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Additional LIHEAP Funds $15,814,434 to Help Minnesotans Stay Warm

MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

For Immediate Release

January 30, 2014

Commerce Commissioner announces $15,814,434 in additional LIHEAP funds to help Minnesota consumers stay warm this winter

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that Minnesota will receive an additional $15,814,434 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP). The total amount of funds Minnesota has received this year is $114,540,746.  The LIHEAP program in Minnesota helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.

This announcement is critical for Minnesota’s low-income households, especially those with seniors, young children, veterans, and people with disabilities.  The ongoing sub-zero, arctic weather and sky-rocketing propane prices have added additional stress to family budgets.  To address this need, the Department of Commerce recently increased crisis benefits from $500 to $1,000 for households that heat with propane or heating oil.  The additional LIHEAP funds announced today is greatly needed and with projected sub-zero temperatures continuing in the next few weeks, the State of Minnesota is calling on Congress to provide additional funding.

“These critical federal dollars will make a difference to help Minnesotans who struggle to pay for home heating and make ends meet in the cold winter months ahead. The Minnesota Commerce Department has and will work hard to make sure these funds best help low-income families and individuals in need of energy assistance,” said Commissioner Mike Rothman. “No Minnesotan should be without a warm place to call home during this bitterly cold winter.”

The Minnesota Department of Commerce administers the LIHEAP in partnership with 32 local service providers throughout the state. LIHEAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($42,789 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills.  Last year, Minnesota served 147,636 households and renters with $109 million in federal funds.

How to apply:

Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested households should contact their local service provider by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visiting the Energy Assistance section of the Commerce Department’s website (mn.gov/commerce/energy). The Minnesota EAP is supported by federal LIHEAP funding and administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

State Emergency Operations Center:

Governor Mark Dayton declared a State of Peacetime Emergency in Minnesota in response to the persistent cold weather and the increased risk households may run out of heating fuel, a situation that would pose immediate threat to public safety. This declaration activated the state’s emergency operations center housing a hotline for Minnesota residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel.  Minnesotans can call 651-297-1304 in the metro area or 1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota.

What consumers and Minnesota residents can do to stay safe:

People who use propane to heat their homes can take several steps at this time.

  • Conserve energy as much as possible. Turn down thermostats and be aware of your propane use.
  • Check in on your family members, neighbors and friends.  Call 9-1-1 only in a crisis
  • State Hotline and Department of Commerce online resources are available

o   1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota

o   651-297-1304 in the metro area

o   Department of Commerce Energy Assistance Program Section

Use Alternative Heat Sources Safely:

People often turn to alternative heat sources to stay warm when the temperature plummets. The State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds residents to use caution when using alternative heating sources.

Types of alternative heating sources often seen include:

  • Portable electric heaters
  • Liquid-fueled heaters:
  • Kerosene
  • Waste oil
  • Gas-burning heaters – Propane is most common
  • Solid-fuel heating:
  • Wood-burning
  • Pellet-burning

Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside because the combustion process of burning fuel uses oxygen and also gives off carbon monoxide — a deadly combination inside of a home.

Other tips when using alternative heat sources:

  • Keep anything flammable — including pets and people — at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Space heaters need constant watching. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
  • Make sure all cords on electric heaters are in good shape and checked periodically for any frays or breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.
  • Check the cord and outlet occasionally for overheating; if it feels hot, discontinue use.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
  • Use a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up to date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards.

Stay Warm Minnesota

Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies. See the Stay Warm Minnesota Webpage for a list of resources.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Community news, Resources

 

Asian Pacific Students in Minnesota: Facts, not Fiction

Asian Pacific students in Minnesota

Read the entire report at http://www.capm.state.mn.us/pdf/edureport2012.pdf

This report on the educational achievement of Asian Pacific students in Minnesota, conducted by the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, broadens the data on Asian Pacific students in Minnesota.

The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans is a state agency that advises the Minnesota state legislature and governor’s office and advocates for the well-being of Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

According to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) 2011 test results, 66.1% and 54.4% of Asian Pacific students scored as proficient on the MCA reading and math tests, respectively. In comparison, 80.8% and 63.3% of White students were proficient in reading and math, respectively.

This seemingly smaller achievement gap between Asian Pacific and White students has led to less attention and concern given to the needs of Asian Pacific students in Minnesota. However, researchers, community members, and educational professionals have long recognized that the reporting of aggregated data for Asian Pacific students is misleading and masks educational disparities experienced within the Asian Pacific population in Minnesota.

In response, this report disaggregates MCA data for Asian Pacific students by language spoken at home, ethnicity, income level, English proficiency, and mobility. Through such analysis, this report provides new understandings about the academic performance of Asian Pacific students in Minnesota.

Key findings of the report are:

Significant achievement gaps exist for refugee experienced Asian Pacific students.

  • 50.3% and 40% of refugee experienced Asian Pacific students were proficient in reading and math, respectively.
  • Less than 17% of Burmese students were proficient in reading or math, the lowest of any ethnic or racial student group.
  • Less than 59% and 40% of Lao, Hmong, and Cambodian students were proficient in reading and math, respectively.
  • In comparison, 80.8% and 63.3% of White students scored as proficient in reading and math, respectively.

