it exists, very costly).
•   Housing and day care.


                 Status of the safety net in   96       Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Lack of living wages – so that people can support their own families. Many
    employed people are eligible for the sustaining food shelves on a monthly basis.
•   Two things – training and job skills. Child care availability and affordability of a
    quality child care. Not enough supply of centers, in-family sites.
•   Lack of opportunities to get into all types of housing. Home ownership
    opportunities are difficult. Loss of subsidy for rental units, lack of HUD, (former
    farmers homes, rural development).
•   Adequate affordable child care and jobs that pay enough for people to be just above
    the poverty line. Affordable housing.
•   Transportation, there are some local jobs, but they need a car to get there or to drive
    to a larger town or city. Locating day care, just finding it at the hours they need.
•   The cost of child care. They can be needing help finding fee scale. Another barrier
    is rate of promoteability in the jobs they get.
•   The jobs they are able to get are lower level which may not include benefits or
    health care.
•   The expenses of child care. I’m seeing some people with one spouse working day,
    one in evening at same place and change kids in parking lot. Mainly ESL people.
    Language barrier.
•   Lack of affordable, accessible housing (for wages earned at many jobs).
    Transportation to work is difficult.
•   Minimum wage.
•   Finding affordable day care. Finding a good job with living wages. Language is a
    barrier for primarily Hispanic immigrants.
•   Transportation and child care for the hours they need to work.
•   Child care costs and transportation.
•   Lack of training – their lack of education.
•   Low wage.
•   Day care.
•   Probably quality and affordable day care.
•   Cost and need of day care. Language barrier.
•   Child care availability and affordability. Health care benefits. Reliable
    transportation to get to jobs.
•   Don’t know.
•   Transportation.




                 Status of the safety net in   97     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   The fact that once somebody is working is that they are still so cut off. There’s a lot
    of support services and financial assistance available to working people. The
    housing as well.
•   Affordable housing.
•   Lack of housing. Lack of resources for immigrants and refugees.
•   I would say housing, affordable health care and livable wages. Affordable day care.
•   Affordable child care, affordable housing, affordable job training.
•   Adequate skills to get a higher paying job (many are being discouraged from getting
    more education). Child care costs.
•   Transportation, child care, education, training. Part is how much people are willing
    and able to take on. They [may have] physical or mental limitations.
•   Biggest – housing affordability. That’s what we do here.
•   Affordable housing, day care, transportation.
•   Lack of basic understanding on how to meet their own needs. Lack of education,
    budgeting, nutrition (healthy food habits) which I believe is integral part of brain
    functioning. Don’t know how to be good tenants. Lack parenting, they have such
    poor self-esteem. How can they be good parents if they can’t love themselves>
    They need conflict resolution skills. This is primary for good parenting.
•   Getting a reasonably paying job. Personal transportation turning and maintaining
    their own vehicle – licensure and insurance. Accessible housing. We have
    education, they are not promoted. Well, so this group isn’t aware of them. Some
    goes for ESL education.
•   Time and time again the wage level is so slow. They aren’t earning enough and one
    crisis sets off a series of events. A lot of businesses hire through employment
    agencies which only allow one absent day and do not offer benefits.
•   Transportation.
•   Personal responsibility we primarily serve this group (families and kids).
•   Income levels on jobs don’t maintain living expenses for rent, utilities,
    transportation. I see $6.00 to $8.00 an hour jobs a lot of working poor. Somewhat
    better for two parent family with one vehicle. Single parent household is very hard.
•   Affordable housing and reliable, convenient transportation. The hassle of day care
    issues, not that there’s no availability or no subsidies. A lot has to do with
    transportation.
•   Affordable housing.
•   Housing and day care.
•   Insufficient income. Very low income. Employment is wonderful here, but $6.00 -
    $7.00 per hour not enough to support family or single parent.


                 Status of the safety net in   98     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Education and job keeping kinds of skills.
•   Full-time permanent jobs. The major manufactures in town use temporary staffing
    agencies.
•   Overcoming personal barriers to employment.
•   Housing and transportation.
•   Transportation problems, evening and weekend child care. Bot are not available.
•   Being able to find a job that pays well enough or is flexible enough to be able to
    take off when kids are sick with no penalties.
•   The housing costs and day care. There’s more help for day care then there has been
    the past, but who is going to do it? There is a lack of providers in rural areas.
•   Financial – they can’t afford the different things they need, especially housing.
    Even if they get a job, it’s usually not high paying enough, to be off housing
    assistance.
•   The day care. Finding it and funding it, attainable and affordable housing.
•   Dependable child care. Dependable transportation. Emotional, mentoring support
    is missing.
•   Low wages. Childcare availability. Reliable transportation and affordable.
•   Housing and child care.
•   Wages and child care and transportation.
•   With refugees, immigrants, migrants – they now go into entry level positions and
    wages are extremely low ($6.00 per hour) and they can never get out of that level
    because they don’t qualify for training and what follows is transportation problems
    and those other barriers. R says there’s one big continuous chaotic poverty circle
    people fall into.
•   Low wages and lack of affordable housing.
•   A lack of basic living skills. Some people may be in the second or third generation
    of living on assistance and they need to learn the skills to live off assistance.
•   Day care, transportation and housing. Also they need more technical training.
•   Finding decent paying jobs.
•   Child care, especially finding it on evenings and weekends. The average wage level
    is low, as well.
•   To make sure the parents make the kids got to school and to make sure they money
    they get goes to the family and not to the local pub.
•   When they have to start paying entire cost of day care, it is difficult. High cost of
    health insurance, even when they get some part of it paid at work.
•   Low paying jobs.

                 Status of the safety net in   99     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•    I would say the cost of child care. What happens after MFIP ends and they’re on
     their own for that?
•    Adequate pay scale – livable wage.
•    Affordable housing. Lack of education. Jobs that pay a living wage. Lack benefits
     such as health care.
•    Their lifestyle. They do not value the dollar. Children and homes do not come first
     for them.
•    Affordable, good child care continues to be an ongoing issue. We’ve increased 60
     slots. Anecdotal [evidence that] sick child care is an issue. Rural area –
     transportation. Second and third shift carpooling is a problem, finding someone in
     area who also works second or third shift. Child care reimbursement for sleeping
     time is not covered. Just for when person is at work. The disability, many have
     never been in disability arena. Never received services like social security,
     vocational, counseling, rehab. Not being monitored for medication. Money
     management with a pay check, budget to last two weeks. Problem solving, e.g., my
     child has sniffles, I don’t call into work or school and lose job. Setting up rules of
     the road, an doesn’t start figure out how to get into works.
•    Transportation – reliability and availability of evening public transportation. Day
     care – availability of sites for evenings and weekends. Low paying jobs.
•    The qualifications and skills for the job. Possibly child care.
•    Education. They don’t have job training and/or high school degrees. Some don’t
     speak English.
•    Trying to find housing. It used to be finding jobs, but now it’s really finding
     housing. It also used to be education because they dropped out. Now companies
     are helping people get their GEDs. The language barrier used to be a big barrier.
•    Living wage jobs.

