Paying a Penalty for Not Enrolling in Healthcare Coverage in 2014? Special Enrollment Period for 2015 Coverage Began March 1

Special enrollment period allows Minnesotans to reduce tax penalty for 2015
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesotans who must pay the tax penalty for not having 2014 health care coverage, and who did not enroll in 2015 health care coverage during the most recent open enrollment period, can still enroll into coverage for 2015 during MNsure’s recently announced special enrollment period. Getting enrolled during this special enrollment period will substantially decrease the amount of a 2015 tax penalty they may have to pay, depending on when they complete enrollment.
Minnesotans who did not enroll into 2014 health care coverage will still be responsible for the 2014 tax penalty, but this special enrollment period will help minimize 2015 tax penalties for those who enroll.
“We realize that some consumers are subject to a tax penalty due to either a gap in or lack of 2014 coverage,” said CEO Scott Leitz. “The penalty for 2015 is significantly higher, so to help Minnesotans reduce the amount they have to pay for missing the February 15 enrollment deadline, we’ve created this special enrollment period.”
This special enrollment period began on March 1 and ends on April 30, 2015.
To take advantage of this special enrollment period, consumers must complete the online application and enroll at Upon completion, eligible consumers must contact the MNsure Contact Center, where they will need to attest to their eligibility for this special enrollment period. More information about this process is located at under Special Enrollment.
Coverage would begin on April 1 for consumers who are eligible and complete enrollment by March 15. Coverage would begin on May 1 for consumers who complete enrollment by April 15, and coverage would begin on June 1 for consumers who complete enrollment by April 30.
Any consumer with questions should call the MNsure Contact Center. The Contact Center (1-855-366-7873) is now open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This special enrollment period does not apply to those consumers who already purchased 2015 coverage.

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Let Earned Income Tax Credit Work For You!

Don’t be the one in five that misses the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)! For the last 40 years, EITC has made life better for millions of workers. If you had earned income in 2014, you may have extra money waiting for you.
Tri-CAP offers free Tax Clinics to help lower-income individuals and families prepare their taxes with a focus on helping individuals claim their special tax credit. If you are an individual and earn $30,000 or less or a family making $50,000 or less, Tri-CAP can help you prepare your taxes. Our walk-in sites are staffed by certified volunteers who offer free electronic filing.

Tax Sites open beginning January 27, 2015

Salvation Army: Mondays, Feb 2-April 13, 4-7 pm* and Saturdays, Jan 31-April 11, 8:30 am-3 pm* (Drop-off available)

Catholic Charities- Food Shelf Location: Tuesdays, Jan 27-April 28, 8:30 am-3:30 pm*

Elk River YMCA: Wednesdays, Jan 28-April 15, 4-7 pm*

St. Cloud Technical & Community College: Thursdays, Jan 29-April 9, 5-7:30 pm* Door 6

Cold Spring District Education Facility: Wednesdays in March: March 4–25, 9:00–11:00 am*

*Designates that doors open 30 minutes before start time

For more information contact Tri-CAP at 320-251-1612/ 1-888-765-5597 or visit

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Board of Director Opportunity

Tri-CAP currently has vacancies for the Board of Directors including:
• Sherburne County Low-Income Representative
• Stearns County Low-Income Representative
• Community Representative from the Education Field

The Board meets monthly
on the Third Thursday, 7pm at Tri-CAP Office
1210 23rd Ave. S., Waite Park, MN
Mileage reimbursement and stipends are available to Board members
who meet the low-income representative criteria

Applications available on-line:
Or for more information, contact
Lori Schultz, Executive Director
(320) 251-1612

The Board of Directors for Tri-CAP represents private, public and community interests. We seek dedicated volunteers to apply for membership on the Board of Directors. Board members play an important role in guiding the agency and assisting people currently living in poverty.

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Tri-CAP and DKD Construction Complete New Home in Big Lake!

