Grants, program impact discussed.

    Grant funding and the impact of local and area programming were spotlighted at the biannual meeting of the Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives held Wednesday in the U of M Crookston’s Bede Ballroom.


    Highlights of the day included:


    • Stephen-Argyle School District Superintendent Chris Mills speaking on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant awarded to his district and three others in 2017 for programming outside the normal school day


    • Tri-Valley Opportunity Council CEO Jason Carlson presenting on the Minnesota System of Care “Family Navigator” grant


    • Joe Rand, University of Minnesota Extension educator, presenting on “Working with LGBTQ+ Youth and Families in Rural Communities.” Rand provided data regarding the percentage of school-age population that identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas. Rand tried to increase understanding of “what children in this group think and feel, realize the lack of access to role models or safe spaces where youth can ask questions and develop relationships with other people who are like them, and gain insight into better policies and training.”


    • Polk County Public Health Director Sarah Reese detailing the results of the Northwest Minnesota Community Health Assessment


    • Catherine Johnson, executive director of the Inter-County Community Council, presenting on the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Grant. To help end youth homelessness, HUD awarded $43 million to 11 communities across the country, including nearly $1.41 million to the Inter-County Community Council, on behalf of the Northwest Minnesota Continuum of Care, through its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). This HUD program supports a wide range of housing interventions including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes.


    Randy Bruer is the current chair of the Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives, and he provided greetings at Wednesday’s gathering.