3B. What do you see as the biggest barriers to permanent self-sufficiency for low
    income adults who do not have children in your area of the state?
     Response
•    They’re the ones who have problems with chemical dependency. They didn’t see a
     benefit to being off the programs.
•    Getting job skills and education to get better paying jobs.
•    Many low income people are lacking in good work habits (hit and miss type of
     attendance). Poor budgeting habits, and in need of money management counseling.
•    Lack of tuition dollars to get training and education and lack of transportation.
•    Don’t know – I only work with adults with children.



                  Status of the safety net in   100    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
     southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   It’s just knowledge. They don’t realize that they even have money. Budget
    counseling is helpful. It’s needed more.
•   Transportation is one I hear a lot.
•   I can’t answer that.
•   They’re often dealing with issues of chemical dependency or mental health issues
    and less emotional and financial supports.
•   Transportation. Lack of jobs.
•   I don’t have an answer for that. They’re the people who file for disability. The
    time it takes to process those requests causes problems for them.
•   I don’t know. I only work with people with families.
•   Low wages and job skills.
•   Affordable housing is a big problem. People are struggling with that.
•   Affordable housing.
•   Affordable, secure housing.
•   Some sort of disability.
•   Lack of self-confidence is the biggest barrier. Lack of training (almost completely
    cut off). People don’t have the personal self-esteem to stay at something.
•   What I saw as biggest barrier is that they had not safety net and again so many had
    mental illness or CD issues. Weren’t able or willing to get treatment.
•   Those with mental illnesses or disabilities – these people can’t seem to hold a job.
•   Racism and discrimination for minorities.
•   Access to education to get out of low income range. Many are paid by the hour
    typically, so they can’t take the time to get further training or its not offered in the
    evenings or a time when they are free.
•   Adequate wages to live on and affordable housing.
•   Transportation to jobs. People lacking social skills to maintain employment, lack of
    stability in personal lives (not knowing boundaries at work, etc.).
•   Transportation. Education if you hadn’t been into a routine of a job. Before then
    you need to give new job a chance and develop work habits. Sick two days, so
    they’ll fire me anyway. Education on personal conduct with employers.
•   Basic skills training and literacy along with workplace skills.
•   The development of the job skills, people with marketable skills do get good jobs.
•   I don’t see any barrier there at all.




                 Status of the safety net in   101      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Lack of current technical computer training and skills to compete in today’s job
    market. Preconceived ideas of this population are a barrier (sort of self defeating
    attitudes).
•   Basic job skills and English language fluency.
•   Don’t have the skills they need to compete. They are low income because of many
    reasons. Can’t get a decent job in the community. Not willing to make moves and
    changes.
•   Transportation to jobs and services (the only thing we have is for senior citizens).
•   Having skills to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.
•   They don’t have enough skills to get better jobs.
•   Don’t know. We only work with MFIP clients and they have to have children.
•   Housing close to where they work. Lack of reading skills or English. Reliable
    transportation to get to jobs that far away.
•   Rental expenses – not enough Section 8 housing.
•   Lack of skills or work history – if you’ve burned bridges its hard to start over.
    Many jobs don’t pay a living wage. Many times singles can’t get into subsidized
    housing.
•   Permanent full-time employment and transportation to that employment.
•   People who do not have children have even less options for developing self-
    sufficiency. Less available medical assistance, less available housing.
•   Educational advancement.
•   Good job skills. Being able to compete in the changing market.
•   Transportation is still a big issue. The wages here are problem, too. There are jobs
    here but they’re not high enough paying jobs.
•   Working, but not earning a living wage. Language and discrimination barriers for
    immigrants and migrants. Attitudes from staff at provider agencies keep people
    from applying for help they desperately nee.
•   I’m not qualified to answer. Don’t know.
•   The living wage standard. Many of low income people are often people with
    mental illness or chemical abuse problems. Single with disabilities (health).
    Transportation problem effects people with disabilities. We don’t have public
    transportation within and between communities.
•   Wages and housing, doesn’t matter, it’s the same thing.
•   I would still say housing is an issue and transportation.
•   Getting started into housing because preference is given to families with children.
    If they don’t have a whole string of references they can’t get in, it’s a catch 22.


                 Status of the safety net in   102      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Lack of affordable housing.
•   The living wage is not there for too many working people. They can’t make it on
    what they earn.
•   Education and training. We do not spend enough resources on identifying skill
    needs for employees.
•   All types of housing, home ownership opportunities, and no subsidies. Lack of job
    opportunities. Folks can get job but not livable wage jobs.
•   Denial of mental illness and low education levels.
•   Still transportation. Phone service is also a problem.
•   Their biggest barrier is themselves, their chronic job-hopping and lack of stick-to-it-
    tiveness. It’s job retention.
•   We live in s small town, the housing is less expensive but groceries are higher. If
    you need to go to specialist doctor transportation can be a problem to get into town.
•   Sometimes its physical handicaps, low paying positions and high maintenance costs
    of living.
•   Lack of affordable housing for wages earned. Lack of financial funding to help, no
    funding in available help. Transportation.
•   Minimum wage.
•   Finding a job with a living wage. Education and English skills to get better jobs
    than support them.
•   Affordable housing.
•   There’s not a lot of housing assistance and transportation.
•   Lack of training – their lack of education to get good job.
•   Low wage.
•   Transportation and housing – affordable housing.
•   We need more group setting, like group homes. There are people in apartments and
    houses that could use assistance of group homes.
•   Lack of responsibility to get and keep job.
•   Transportation – a reliable vehicle to get to jobs and other services. Mental illness
    or disability issues, correct diagnoses. Inadequate community-based services.
•   Don’t know.
•   Transportation.
•   Again most of the services “assistance” is geared toward people with children. The
    housing. The waiting list for Section 8 is long and it’s hard to get on.
•   Affordable housing.

