Basic Needs

Basic Needs: United Way of Olmsted County

Helping ensure people's basic needs are met.

If education, income and health are the pillars of a good quality of life, then basic needs are the foundation. Without the most basic necessities of life (i.e. food, shelter, safety and equal access), kids can’t focus in school, adults can’t reliably be at work, and reaching everyone’s potential is impossible. United Way helps meet the basic needs of food, shelter, and safety in Olmsted County. Together, we're helping seniors remain independent, providing crisis childcare, legal support, safe child visitation, rent assistance, transitional housing, food, and more to ensure basic needs are being met.

Did you know...

  • The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of people who reach age 65 will need some type of long-term care. Appropriate housing with supportive services can be the difference between independent living and care in an institutional setting.
  • A child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds. Nearly 70% of child abuse victims are under the age of 5. By providing child abuse prevention and early intervention services, programs supported by United Way assist individuals and families with issues before they escalate.
  • Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children. Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. In Olmsted County, 8.9% of the total population is food insecure and nearly 5,000 of them are children.

The programs United Way is partnering with help with:

  • Access to adequate food
  • Providing shelter and prevent homelessness
  • Immediate safety needs
  • Equal access to services for vulnerable people

Our Basic Needs Programs

Crisis Nursery

The goal of Crisis Nursery is to prevent child abuse, to keep children safe, and to strengthen and support families. One of the ways Crisis Nursery does this is by providing temporary, short-term care for children in Olmsted County while families address a crisis situation. Additional services include: crisis counseling and support, parent education, in-home family counseling, referral to community resources, and a monthly parent education group called PARRK (Parents and Relatives Raising Kids) – all at no cost.
Partner: Families First of Minnesota

Family Access Center

The Family Access Center (FAC) provides supervised parenting time and supervised child exchanges between residential and non-residential parents for children within families deemed at risk of experiencing or witnessing violence, abuse, or neglect. The Family Access Center is one component of a comprehensive community response to ensure children live free of violence. Many children within our community are separated from their parent or parents as a result of concerns of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, custody issues, parental conflict, or other unsafe, threatening behavior within the home. FAC is strongly committed to children’s needs and rights to maintain or develop relationships with both parents while ensuring child safety. The services at FAC are designed for children and their families who are deemed at risk and require supervised parenting times (a.k.a. supervised visitation) and safe child exchanges between parents. FAC’s core philosophy is to create a safe, secure, and neutral environment that supports opportunities for children to experience positive interactions with their parent(s) that helps lead to healthy child development.
Partner: Family Service Rochester

Food Shelf

Channel One helps by distributing food to people in need. In Olmsted County, this organization accomplishes this through Channel One’s Food Shelf and partnerships with eight satellite food shelves. Residents of Olmsted County seeking assistance at Channel One are given a five-day supply of food at no cost. Once set up with services, families are able to return for food assistance on a monthly basis until becoming self-sufficient. Larger families are given larger quantities of food, and when available, will be provided baby products (diapers, formula, and baby food) to those with infants.
Partners: Channel One Regional Food Bank and Food Shelf

Legal Assistance

Legal Assistance of Olmsted County (LAOC) meets the legal needs of low-income people in Olmsted County through a combination of direct legal representation by staff attorneys and volunteers, a variety of clinics that offer brief advice and assistance with pro se court forms, and the landlord-tenant hotline. LAOC leverages this combination of services in order to serve as many low-income people as efficiently as possible in order to achieve stability for families, accountability that leads to better housing, relief for victims of domestic violence, and alleviation of overburdened courts.
Partner: Legal Assistance of Olmsted County

Living INdependently with Knowledge (LINK)

Staff trained in trauma-informed care and evidence-based practices deliver assessment, harm reduction, crisis stabilization, continuum service linkages, and case management. The program provides youth who are experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness access to emergency shelter or safe and stable housing as well as access to resources meeting the youth’s immediate needs (food, clothing, health).  Program services also include a community-wide outreach implementation strategy aimed to strengthen and sustain a comprehensive network of support for youth. The overall program goal is to develop a trusting relationship with youth and connect them with resources within their community.
Partner: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels provides hot, nutritious noon meals daily to individuals who are elderly, convalescing, or have disabilities and cannot easily access or prepare dietetically correct meals. Meals are prepared under the direction of a licensed dietician and are designed to accommodate many medical requirements such as low sodium, low cholesterol, diabetic, pureed, renal, gluten-free, vitamin K limited, etc.  These meals are home-delivered by over 350 volunteers representing individuals, organizations, businesses, service clubs, and church groups.
Partner: Family Service Rochester

Noon Meal Program

The Noon Meal program serves lunch each weekday throughout the year.  Meals are prepared by a certified cook, assisted by volunteers. This program is open to anyone in need of a meal. A diverse group of people who attend for a variety of reasons, are served each day. This is also a place where people come to socialize and add structure in their day.  Outreach workers are available to provide connections to mainstream resources. The program offers a safe place to deliver basic needs to residents and visitors in our community.
Partner: The Salvation Army

Rent Assistance

The homeless prevention program is a part of The Salvation Army’s spectrum of housing assistance. This program assists those who are currently housed but find themselves in a temporary crisis that is jeopardizing their housing stability. Prevention funds, in amounts up to one month’s rent, work with both families and individuals. The goal is to prevent them from losing their current housing, which could lead to an episode of homelessness. If the current housing is normally affordable to them, assisting with the short-term crisis is the most cost effective and non-disruptive solution.
Partner: The Salvation Army

Senior Independence

By 2020, the number of Minnesotans 65+ will eclipse the number of 5-17 year olds for the first time in history. This phenomenon isn’t unique to MN, and this collaborative continues to build on the foundation of a model based heavily on volunteer delivered services professionally managed and augmented by staff. The program embraces the “no wrong door” philosophy of consumer service for senior, caregiver, and volunteer alike. The partners collaborate as a trio and partner with dozens of additional organizations across the region in the name of senior independence.
Partner: Elder Network, Family Service Rochester, and The Salvation Army

Supported Employment

Ability Building Center and PossAbilities of Southern Minnesota operate supported employment programs utilizing the person-centered approach to employment. This process assesses likes, dislikes, and abilities to tailor the employment search to match the individual’s employment goal. Once hired, a job coach assists the individual and develops natural supports within the business. Job coaches train the individual and other employees working with the individual, and slowly fade out to foster independence but remain available as needed. The individual’s satisfaction is increased, leading to a higher level of job retention to the benefit of the employer.
Partners: Ability Building Center and PossAbilities of Southern Minnesota