Dakota County Partnership
Written by Linda Olson
Our Mission Outreach MOVE team consists of a group of volunteers and staff looking for ways to help families visiting our food shelf on a regular basis to move towards self-sustainability. We have a computer lab to assist with the employment process staffed weekly by volunteers. We help with resumes, job search and employment applications.
During the process of discerning what keeps people from moving forward, one of the road blocks we discovered was the process one faces when applying for assistance from the County. While the process is pre# y straight forward, we recognized significant challenges clients may face during the application process, one of them being ease of access. The Service Center for Dakota County is located in West St. Paul. By car, the distance from Burnsville to West St. Paul is minimal. If you do not have a car, a bus will get you to West St. Paul in 2.75 hours, one way. The intake process is only 30-45 minutes but you would also need to wait your turn once you arrived, not to mention the 2.75 hour return ride.
While looking into qualifying for County Assistance, we connected with some Dakota County workers who entertained a partnership that would be beneficial to the community. After several conversations, we have begun a new partnership which will allow Dakota County residents to complete the County Intake form here at Prince of Peace with the assistance of volunteers from our community. Residents can apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Cash Assistance, Emergency Assistance and MNSure through these volunteers.
This partnership between Dakota County and Prince of Peace is significant as it is a part of the Vision team research and is the number one recommendation for Mission Outreach moving forward. It is also a pilot program for Dakota County to allow volunteers to assist residents with the application. And finally, it shows organizations can work together for the greater good of our community and form partnerships with a broader vision for a stronger future.
Linda Olson is the Mission Outreach Assistant at Prince of Peace.