                 Status of the safety net in   103    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Lack of housing. Lack of resources for immigrants and refugees.
•   Also, housing, affordable health care and livable wages.
•   Affordable housing, affordable job training.
•   Job skills to qualify for higher paying jobs.
•   Transportation, the skills, the physical or mental limitations.
•   Mentally ill adults, there is a lack of housing and supportive services with it. A
    homeless adult is a crisis – can’t get more unstable than this. Mental illness,
    alcohol, chemical abuse. Singles or married without kids.
•   Affordable housing, day care, transportation.
•   Lack of self-esteem. They need basic skills in conflict resolution. All lot of
    migrant people have trouble with the law. If you lack self-esteem you are more
    easily irritated by the actions of others. Personal responsibility is a skill. This
    causes rune-ins with a law. They need conflict resolution skills. This is primary for
    good parenting.
•   Good paying jobs. Higher education financial aid, transportation accessibility. We
    have had a high incidence of the hearing-impaired in our community in the last six
    months. We don’t have signers or interpreters for them. We had one, but she didn’t
    show for appointments, not dependable. I found 1-800 # for them (interpreters) but
    they are over 60 miles away. There are mileage issues in terms of reimbursement
    dollars.
•   She works with families with small children. Low wage level not enough to push
    them above poverty line.
•   Motivation – that’s what I see from my point of view.
•   Personal responsibility, People make bad choices. Lacking educational ability and
    get jobs that don’t pay enough.
•   Low-income affordable housing. Personal spending habits on non-essential items
    like cigarettes, lottery tickets.
•   It’s a combination of culture and disabilities. It’s hard for people. It’s hard for
    people to accept that they can’t be productive.
•   Low-income housing. People at homeless shelter. Many held treatment for drug
    abuse and treatment for psychologist ailments. Long term problems.
•   Medical is big.
•   Prescription cost is a high factor right now. I have many elderly who face a choice
    between food and prescription. These prescriptions aren’t being bought.
•   Education and job keeping and seeking skills.
•   Asian full-time permanent jobs. Also, bad decision making skills. They live from
    crisis to crisis. We need to change the mind-set.


                 Status of the safety net in   104     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   I’m not really sure.
•   Transportation and affordable housing.
•   Transportation is still an issue down here. Also there isn’t much of a job market
    within a reasonable distance.
•   I don’t really know. I would think health care affects everyone.
•   Being unsupported in the community meaning they have a handicap or need
    assistance in getting work, especially the elderly and disabled.
•   Education.
•   Housing. It’s in short supply and it’s very expensive.
•   Lack of transportation. Lack of good paying jobs and they don’t have access to
    funds like MFIP.
•   Low wages. Transportation to jobs and services.
•   Housing, transportation.
•   Not being able to keep up with adequate training.
•   Low wages at entry positions and no time or help to learn better skills or English
    ($6.00 hour wages). They can’t live on what they earn.
•   Low wages and lack of affordable housing.
•   A lack of programs for them. A lot of programs are geared to families. They’re
    (adults with no children) generally not eligible.
•   They may have issues of not enough education. Maybe they need counseling on
    self-image, feeling better about themselves in order to get off welfare.
•   Finding decent paying jobs.
•   Housing is the biggest issue we see there.
•   Budget skills.
•   Work experience to find jobs with decent wages (many have poor work ethics).
•   Low paying jobs.
•   The cost of health care. A lot of times when they become ineligible for programs,
    health care is a big issue.
•   I work only with folks who have children. I’m not qualified to answer that
    question.
•   No services for them, basically at all.
•   I don’t know. I don’t have experience with that.




                 Status of the safety net in   105     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•    Some of the same as 3A. In our part of the state wage issue $6.00 an hour is a
     tough livable wage. Because we don’t’ pay for skill building (schooling) to get
     them out of that poverty range. How to get them motivated. Not everyone wants to
     work at what point is there a personal choice. Philosophical our community at
     large. At what point, do we let them live in poverty and not pay for MFIP. When it
     runs out and this is their choice.
•    Transportation. Low paying jobs. Lack of support, money in a job (money to get
     them started and services).
•    Skills and education for the job.
•    Ability communications and transportation. Some don’t have phones.
•    The same issues. Housing, language, education.
•    Living wage jobs.

4B. Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to meet the basic needs
    of immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers in your area?
     Response
•    With regard to migrants, the money is not there to help because it’s tied up in “MN
     Farm Workers and Training.” We’ve applied for funds and the funding is tied up in
     the courts. How long will it be tied up?
•    Not enough money to help with fixing miscellaneous things (plumbing, appliances).
•    The lack of interpreters and funding pay for them (for working with immigrants).
•    You get bombarded with people and it’s hard to keep them all. Only one person
     here speaks Spanish. They have the biggest problem with finding shelter.
•    We need to have more access to interpreters.
•    One of the issues is funding. That limits us. Our funding is very grant dependent.
•    Not much we can do. We can’t find qualified bi-lingual staff and can’t even find
     qualified staff. No printed resources in other languages. MFIP rules do not
     accommodate the migrant lifestyle. Seasonal employment hard to set goals for
     anything permanent. MFIP is mandatory, we struggle with this contributing
     meaningful help services because of language. MFIP is geared toward permanent
     full-time work. This isn’t migrant lifestyle.
•    Increase in numbers needing services has increased. We now have a waiting list.
•    Availability of bilingual or multilingual persons in our community to help with
     translations. Access—those folks are not in society’s loops. We don’t see or find
     them in usual ways. They are sort of impenetrable.
•    The concern is getting people the services they need. We also have to overcome
     some language barriers.



                  Status of the safety net in   106   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
     southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Language barriers – we don’t have access to a lot of interpreters here. It depends on
    availability.
•   Finding and funding translators and finding helping professionals who can work
    with these populations. We have housing problems, also. We have lots of hidden
    bigotry in the community.
•   Just trying to get information and resources to those groups as they are pretty
    disenfranchised.
•   The services and outreach, in general, are very traditional. Culturally appropriate
    services are lacking. Availability of ESL classes must be improved (and also
    because they have job with hourly wages they can’t take off time). Migrants and
    immigrants need one to one tutoring or two to one until they are comfortable asking
    questions in a group.
•   Language and translator availability. Cultural and religious stigmas can be
    problematic.
•   We need more interpreters (more availability, more languages are needed).
•   Language (lack of English) limits the possibilities for immigrants, refugees, and
    migrant workers.
•   Lack of available housing, we have very low vacancy rates. We are seeing more
    overcrowding of units and doubling up.
•   Our ability to make appropriate referrals for housing and transportation. Not
    enough referral options in either area.
•   We would need bilingual staff.
•   Housing is a big problem. Discrimination is a big problem for anyone who is
    different from Caucasian, education should address this.
•   Language barrier and finding qualified Somali’s to case manage and translate.
•   Trying to offer enough programming to get businesses to work with us or offer
    classes at our site and getting them here at the times they could come (problems
    with transportation and child care).
•   Our county is just now in the process of purchasing and establishing temporary
    housing camps for migrant workers (will be converted from old job camps). As
    soon as these are ready, problems will be greatly reduced.
•   We have a tough time finding bilingual volunteers. The crisis line doesn’t have
    bilinguals working so non-English speaking callers have a difficult time. No one in
    our agency speaks anything but Spanish.
•   Refugees and immigrants are discriminated against in housing, many have large
    families. Migrant workers would stay for permanent jobs at $9.00, $10.00, $11.00
    per hour if there was housing. Education is continually interpreted, Children are at
    least one year behind.


