City of West Concord

A Proud Heritage, A Bright Future

6th Community Survey Results


This is the sixth and most likely the last article on the results of the West Concord Community Survey completed in November 2006.  If you missed the articles they can be found on the West Concord web site at www.westconcordmn.com, under EDA/Community Survey.

This article will address the availability of transportation for seniors and financial aid for home owners.  These were mentioned in a couple of the comments on the survey's.

Transportation is available through SEMCAC (SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA CITIZENS ACTION COUNCIL) located in Dodge Center and Rushford.  They provide bus service on an on-call basis for low cost fees.  They have a regular schedule which includes: Monday to John's Supervalu (Senior Citizens Day), Tuesday to Erdman's Country Market in Kasson (Senior Citizens Day), and the first and third Tuesday of the month to Rochester. One time will be to Apache Mall , the other will be to Wal-Mart or another store. You can schedule a ride by calling 374-2501 or 1-800-528-7622 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. the day before you want to go.  The fee for Seniors is $1.50 routrip to Erdman's or John's, and $7.00 for the round trip to Rochester.

Transportation can also be arranged for medical appointments through SEMCAC.  Besides the bus, they sponsor a VOLUNTEER DRIVER PROGRAM, where volunteers drive individuals to medical appointments.  They (SEMCAC) are looking for volunteer drivers for the program and reimburse for the cost of driving. You can contact SEMCAC in Dodge Center by phoning 374-6401, or visiting them in the old Dodge Center Elementary School (now MIDTOWN CENTER).

SEMCAC also has several Housing assistance programs for those on limited income.  One is the ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM that you have seen ads for on TV. This is a one time per year help with fuel.  Applications are taken in Dodge Center, and you have to prove your income which can be up to 50% of the median income of the State of Minnesota.  It may take two or three months to get approval.

SEMCAC has an EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM for a family that has missed or has ONE late payment because of extreme circumstances, such as sudden medical bill.  SEMCAC must verify all information and cannot do anything if the family is late two or three payments.

SEMCAC has a WEATHERIZATION PROGRAM that will help insulate or make a house more energy efficient.  The money is limited so they evaluate the applications to see where the money will be the most beneficial.

They have a program for RENTERS facing eviction.  This requires that the renter verify their income and are normally able to pay the rent.  But again, if there are unsual bills that keep the renter from paying the rent, one time assistance is available.  They also take applications and forward to the appropriate agency for the SECTION 8 PROGRAM, which is an ongoing rental assistance program.

SEMCAC takes applications for FOOD STAMPS and forward them to the appropriate agency.  They operate the FOOD SHELF for Dodge County.  The Food Shelf eligibility is based upon income and family size.  A family can get an allotment each month for some food to help the family. The allotment does not fulfill the total food needs of the family for the month.

SEMCAC also helps families that qualify with SCHOOL SUPPLIES for students.  This includes paper, pens and pencils, folders, calculators, and backpacks.

SEMCAC is also the contact site for THE SALVATION ARMY in Dodge County.  The Dodge County Salvation Army receives only funds donated directly in Dodge County for the SALVATION ARMY programs.  They do not get resources from Olmsted or Steele county.  Through the SALVATION ARMY, vouchers in small amounts are available for medicine (if not insured and on a limited basis), dental emergencies, beds, and clothing for safety needs.

The USED-A-BIT resale store is a non-profit store and equivalent to the SALVATION ARMY STORE.  It provides some funds for SEMCAC and other programs in Dodge County.

SEMCAC is a clearing house for Christmas needs and for Head Start applications.  They support the Senior Dining program and Meals-on-Wheels from the Rushford office.

The Rushford office of SEMCAC handles two loan programs through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.  One is the Minnesota Fix-up Fund, which offers loans up to $35,000, with an interest rate currently at 7.25% for up to 20 years. This can be used for roofs, siding, electrical wiring updating, energy conservation improvements, ramps and entrances, and adapting to handicap availability.  On loans less than $10,000 there is no mortgage.  On loans above $10,000 there will be a mortgage and some fees.  The other program, which is limited, is the Rehabilitation Loan Program.  This loan provides zero percent interest for up to 30 years if several conditions are met. They also have two loan programs for rental housing rehabilitation, with several requirements, that are available if someone is interested in rental programs. 

The Rushford office can be reached at 507-864-7741 or at www.semcac.org, or By writing to 204 South Elm Street, P. O. Box 549, Rushford, MN 55971-0549.

Another organization that can help with HOUSING ASSISTANCE is SEMMCHRA (SOUTHESTERN MINNESOTA MULTI-COUNTY HOUSING & REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY).  They have access to programs such as FIRST HOMES for first time home buyers, and GREATER MINNESOTA HOUSING FUND which assists low income home buyers. There are income guidelines and housing value limitations on these programs. Sometimes a conventional loan can be as advantageous.  For all the details you can contact FIRST HOMES at www.firsthomes.org, and contact GREATER MINNESOTA HOUSING FUND at www.gmhf.com.  SEMMCHRA has a link on it's web site at www.semmchra.org to the above web sites.

SEMMCHRA has links to the MINNESOTA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY (www.mhfa.state. mn.us) for the fix-up fund requirements that are also available through SEMCAC.

If you do not have access to the Internet, you can access the web sites on the computers at the West Concord Library. The Library hours are: Monday and Thursday, 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:00a.m. to 12:00 noon.

These are some of the programs available to assist West Concord families in maintaining their homes and be financially able to continue to live in their homes.  There are also programs to assist seniors in their needs such as transportation and housing. You just have to look for them and contact social agencies such as Dodge County Social Services, SEMCAC, or SEMMCHRA, to obtain information on how to access these programs.

Recently West Concord started a Meals-On-Wheels program for Seniors. Those in need of this program can contact SEMCAC, Trinity Lutheran Church (527-2778), or any pastor.

Welcome to the official website of the City of West Concord