ND Celebrates Community Action Work After Challenging Year
FARGO, N.D. -- This month, agencies that help low-income residents escape poverty are being honored for their work, including efforts in North Dakota, where leaders say the pandemic has provided opportunities to be more effective in the future.
May is Community Action Awareness Month, and the statewide agency for North Dakota was honored with a proclamation from the governor's office.
Andrea Olson, executive director for the Community Action Partnership of North Dakota, said despite a year in which her staff had to shift to working remotely, they still were able to serve clients for issues such as affordable housing.
"We had over 7,700 outcomes that were obtained," Olson recounted. "People were obtaining and maintaining their housing. They were avoiding eviction."
Olson noted to keep services flowing, they tried new approaches, such as clients texting photos of key documents, so paperwork could still be processed. She suggested it could continue even after the pandemic, so those struggling can be served more efficiently.
Olson added they've spent the better part of a year in response mode, to get immediate help to people affected by the crisis. Looking ahead, she emphasized they'll hone in on a key issue for their organization.
"Our statewide needs assessment confirmed for us that affordable housing across North Dakota is still the number one need identified by people experiencing poverty," Olson stressed.
The statewide assessment was issued by the organization late last year.
Community Action Partnership also helps with weatherization for low-income households, and assists military veterans.
North Dakota economists say while the state may have weathered the economic crisis from the pandemic a little better than some other states, it still saw families affected by job disruptions in the oil and gas industry, as well as the hospitality sector.
K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.
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