                 Status of the safety net in   107   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Depending upon the notion of origin. Translators are family members. We depend
    on family members.
•   Our main concern, access to our office and services. Transportation. Knowledge of
    what we can do. A need for translators.
•   First Project FINE is two years old. We’re the only agency who works to put a pool
    of interpreters together. We need more staff people to keep us going. We don’t
    have the funding. These people can’t afford to pay for things. Without McKnight
    money we now have to figure out how to pay interpreters and charge it back to
    businesses who use services but I’m afraid businesses aren’t going to interview
    these people because of the cost. It’s a growing need and communities have not
    recognized integral role of integration in communities.
•   There is an information gap about the naturalization process – the issues, laws and
    regulations.
•   We are not equipped to do it. No outreach programs or resources that will help in
    this area.
•   Their ability to fund for interpreting services at a level that interpreters expect to be
    paid.
•   If that were to come up it would be a challenge because we haven’t had that
    experience.
•   The right kinds of interpreters and information about ethnic backgrounds is
    difficult. Then we’re really hampered in the walk-in services area.
•   Limit to what I can do $75 limit, unless I call regional officer or state. SA depends
    on donations people give. It is a firm restriction.
•   We need more money to provide education services. They are getting it all to the
    metro area. The local levying needs to be more. We need to provide daily ESL
    classes.
•   Communication barriers – although we try to find interpreters. Housing and
    medical care.
•   The language barriers is a little hard. Usually they bring an interpreter. We usually
    can work around it somehow. I haven’t had really any problems.
•   They don’t seek out help because of pride.
•   We can’t meet all their needs – we have three bilingual case managers but we can’t
    do everything. There is another group – MA that helps.
•   Politics – we were turned down from accepting free money – racism and classism.
    We have to fight that ugliness. I thought things would be better by the year 2000,
    but it hasn’t.
•   If we could have interpreters on hand in our office I have some materials in their
    languages – Somali, Spanish, Hmong.


                 Status of the safety net in   108      Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Language barriers make it difficult to reach a level of trust with immigrant and
    migrant populations. We need help with minimizing language difficulties.
•   It’s a small population that we see, there’s a lack of training and multicultural
    services. We don’t have any local places to work for them in their cultural
    boundaries.
•   We have limited ability to help. If the numbers were to increase, we don’t have the
    resources to help them.
•   We’re unable to meet needs because of the changes of immigration laws. We work
    with people in immediate danger, her, and in their home country. The laws no
    longer meet their needs, and basic safety of many individuals is a risk.
•   I’ve been finding that at first we had lots of Spanish people and we’ve been able to
    get information in their language and interpreters. Now we’re seeing a lot of others
    such as Somali and Sudanese come and that’s hard to help them with a staff our
    size. Language is a big barrier.
•   The cost per unit of service. When you have lots of different culture groups with
    different languages and cultural differences, meeting needs is that much more
    expensive per each culture. Each population is small but translations are needed for
    each one. Dollars are needed, staffing is needed, expertise is needed.
•   Language barriers. Adequate funds for programs. Long waiting lists (i.e., for Head
    Start).
•   We don’t understand the issues around it. Three Rivers with migrants, why are they
    here? What are the jobs? What does the government do? Businesses want them
    here, but migrants are being subsidized by a nonprofit. Businesses should have
    some housing for these seasonal workers. This has a major impact on families and
    kids. Fargo –SE and E MN taxes three schools in one year. Thirty different
    schools before you graduate. In Northfield they are yet to graduate a Hispanic male
    from high school. This is an issue throughout migrants. In Northfield Hispanics
    settled out migrants. He wishes migrants could live the year round and become
    permanent Americans instead of serving food niches like Jerome Foods, Chiaqinth
    food. Food packer businesses.
•   Have an attorney once a week; and paralegal who is overworked. She speaks five
    languages and helps client with citizenship and INS bonus. We have served clients
    from 16 different languages. We do a lot of basic education on housing
    discrimination and teaching immigrants and migrants about our laws. Our agency
    receives funding for this. For example, Somalians, Bosnians, Hispanics,
    Cambodian, Hmong. IMAA: International Mutual Assistance Association was
    mentioned after INS forms. I’m not sure if they (IMAA) have forms as well.
•   We don’t have a lot of materials in other languages. Some in Hmong, Spanish,
    some Thai, We need a full range of materials in other languages. We need other
    Vietnamese, Hmong, Latino language interpreters. We don’t have any locally.
    This affects their health because they can’t respond or ask questions when going to
    doctor or dentist.

                 Status of the safety net in   109    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Thirty day residency requirement, particularly puts constraints on summer migrant
    workers. In past there was always a monthly rent assistance program, now not
    available.
•   In terms of willingness of people. Our biggest concern with MFIP is that they will
    term someone exempt and then they can’t work with them at all. We don’t want
    MFIP to screw it up. As long as they keep flexibility, we’ll be ok.
•   Migrant families come in all at one time. We don’t have rooms (23 beds in this
    facility) for all the families at one time. Affordable housing or enough facilities for
    them, they need three bedroom place. Immigrants have language and custom
    barrier.
•   We can’t afford a translator. Mostly Spanish. They come here unprepared. We
    don’t’ have the finances to help family secure a place to live.
•   Language kinds of barriers. For someone coming here, they don’t have the reading,
    writing, math skills to pass our test so they can’t get financial assistance. There’s
    too big a gap between basic skills and college ability.
•   We have people from Texas to work in Quality Pork and they want to say here but
    them come with nothing. We’ve started to address this. It’s not just Hispanic. We
    don’t have housing to take care of them when they get here.
•   The basic need there would be interpreters.
•   The language barrier makes it difficult.
•   The migrants and the refugees are difficult to get into affordable housing. They get
    into too expensive housing. They double up which gets them into trouble with
    landlords. They need housing for larger families.
•   Communication barriers, we need translators.
•   We work on a grant-to-grant basis, so we always feel slightly at risk. Housing,
    many Somali, big families. Hoping to develop an employment job class for them.
    Transportation and all issues related to cars (maintenance, getting license,
    insurance). Language and religion are large barriers.
•   Language barriers.
•   Sometimes we need interpreters but when we do normally we can solve the problem
    by having a family member or someone come in and interpret. It would be nice to
    have one though.
•   Funding for transportation is a challenge. As folks are learning English, keep them
    informed in their native language as well.
•   Immigration issues – there is a great amount of fear, partially caused by large
    amount of bureaucratic red tape.




                 Status of the safety net in   110    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•    A more diverse population is moving in. South Africans not Somali. We don’t
     even know their culture or language. Project Find does know. Communicating and
     finding, even with ESL, to make them comfortable and welcome. Finding
     interpreter, long-term communicating while they are at work so they feel safe.
     Ongoing issues in communicating needs. Things taken for granted, kids sick, hurt
     leg. How not to get injured at work, training for quality standards. We have found
     – understanding, filling out forms and their importance MFIP, Social Security,
     drivers license, Food Stamps -- like they’ll be cut off.
•    Housing.
•    I’m laid off for two months and I wonder who will help these people. I’m the only
     bilingual person and I wonder how they are doing it.
•    We’re always under funded and that impacts our community. Federal restrictions
     on ability to represent undocumented persons.

