Helping individuals and families meet their basic needs and achieve financial stability.
United Way strives to support people as they journey toward financial independence. People living in financially unstable homes frequently encounter other foundational quality-of-life needs, such as good health and quality education. Without a stable and family-sustaining income, people can find themselves falling behind rather than moving forward in creating a good quality life. United, we’re providing eviction prevention and rapid rehousing services, nutritious meals, adult education, independent living services, and more to help people in our community meet their basic needs and become more financially stable.
Did you know...
- Nearly 500 people are experiencing homelessness in Southeast Minnesota on any given night, including approximately 175 children. Housing instability is directly linked to poor health outcomes, educational outcomes, and employment outcomes.
- 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, 8.2% of the total population is food insecure, and approximately 4,400 of these individuals are children.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest and most successful federal anti-poverty programs, yet 1 in 5 eligible Minnesota taxpayers does not access the EITC.
- 10% of Olmsted County residents have a disability, including 30% of adults over the age of 65.
United Way and our community partners fight for:
- Housing stability
- Access to adequate, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods
- Paths to stability for domestic violence survivors and low-income single mothers
- Independent living skills for people with disabilities
- Support for seniors aging in place
- Language and cultural skills for new Americans
- Access to financial services
United Way’s Financial Stability Programs
United Way of Olmsted County and VITA work to provide free tax preparation services for taxpayers in Olmsted and Dodge Counties. Thousands of low-income households access this necessary service for free, improving access to tax credits and bringing dollars back into our community in the form of tax refunds. Learn more
211 is a free and confidential information and referral service that is available 24/7/365. Assistance is available by phone, chat, text, and internet search. Trained information and referral specialists connect community members with local services and resources that meet their needs.
Information about a wide range of human and social services is available, including senior services, education, childcare, legal assistance, transportation, housing, youth services, employment, food, counseling, family services, volunteering, health services, and much more. Learn more
Our Financial Stability Partnerships
Meadow Park Initiative
The Meadow Park Initiative is a partnership between Family Service Rochester, Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association, United Way of Olmsted County, and the Meadow Park neighborhood in Southeast Rochester. We are building a long-term collaboration between residents and community organizations that brings resources to the neighborhood, enhances a sense of community, and supports residents in achieving their goals for their families and their neighborhood. As a lead agency in the initiative, United Way provides administrative support.
Partners: Family Service Rochester, IMAA, and local residents
Supplemental Food Shelf
Channel One Supplemental Food Shelf provides a five-day supply of food once per month to eligible residents of Olmsted County. Household shoppers choose what they need from an array of items in a store-like setting. The Channel One Supplemental Food Shelf system serves an average of 3,500 different households each month and distributes over 3 million pounds of food each year.
Partner: Channel One
Noon Meal offers a hot, nutritious meal five days a week to anyone in the community who feels they need one. The program primarily serves very low-income people, including many who are homeless or precariously housed. Many lack either the facilities or the ability to prepare a proper meal for themselves. In addition to a good meal every day, the Noon Meal program provides socialization and community connections to people who may not experience this otherwise.
Partner: The Salvation Army
Head Start Food Stations
Head Start and Early Head Start families gain improved access to healthy foods including fruits, vegetables and whole food. Food is available through Food Stations as well as through Home Visitors who bring it directly to families’ homes. Food Stations highlight different healthy, culturally diverse meals and have the meal ingredients with recipes for families to prepare at home.
Partner: Families First of Minnesota
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels provides hot, nutritious, home-delivered meals to seniors, people with disabilities, and individuals recovering from injury. Meals on Wheels supports individuals in maintaining health and living independently in their own home.
Partner: Family Service Rochester
Housing Stability Fund
The Housing Stability Fund helps domestic violence survivors secure and retain safe, affordable housing. The Fund helps survivors with move-in costs, such as first-month rent, damage deposits, and utility costs. Survivors who already have housing get assistance avoiding eviction by receiving support for overdue rent payments and utility expenses.
Partner: Women’s Shelter and Support Center
Access Home is a rapid re-housing program that serves homeless individuals and families. The program provides help with housing search and placement, rental application fees and deposits, and an ongoing rent subsidy that gradually diminishes as household income and independence increases. As the program ends, people remain in their current home where they can now independently pay rent.
Partner: The Salvation Army
Rent Assistance prevents people from losing their current housing due to a short-term income interruption. This helps stabilize households and prevent episodes of homelessness when facing a temporary crisis.
Partner: The Salvation Army
Independent and Semi-Independent Living
Independent and Semi-Independent Living programs support individuals with a variety of disabilities, allowing them to live as independently as possible. The program takes a person-centered approach to meet the needs of each person receiving services in their own homes or living situations. Staff provide a wide range of customized services aimed at helping participants achieve a self-directed life, including personal care, meal planning, shopping, and arranging transportation.
Partner: Ability Building Center
Senior Independence services assist seniors in maintaining independent living in a safe, healthy environment. As people age, they may no longer be able to perform all the tasks that have enabled them to live full and productive lives. The program contributes to the independence, choice, and security fundamental to aging in place. Seniors benefit from house cleaning, home safety visits, seasonal chores, lawn care, snow removal, handiwork, grocery shopping, transportation, IT troubleshooting, and more.
Partner: Family Service Rochester
Independent Living Services
Independent Living Services provides residential life skills training and support services for individuals with disabilities. Individuals temporarily move into training apartments while essential life skills are assessed and supported based on each person’s needs and goals. People with disabilities gain the skills they need to live as independently as possible.
Partner: Bear Creek Services
Empowering Single Mothers
Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful two-generation prosperity solutions for families headed by low-income single mothers. The holistic program model includes five interconnected resources designed to support single mothers, their young children, and the whole family: Safe Affordable Housing; Quality Early Childhood Education; Empowerment & Parent Education; Coaching for Career-Track College Education; and a Supportive Community. These resources support families in overcoming persistent poverty, optimizing children’s health, and achieving long-term prosperity.
Partner: Jeremiah Program
Literacy and Life Skills
The mission of Hawthorne Education Center is to provide opportunities for adults to gain control over their own lives to achieve responsible citizenship, productive employment, and self-sufficiency. More than two-thirds of students are immigrants and refugees who do not speak English as a primary language. Literacy and Life Skills integrates essential independent living skills into ESL courses to teach and assess mutually-reinforcing language and cultural competences, including financial literacy, public transportation, grocery shopping, and medical self-advocacy.
Partner: Rochester Public Schools Hawthorne Education Center