Tri-Valley - More critical community input needed

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Crookston-based Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. needs much more community input submitted online by the communities it serves, and it needs it quickly, as in, by Friday, May 7.

    It’s the input the community action agency receives via its annual “Community Forum” initiative that drives the development of its two-year strategic plan, formulated by Tri-Valley’s Board of Directors.

    In a more normal time, Tri-Valley would host a series of in-person community forums in communities throughout its primary service area. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tri-Valley is asking people to submit their input online. Tri-Valley released the links last month and urged a widespread response, but, this week, Tri-Valley leaders announced that they have received “very few responses” and they need a lot more, by May 7.

    The Community Forum information can be found in PDF format at, which includes a link at the bottom to submit comments. Or, you can go directly to to submit your input.

    Community members and agency partners in West Polk, West Marshall and Norman counties are urged to access the online forum and submit comments “on their community’s strengths, weaknesses, or possible community needs over the next 12 months.”

More about Tri-Valley

    • Tri-Valley’s mission is “to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for people and communities.”

    • It employs more than 600 staff annually, including bilingual staff that provide translation services for non-English speakers.

    • Hundreds of Tri-Valley volunteers provide more than 100,000 hours of service each year.

    • Tri-Valley’s budget for fiscal year 2019 was more than $24 million.

    • 80% of its funding comes from grants.

2019 numbers

    For low-income individuals and/or families, Tri-Valley provided:

    • 187,956 rides

    • 6,250 information and referral calls

    • Transit services (bus passes, bus transport, support for auto purchase or repair) to 62,652 individuals

    • Referrals for emergency food assistance to 1,843 individuals

    • Emergency rent or mortgage assistance to 87 individuals

    • Financial literacy education to 86 individuals

    • Assistance with health insurance options to 265 individuals

    • SNAP benefits to 432 individuals

    • Family Skills Development parenting classes to 62 individuals

    For infants/children and families, Tri-Valley:

    • Assisted 1,100 infants and children obtain age-appropriate immunizations

    • Assisted 1,057 infants and children obtain physicals

    • Improved the health and physical development of 1,190 infants and children as a result of providing adequate nutrition

    • Provided preschool activities that develop school readiness to 1,103 children

    • Ensured that 1,190 parents and other adults learned and exhibited improved parenting skills and family functioning skills

    For senior citizens and the disabled, Tri-Valley:

    • Provided programs and activities to 3,359 seniors to help maintain their independent living

    • Assisted 2,218 individuals with disabilities maintain an independent living

    For those unable to work, Tri-Valley assisted:

    • 87 individuals in obtaining care for their child or other dependent

    • 110 individuals in obtaining safe and affordable housing

    • 1,843 individuals in obtaining food assistance

    • 1,663 individuals in obtaining non-emergency LIHEAP energy assistance

Community Service Programs

    Tri-Valley’s Community Service Programs include:

    • Child Care Aware of Northwest Minnesota: Assists the early childhood community in expanding and improving the quality and availability of child care

    • Community Assistance Programs: Financial assistance, energy assistance, case management, and training programs

    • MNsure Navigator Assistance: Navigators are contracted to provide individuals and families with free assistance that helps them achieve successful enrollments into health coverage through the MNsure marketplace.

    Tri-Valley Transportation Programs include:

    • T.H.E. Bus: Provides curb-to-curb public transportation services to the public in the counties of Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, Pennington, Mahnomen and Clearwater. Buses run through these counties on various days with various destinations.

    • Rural Transportation Collaborative: A partnership program that coordinates volunteer drivers to transport those who have no other means of transportation or cannot drive

    Head Start Child and Family programs include:

    • Full-Year Head Start: Comprehensive child development program in three-county area

    • Migrant Head Start: Comprehensive child development program in Minnesota and North Dakota

    • Early Head Start: For pregnant women and children birth to age three

    • Child Care Services

    • Identification and Recruitment: Migrant families throughout Minnesota

    Housing programs include:

    • Minnesota Urban and Rural Homesteading: Low to moderate income families purchase homes with no down-payment and no interest

    Multi-Family Housing programs include:

    • Prairieland Duplexes

    • Crookston Townhomes

    • Fisher Townhomes

    • Agassiz Townhomes

    Senior Programs include:

    • Foster Grandparents: Recruits seniors to work in schools, child care centers, Head Start, group homes and other non-profit facilities

    • Caring Companion: Seniors volunteer their time to assist elderly people with daily living needs

A screenshot from the Tri-Valley website