7B. Can you think of anything that would improve the basic assistance services at
    your agency?
     Response
•    Need to subsidize day care. Emergency monies for migrants. Adult education – get
     more of a toe-hold in helping people get GED and English.
•    We need money for one-time, miscellaneous needs. We need more money for
     eviction notices and rent deposits. Summer youth programs and funds for people to
     go through Vo-Tech school.
•    More funding dollars and support for adults going back to school for Vo-Tech and
     college.
•    More emergency assistance funding. More funding for child care costs. Easier
     access to health care insurance for the gray areas (people get frustrated and give up)
     with all the forms. They need a lot of extra help.
•    I wish we had more money. It would be nice if we were in the same building as
     other services in the area so we could work together.
•    By giving some of the programs to the rural areas as opposed to urban areas. That’s
     the biggest problem.
•    If we had some security about how long-term funding it would allow us to do some
     planning. Also, specialization of staff in particular issues. Then one person could
     focus on housing or child care, etc.
•    Funding is always a problem.
•    More day care monies for miscellaneous costs not just for the work or the work
     search.
•    More money available for people who don’t fit certain eligibility criterion. More
     MFIP resources available. More money, less eligibility rules.

                  Status of the safety net in   111    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
     southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   We don’t consider ourselves an agency. We’re part of the Catholic Worker
    movement. We do that well. (Anything that would help you?) I would feel better
    if I felt there was more affordable housing available. I really don’t have much to
    complain about.
•   A stronger funding base, we operate on grants, gifts if we had some kind of link
    into county funds for emergency. A county purchased vehicle that would be
    available for volunteers to use (because we do not have mileage reimbursement).
    Be more mindful of collaborative and reduce red tape, and actually serve the needs.
•   Helping out with emergency services.
•   Funding options for people in our food and nutrition program. Funding to hire
    more food and nutrition workers. Increasing transportation options in the county
    would be good for our clients.
•   Early interaction in cases with young boys who were assaults at a young age, then
    don’t get intervention help and go on to be abusers themselves because they were
    not treated properly. More … funding toward prevention and education as the
    community is pretty much in denial about sexual violence. More done with
    underserved populations, work in collaboration with other services.
•   There is a great need for affordable housing and we use up our funds for emergency
    housing very quickly. This is a large, complicated problem that cannot be solved by
    I a solution.
•   More funding is needed to improve our capabilities.
•   Available, flexible, try to connect them with agency. Time limit isn’t a problem.
    Certain standards easier rules have a maximum, some limit to ER services.
•   Funding for all services that are above state median earnings guidelines – we want
    them “metro area” guidelines applied to Olmsted County to “raise the bar” so more
    people will qualify for help they need.
•   Money for training and education. Money for housing. Money for repairing cars
    and transportation.
•   Food – hot meal, prepared food. Transportation – getting the people there and
    home again. We feed them at church and then take them. Some transportation for
    disabled and elderly is not available. Many low income live far out in trailer parks
    and don’t have cars.
•   Money – funding needs. Staffing to provide services needed out there. Political
    support for continued funding and public support for programs targeted to help housing.
•   More staffing and funding for this purpose. More collaborative effort and
    communication among organizations. The more information we have the better we
    can serve those who call us.
•   Provide in-home care in this county. More availability of support and therapy
    groups. Improve eligibility (criteria) for primary diagnosis.


                 Status of the safety net in   112   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Allow emergency assistance more than one. Include emergency medical assistance
    because many migrant workers have no medical insurance.
•   More funding available for transportation. More funding for housing (especially
    rentals). More funding for affordable child care.
•   We meet the need pretty well.
•   Smaller caseloads for social workers. Do away with all the different application
    forms for each program. One form where people could request whatever they need.
    Program simplification (same vehicle limit for MFIP as Food Stamps). Uniformity
    between program lines. More dentists to participate in taking medical assistance.
    Their reimbursement is too low.
•   Community Action Agency is also part of Freeborn County but we’re not co-
    located so we have to send people to a separate location to apply for services. It
    would be nice if we could be in the same building.
•   Housing more staff who speak ethnic languages. Having more volunteers for 24
    hour response. Having someone in the agency who knows sign language. We have
    a need for more male volunteers.
•   More money. We have a good support network.
•   We need resources to subsidize administration for these programs. (We can only
    fund 1.5 FTE to handle many programs.)
•   I think there are times when even though we have a fairly diverse staff, more
    diversity on our staff.
•   Earlier detection (prevention of larger problems) with housing costs. All agencies
    work together in helping clients in budgeting and planning and also work together
    on some of the more difficult cases.
•   More availability of affordable housing – especially rentals. We need a “slush”
    fund to help with special needs (e.g., auto maintenance, steel-toed work shoes).
•   We work mostly with organizations for housing. Corroboration with faith-based
    organizations in a more organized, focused way. Realization of funding and
    policymakers that problems are easier to deal with. Change policies in funding to
    small communities. Quiet small towns have a lot of needs. Resources need to be
    poured into smaller communities.
•   More money specifically for meals on wheels for elderly. Nutrition site program
    for elderly.
•   I would say, on the one hand having more discretionary funds would be helpful.
    Cutting back in paperwork would help people get assistance quickly.
•   One year we got a grant for $5,000 in emergency funds for battered women. It was
    wonderful. We really helped a lot of people that year. Without that we can’t help a
    lot of women.



                 Status of the safety net in   113   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   I would like $1,000 in a local pot of money so that if people had none – like basic
    needs they could get a little cash.
•   Not child care, heat, rent, electricity, food single meals, gas for transportation,
    money for medical, we have a voucher. Voucher is taken to store, the bill is sent to
    SA. No cash is given.
•   Money to provide more activities. There’s some money for youths but none for
    adults (recreational activities).
•   I wish we had more money to do stuff. That’s all because I think we do well
    providing things here.
•   Perhaps better location than county courthouse for county food shelf (for storage of
    food and other items). But on the other hand, this does make it accessible. It’s just
    that storage space really could be better.
•   No.
•   More funding. I think it would be a lot easier for all agencies if we could work
    more closely together. It would same dome dollars. Maybe housing could pay a
    down payment on an apartment and we could pay the first months rent.
•   No
•   We need to have good dollars to have enough staff. We don’t have enough staffing.
    If I had my best dream we would be located right downtown with a big parking lit,
    but we’re not.
•   I can’t think of anything. I don’t hear big complaints from people that we’re not
    helping them.
•   I would say more living facilities, that’s the main reason they move out of this area.
    There’s not enough handicapped living. They don’t want to develop it.
•   We don’t have interpreters in the outreach office ever. We have them in
    classrooms, they have to bring their own interpreter with them to outreach office.
    Better hours to serve families in outreach office. They close at 9:00 - 2:30, so
    evening hours would be good. Maybe some people are working and can’t get in.
•   More staff or more hours for current part-time positions. More funding would be
    required to expand our services.
•   Not hat I can think of unless we get someone who doesn’t speak English or
    Spanish, then we c could use some interpreters.
•   I guess maybe more funds for people who need repairs done to their homes. I can’t
    think of anything.
•   No.
•   I would like, we don’t have social workers so there’s no real follow-up. Would like
    to have social worker follow-up.