Students’ income level, English proficiency, and mobility status were significant factors in predicting their academic achievement.

  • Low-income Asian Pacific students experienced achievement gaps of up to 31% on the MCAs in comparison to their more affluent Asian Pacific peers.
  • Asian Pacific students receiving English Learner services experienced achievement gaps of up to 44% on the MCAs in comparison to English proficient Asian Pacific students.
  • Homeless or highly mobile Asian Pacific students experienced achievement gaps of up to 23% on the MCAs in comparison to non-mobile Asian Pacific students.

The findings from the disaggregated data directly counter the widely held misconception that all Asian Pacific students were performing at levels well above other minority students and only slightly below White students, and thus, were not as deserving of additional support. In reality, refugee experienced, low-income, English learning, and highly mobile Asian Pacific students experience significant educational disparities, and in some cases, had lower proficiency rates than other racial groups.

Recommendations for policy makers

The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans highly recommends a renewed focus on improving the educational outcomes of all students by including Asian Pacific students in the vision of educational equity. Specifically, we recommend the following actions:

1. Standardize the practice of collecting and reporting disaggregated student data.

Without disaggregated data, the educational disparities of Asian Pacific students will continue to be covered up by misleading information, making it difficult to allocate attention, resources, and support for students who need it most.

2. Streamline efforts that monitor and address the additional challenges faced by refugee experienced students as well as by students who are low-income, English Learners, and/or highly mobile.

Refugee experienced and socioeconomically disadvantaged Asian Pacific students experience significant educational barriers. Efforts to overcome these barriers should be evaluated and successful models of educational leadership, pedagogy, and programming should be shared across the state.

3. Increase the cultural competency and awareness among educational professionals of Asian Pacific students. Understanding the strengths, interests, and needs of students is crucial in moving away from a deficit view of diverse student populations and in implementing strategies to increase the academic growth of students.

4. Policy makers and education leaders should solicit the input and involvement of refugee experienced and socioeconomically disadvantaged Asian Pacific communities in the vision of educational equity.

Community members should be regarded as powerful partners in education who have expertise in determining the viability and effectiveness of potential educational programming, strategies, and interventions for their students.

Read the entire report at http://www.capm.state.mn.us/pdf/edureport2012.pdf

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in CAPM news, Resources

 

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March 12, 2012 – Burma Health Dialogue recap

Burma

On March 12, 2011, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans joined with five other sponsors to host the Burma Health Forum, which aimed to create greater dialogue pertaining to the health needs of refugees from Burma in Minnesota. The forum featured keynote speaker, Dr. Myo Nyunt, who provided political and historical background information on the country of Burma; a first-hand refugee story from Eh Tha Khu, a newly arrived Karen refugee to Minnesota; and several panelists who work in both systems navigation and health integration for refugee community members in the state of Minnesota.

SponsorsThe Language BancThe Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans,Karen Organization of MinnesotaHealthEast Care SystemUCareMN Department of Health

Event Materials

Presentations (all files are in PDF format, will open in new window)

It is the hope of this council and its sponsors that this forum will be the first of many discussions about how to better address the various healthcare needs of refugees from Burma living in Minnesota. It is imperative that healthcare providers work with both local refugee integration organizations as well as the Burma community itself to gain a greater understanding of the unique cultural, linguistic, and personal barriers that prevent these citizens from getting the care they need and deserve.

Call to ActionWithout action, there is no change.

  • Contact your legislators: Individuals, groups, or organizations interested in speaking to legislators to advocate on behalf of the community from Burma may contact the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.
  • Connecting with stakeholders: Want to be more involved in discussing way to improve health outcomes and health care access for refugees from Burma? Please contact the Council at capm@state.mn.us as a way to get in touch with organizations and individuals working on this topic.
 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in CAPM Events, Community news, Legislative, Resources

 

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Working with Refugees in Minnesota

Working with Refugee Families in the Child Welfare System

children with a world globe

Authors
Patricia Shannon, PhD, LP
Jennifer Simmelink, MSW

This module provides information about the major refugee groups in Minnesota, the Karen, Bhutanese, Oromo, Somali, and Iraqi. It provides political and cultural context for these groups as well as information about factors that impact them in the child welfare system. It also includes recommendations for child welfare workers who work with these populations.

NOTE: CEU credit is not available for this module because it can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Follow the link below to watch the presentation.

Watch the module on  Working with Refugee Families in the Child Welfare System

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Health Literacy: Implications for Immigrant and Refugee Families

 mother and children

Authors:
Hee Yun Lee, PhD

This modules explores the relationship between health literacy, health outcomes, and health disparities with special attention to children and families and immigrants and refugees.  It provides specific examples of how health literacy can affect health outcomes and offers interventions to respond to health literacy needs and to reduce health disparities.

Follow this link to watch the module.

 

Taking the Quiz and Earning Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)

At the end of this module, you will be given a choice to connect to the quiz for the module.  Upon successful completion of the quiz (80% or above correct), there will be a link to a secure site to pay a minimal fee for the CEHs and receive a CEH completion certificate.  The module has a value of 1 CEH ($15.00).

Back to Online Learning Modules page

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Resources

 

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