                 Status of the safety net in   114    Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   A change in immigration and refugee laws, we need to get back to allowing
    someone who comes legitimately some protection for safe services if she is
    abandoned. A change in laws and funding to accommodate older adolescent or
    young adult who need safety services because they are being assaulted by a family
    member.
•   Probably, we always seem to be running out of administration to run the programs.
    We have funds for the programs except we run out of administration funds.
•   NA – we find agencies through services.
•   Adequate funds so there would be no waiting lists. Some way to break down
    language barriers (we haven’t been able to afford bilingual staff). How do we
    justify business and employer involvement and responsibility for providing
    adequate child care for their employees?
•   We’re working on it – we have a family coalition that’s been created and funded. I
    want to create resources along those lines. I’d like to see community support and
    investment in these emergency issues.
•   More money that is looser and flexible. More staff social workers and case
    managers.
•   The rules are different if you don’t fit into next slot, you’re out of luck. There is a
    lot of paperwork, a simpler process. These rules are frustrating for us.
•   Their office provides “legal intervention to any of these problems” legal assisting
    and intervention. More funding. Raising the poverty levels to provide to people
    above current set guidelines. (125% of poverty level is current same as MFIP. Or
    180% in special case for ER need.)
•   Less restrictive rules being applied to women and children who are homeless due to
    domestic violence. More other language materials. I’d like to generate a money-
    pot for public transportation. We have one tank of gas vouchers for people looking
    for work, I’d like this expanded, because what happens when can’t find a job by the
    end of the tank of gas.
•   Have a fund set-up at agency’s discretion to help that emergency need. We need
    more funds for this. A fund for medication – to serve elderly or kids, MA doesn’t
    cover the specific medication.
•   Pay-to-day transportation. We would like to have a county wide bus.
•   Specific ER? Infrequent one time, ER services are tied to clients in our program.
    Special money for economic self-sufficiency. It is find to only one program. We
    need to educate to prevent homelessness. Creating a homeownerships program. ER
    type housing assistance directly for housing to keep people on our program not to
    falter, e.g., if they create a violation, then we can’t help them. A better referral
    system for other community services.




                 Status of the safety net in   115     Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   More people could be more compassionate – this is an ongoing concern. The
    resources are here in our community. People tithing 10 percent is never realized.
    Getting people to give. We could always do more.
•   What I like is the flexibility of funding – to use money and services across silos.
    Combine funding for outcome for families across funding streams. Apply resources
    as needed.
•   A few more volunteers to sleep overnight in [the] house. Volunteer for taking
    different shift at house. We did an addition on [the] house, to 23 beds: one room
    [with] three beds and a bath; one large room seven beds; three rooms with three
    beds; one room with four beds. … Sometimes rooms are used for a family.
•   I wish I had buildings to get people living in. Buildings for housing would help.
•   More money targeted at eviction notices. The after school program for latch key
    kids. Our grant is running out; when this runs out, 90 percent of our kids will be
    home alone.
•   Probably the one thing that they would be the most helpful would be the change of
    attitude toward these types of people. Sometimes they’re not treated with much
    respect.
•   We could use interpreters or materials in other languages, like Somali. Having
    audio materials would be nice for people who can’t read any language.
•   I guess not.
•   Transitional and emergency shelter. We’re concerned about homeless children.
    We have a small emergency shelter grant and some transitional housing but not
    enough.
•   I don’t know. I guess fine with client and participants. I support more ways to help
    those who aren’t on assistance.
•   More money. There’s a limit to how far – if I go from the Minnesota Valley Action
    angle, there’s a limit of money available. More money for gas, car repairs,
    weatherization, for gaps when someone has an emergency. More of a general fund.
•   It would be better if we were in amore central location.
•   Additional funding and possibly new programs that might address emergency
    issues.
•   We would like to expand our services, but we need more space, more money.
•   Funding that would make it possible to have a van that would transport more than
    one person at a time. Funding to do outreach and let people know about services
    that are available.
•   More funds for CSBG (discretionary funds) as it goes too fast. It’s a great fund for
    us because we can use it for things that fall through the cracks.
•   A better directory of what’s available and who to call under certain circumstances.


                 Status of the safety net in   116   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
•   Transportation needs must be addressed (to get to services, drivers education to get
    a license). Funding for all programs we offer and especially system to meet basic
    needs. An easier system to meet basic needs – access to county services more
    immediately and other services (everything is very time consuming).
•   Probably more accessible funding. Maybe more cooperation from other resources
    in the community.
•   Money and more grants.
•   Bigger pots of money, less restrictions on standards for programs. Be more lenient.
•   Interpreters, Spanish, Somali, Sudanese. Available housing.
•   Not really. I didn’t see any holes.
•   The way we determine eligibility for utility assistance. It’s a nightmare – we need
    to have it streamlines.
•   The language issues for ESL people.
•   Possibly having an on-site interpreter.
•   I would do more – advertising, more making sure people know we’re here.
    Increase funding so there are not waiting lists.
•   More funding for housing. More funding for emergency situations. More funding
    for children’s programs dealing with abuse issues. More staffing for our agency.
•   The McKnight partnership funded a revolving loan fund, which they don’t make
    clients responsible to pay back. This is a problematic. We don’t sanction the
    participant if they don’t follow through we merely threaten this. They should be
    sanctioned by having their MFIP cut. It teaches them responsibility. There is only
    one full-time staff person and we need more. The caseload is over 30 people and
    their cases are complex, so there isn’t enough time devoted to each case and the
    quality suffers. We need a way to get a hold of them. They vanish, they don’t
    answer phone or door.
•   More discretionary money that don’t have strict guidelines (especially in the
    transportation area). Let the local agency decide where the needs are. More staff to
    handle all the issues, leg work and coordinating for the harder cases. More space.
•   Education. If we could provide transportation we could do better child care. Our
    person is leaving and are questioning whether we will continue, maybe it is not
    needed. Not regularly used by people. The financial cost, is it worth it for us to
    continue offering it?
•   If there were more shelters around. If there was something about getting them
    telephones so we could just talk to them.




                 Status of the safety net in   117   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
    southeast and south-central Minnesota
             Status of the safety net in   118   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
southeast and south-central Minnesota
Project Code: 6438-1                                                                                                   Client ID _____________
Organization Code: 44001                                                                                               Time: _______________
                                                                                                                               (24 hour clock)


Key-Informant Interview
                      Southeast and south-central MN Basic Services Needs Assessment


I’m going to ask you some questions about basic services. By basic services we mean helping low income
people with things like shelter, food, clothing, utilities, transportation, health care, emergency financial
assistance, and child care.

1A. Do you think that some of the people who need basic services in your area at this time are unable to get
    the help they need? (PROBE: Do you think there are currently any gaps or holes in the existing safety
    net?)
                                            Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                            No .....................................................(GO TO Q. 2A)................................. 2
                                                         Ref ........................................(GO TO Q. 2A)................................. 7
                                                         DK ........................................(GO TO Q. 2A)................................. 8

1B. Please describe. (PROBE: Why do you think so? What services do you think people are unable to get?
    What gaps or holes would you say exist?)
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

2A. Do you think the recent changes in welfare rules in Minnesota have in any way affected the kinds of help
    people need in your area? (PROBE: Do you think the shift from AFDC to MFIP in January 1998 has
    affected needs for basic assistance in your area?)
                                            Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                            No .....................................................(GO TO Q. 2C)................................. 2
                                                         Ref ........................................(GO TO Q. 3A)................................. 7
                                                         DK ........................................(GO TO Q. 3A)................................. 8




                       The status of the safety net in               -119-                Wilder Research Center, April 2000
              southeast and south-central Minnesota
2B. In what ways?
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

2C. Why not?
    _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

3A. What do you see as the biggest barriers to permanent self-sufficiency for low income adults with children
in your area of the state?
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

3B. What do you see as the biggest barriers to permanent self-sufficiency for low income adults who do not
have children in your area of the state?
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

4A. Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to meet the basic needs of immigrants, refugees,
    and migrant workers in your area?
                                            Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                            No .....................................................(GO TO Q. 5A)................................. 2
                                                         Ref ........................................(GO TO Q. 5A)................................. 7
                                                         DK ........................................(GO TO Q. 5A)................................. 8

4B. Please describe your concerns.
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________




                       The status of the safety net in               -120-                Wilder Research Center, April 2000
              southeast and south-central Minnesota
5A. Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to meet the basic needs of family farmers in your
    area?
                                             Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                             No ........................................................(GO TO Q. 6)................................. 2
                                                          Ref ...........................................(GO TO Q. 6)................................. 7
                                                          DK ...........................................(GO TO Q. 6)................................. 8

5B. What are your concerns?
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

6A. Do you have any concerns about your agency’s ability to help people who have one-time emergency or
     critical needs but do not meet eligibility criteria for county or state assistance?
                                             Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                             No .....................................................(GO TO Q. 7A)................................. 2
                                                          Ref ........................................(GO TO Q. 7A)................................. 7
                                                          DK ........................................(GO TO Q. 7A)................................. 8

6B. What are your concerns?
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

7A. Does the organization you work for offer any of the basic services I’ve described, like helping people with
    shelter, food, clothing, utilities, transportation, health care, emergency financial assistance, child care, or
    any other emergency one-time needs?
                                             Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                             No ........................................................(GO TO Q. 8)................................. 2
                                                          Ref ...........................................(GO TO Q. 8)................................. 7
                                                          DK ...........................................(GO TO Q. 8)................................. 8




                        The status of the safety net in               -121-                Wilder Research Center, April 2000
               southeast and south-central Minnesota
7B. Can you think of anything that would improve the basic assistance services at your agency?
    (PROBE FOR AT LEAST THREE SUGGESTIONS)
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________


8A. If you had the opportunity to make improvements in just one area of basic services in your part of the
    state, what area would you work on?
    _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

8B. What suggestions do you have to improve this area?
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________
     _____________________________________________________________________________________

9.   I’m going to list several types of emergency and basic services. Please tell me how you would rate the
     adequacy of each service in the area of the state in which you work.

                                                Would you say that in your area this service is……….
                                                Much more                                    Much less than
                                                   than                    Less than       adequate, or simply
                                                 adequate     Adequate     adequate           not available      Ref   DK
      Shelter/Housing
      A. Homeless shelters                               1       2             3                     4           7     8
      B. Battered women’s shelters                       1       2             3                     4           7     8
      C. Transitional housing
         programs                                        1       2             3                     4           7     8
      D. Subsidized rental housing                       1       2             3                     4           7     8
      E. Access to funds for
         emergency housing repair                        1       2             3                     4           7     8
      F. Access to mortgage
         foreclosure prevention funds                    1       2             3                     4           7     8



                       The status of the safety net in       -122-         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
              southeast and south-central Minnesota
9.    Continued

                                                   Would you say that in your area this service is……….
                                                   Much more                                    Much less than
                                                      than                    Less than       adequate, or simply
                                                    adequate     Adequate     adequate           not available      Ref   DK
     Food/Clothing/Furniture
     G. Emergency food shelves                              1       2             3                     4           7     8
     H. Sustaining food shelves for
        ongoing use                                         1       2             3                     4           7     8
     I.   Food Stamps                                       1       2             3                     4           7     8
     J. Free or low-cost clothing for
        adults                                              1       2             3                     4           7     8
     K. Free or low-cost clothing for
        children                                            1       2             3                     4           7     8
     L. Free or low-cost furniture                          1       2             3                     4           7     8
     M. Free or low-cost work
        supplies (work boots, tools,
        uniforms)                                           1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Utilities
     N. Utility bill payment assistance                     1       2             3                     4           7     8
     O. Emergency funds to repair or
        replace appliances, such as
        furnaces                                            1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Transportation
     P. Help with car repairs                               1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Q. Other help with obtaining,
        maintaining and driving cars                        1       2             3                     4           7     8
     R. Access to transit services like
        shuttles, volunteer drivers,
        public busses, etc.)                                1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Health care
     S. Access to government-funded
        health care (MA,
        MinnesotaCare)                                      1       2             3                     4           7     8
     T. Access to employer-
        sponsored health insurance                          1       2             3                     4           7     8
     U. Access to medical providers                         1       2             3                     4           7     8
     V. Access to mental health
        providers                                           1       2             3                     4           7     8
     W. Access to dental providers                          1       2             3                     4           7     8
     X. Access to chemical
        dependency treatment                                1       2             3                     4           7     8

                          The status of the safety net in       -123-         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
                 southeast and south-central Minnesota
9.   Continued

                                               Would you say that in your area this service is……….
                                               Much more                                    Much less than
                                                  than                    Less than       adequate, or simply
                                                adequate     Adequate     adequate           not available      Ref   DK
     Financial assistance
     Y. Emergency financial
        assistance for families with
        children                                        1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Z. Emergency financial
        assistance for adults without
        children                                        1       2             3                     4           7     8
     AA. Emergency financial
        assistance for the elderly                      1       2             3                     4           7     8
     BB. Consumer Credit Counseling                     1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Child care
     CC. Off-hours child care (evening,
         weekend)                                       1       2             3                     4           7     8
     DD. Sick child care                                1       2             3                     4           7     8
     EE. Child care centers                             1       2             3                     4           7     8
     FF. In-home child care providers
         (licensed family child care)                   1       2             3                     4           7     8
     GG. Drop-in child care                             1       2             3                     4           7     8
     HH. Access to child care
         subsidies (Basic Sliding Fee
         Program, MFIP child care
         subsidy and transitional year)                 1       2             3                     4           7     8
     Services for immigrants, refugees
     II. Translators for emergency
         services (translation services
         for immigrants and refugees)                   1       2             3                     4           7     8
     JJ. Other services for
         immigrants, refugees, and
         migrant workers (like ESL
         classes and culturally
         appropriate services)                          1       2             3                     4           7     8




                      The status of the safety net in       -124-         Wilder Research Center, April 2000
             southeast and south-central Minnesota
10.   FOR ANY RATED AS LESS THAN ADEQUATE OR MUCH LESS THAN ADEQUATE What do you
      feel should be done to improve services in the area of [each]?

Letter of   Suggestion for Improvement
Item

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________




                       The status of the safety net in   -125-   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
              southeast and south-central Minnesota
Letter of   Suggestion for Improvement
Item

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________

            _______________________________________________________________________________



                       The status of the safety net in   -126-   Wilder Research Center, April 2000
              southeast and south-central Minnesota
11A. Many people in Minnesota are concerned about the availability of affordable housing. Is this a problem in
     your area of the state?
                                             Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                             No ...................................................(GO TO Q. 12A)................................. 2
                                                          Ref ......................................(GO TO Q. 12A)................................. 7
                                                          DK ......................................(GO TO Q. 12A)................................. 8

11B. What do you think should be done to increase the availability of affordable housing in your area?
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
      _____________________________________________________________________________________

11C. Do you think your organization could play a role in such a strategy?
                                             Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                             No ...................................................(GO TO Q. 12A)................................. 2
                                                          Ref ......................................(GO TO Q. 12A)................................. 7
                                                          DK ......................................(GO TO Q. 12A)................................. 8

11D. In what way?
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
      _____________________________________________________________________________________

12A. Are there any other emergency or basic needs services that we have not discussed that you feel are needed
in your part of the state?
                                             Yes............................................................................................................... 1
                                             No ......................................................(GO TO Q. 13)................................. 2
                                                          Ref .........................................(GO TO Q. 13)................................. 7
                                                          DK .........................................(GO TO Q. 13)................................. 8

12B. What services?
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
                        The status of the safety net in               -127-                Wilder Research Center, April 2000
               southeast and south-central Minnesota
Now, I just have a few questions about you and the organization you work for.
13. Do you supervise or manage programs, provide direct service to clients, or both?
                                            Supervise or Manager.................................................................................. 1
                                            Direct Service.............................................................................................. 2
                                            Both ............................................................................................................. 3
                                                         Ref ................................................................................................... 7
                                                         DK ................................................................................................... 8
                                                         NA ................................................................................................... 9

14.   Which of the following services does your organization provide?
      (MARK ALL THAT APPLY)
                                                                                                                                     Yes       No         DK
                                  A. Housing assistance,                                                                             1         2          8
                                  B. Food assistance,                                                                                1         2          8
                                  C. Clothing or furniture assistance,                                                               1         2          8
                                  D. Utilities assistance or help with heating bills,                                                1         2          8
                                  E. Transportation assistance,                                                                      1         2          8
                                  F. Financial assistance,                                                                           1         2          8
                                  G. Other types of emergency or basic assistance (SPECIFY:                                          1         2          8
                                       _____________________________________________),
                                  H. Economic development,                                                                           1         2          8
                                  I. Job Training,                                                                                   1         2          8
                                  J. Education,                                                                                      1         2          8
                                  K. Child Care, or                                                                                  1         2          8
                                  L. Health Care?                                                                                    1         2          8


15A. How many years have you worked in social services?
                                     _______________ number of years (round up)

15B. How many years have you worked for the organization you work for now?
                                     _______________ number of years (round up)




                       The status of the safety net in                -128-                Wilder Research Center, April 2000
              southeast and south-central Minnesota
16.   How many years have you worked in this area of the state?
                                      _______________ number of years (round up)

17.   What county do you work in?
       01   Aitkin                     23    Fillmore                         45   Martin                             67 Rock
       02   Anoka                      24    Freeborn                         46   McLeod                             68 Roseau
       03   Becker                     25.   Goodhue                          47   Meeker                             69    St. Louis
       04   Beltrami                   26    Grant                            48   Mille Lacs                         70    Scott
       05   Benton                     27    Hennepin                         49   Morrison                           71    Sherburne
       06   Big Stone                  28    Houston                          50   Mower                              72    Sibley
       07   Blue Earth                 29    Hubbard                          51   Murray                             73    Stearns
       08   Brown                      30    Isanti                           52   Nicollet                           74    Steele
       09   Carlton                    31    Itasca                           53   Nobles                             75    Stevens
       10   Carver                     32    Jackson                          54   Norman                             77    Todd
       11   Cass                       33    Kanabec                          55   Olmsted                            78    Traverse
       12   Chippewa                   34    Kandiyohi                        56   Otter Tail                         79    Wabasha
       13   Chisago                    35    Kittson                          57   Pennington                         80    Wadena
       14   Clay                       36    Koochiching                      58   Pine                               81    Waseca
       15   Clearwater                 37    Lac qui Parle                    59   Pipeston                           82    Washington
       16   Cook                       38    Lake                             60   Polk                               83    Watonwan
       17   Cottonwood                 39    Lake of the Woods                61   Pope                               84    Wilkin
       18   Crow Wing                  40    Le Sueur                         62   Ramsey                             85    Winona
       19   Dakota                     41    Lincoln                          63   Red Lake                           86    Wright
       20   Dodge                      42    Lyon                             64   Redwood                            87    Yellow Medicine
       21   Douglas                    43    Mahnomen                         65   Renville
       22   Faribault                  44    Marshall                         66   Rice

18.   Which agency do you work for? ________________________________________

19.   Is this organization………………
                                             A government agency (county, state, federal),............................................ 1
                                             A nonprofit organization, ............................................................................ 2
                                             A school or child care facility, or................................................................ 3
                                             Other (SPECIFY: __________________________________________) . 4

20.   CODE WITHOUT ASKING:
                                             Male............................................................................................................. 1
                                             Female ......................................................................................................... 2
Thank you!

                        The status of the safety net in               -129-               Wilder Research Center, April 2000
               southeast and south-central Minnesota

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:0
posted:3/21/2012
language:
pages:138
yaohongm yaohongm http://
About