Tri-County Action Program (Tri-CAP), in partnership with DKD Construction, the City of Big Lake, and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, announce the completion of the first new home construction of a seven site revitalization project. The full revitalization plan is to build viable and sustainable single family housing on the site of seven foreclosed properties that were determined to be beyond rehabilitation. The first home developed by Tri-CAP was completed in December 2014.

The goal of the Big Lake revitalization project is to replace previously distressed homes with new single family homes for moderate income families. Tri-CAP, a non-profit Community Action Program, was selected as project developer based on construction experience, familiarity with the requirements of Federal and State Funding sources, and extensive background in energy efficiency and sustainability.

Tri-CAP acquired the first lot on September 9, 2014 and construction was completed in December 2014. “Throughout the planning and construction of this home, special attention was given to incorporating energy efficiency, livability, and sustainability,” said Dan Roberts, Community Development Director of Tri-CAP. The completed home was purchased by first time homebuyers in late December. Six additional new single family homes are slated for construction in 2015.

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Letter to the Editor

As Community Action Turns 50, Tri-County Action Program, Inc. (Tri-CAP) I would like to reflect on service to the residents of Stearns, Benton and Sherburne Counties
On August 20, 1964 in Washington, DC, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). The EOA created a variety of programs – including Community Action Agencies – as part of his War on Poverty. Tri-CAP was one of those agencies established to address local poverty problems in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the country.
Tri-CAP got its start on January 12, 1965 as the first Community Action Agency in a non-metro area in Minnesota. The agency’s creation was due to efforts of then St. Cloud mayor Ed Henry, who called together a group that included representation from all three counties and worked hard to cajole and convince others that having this agency would be beneficial to area residents.
The agency started with no staff and a $10,000 budget to “research problems relevant to the anti-poverty program.” From that point, the agency grew as programs and services developed. By the first year of operation, the organization had total revenues of $16,480.
Forty nine years later, Tri-CAP has grown into an agency that provides over twenty different essential services all geared toward helping people and changing lives. The agency’s most recent fiscal audit showed total revenues of$5,826,069 directly serving over 22,000 people in Central Minnesota.
Our staff prides themselves on providing exceptional customer service through a professional and kind approach as people build their skills and work towards economic and social stability.
The unrelenting duties of volunteers who served the agency over the past year are invaluable. The commitment of the board of directors and the community have kept us on the path toward maintaining family stability, while endeavoring daily to assure that all of our practices are transparent and sound.
Community Action changes lives every day, one person at a time. Thank you Central Minnesota for supporting our endeavors now and into the future.


Lori Schultz, LSW
Executive Director

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Annual Meeting

Tri-County Action Program, Inc.
Board of Directors
Annual Meeting
Thursday, May 15, 2014
6:00 PM
Henry’s Catering and Banquet Center
6774 Highway 25 NE, Foley, MN 56329

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MLK Day 2014 marks 60th Anniv. of the end of segregation

King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill, proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana, creating a federal holiday to honor King. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.
The bill established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee observance of the holiday, and Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, was made a member of this commission for life by President George H. W. Bush in May 1989

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Project Homeless Connect Team

Congratulations to the St. Cloud Area Project Homeless Connect Team who was recently notified that the 2013 Project Homeless Connect was selected as the recipient of this years’ “Spirit of Caring” award through the CentraCare Health Foundation.

CentraCare Health Foundation recognizes the strength and momentum that can grow when individuals come together for the purpose of addressing health issues. It is a community service award that also recognizes group collaboration in improving health through education, intervention or by providing a service. The award carries a $5,000 grant to the project along with a recognition piece of display.

The Project Homeless Connect team includes; Cheri Klassen and Patrick Shepard: Tri-CAP; Christine Midtun: United Way; Erin Foss: Salvation Army; Greg Knoll and Pam Illg: Stearns County; Lea Recknor: RISE; Paul Knutson: Centracare and Tad Hoeschen: St. Cloud Police Department.

Pictured accepting the award for the team is Christine Midtun, Patrick Shepard and Greg Knoll

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Tri-CAP welcomes new Board Member

Joe Gibbons was recently elected to the Tri-CAP Board of Directors representing Benton County low income. Joe has previously owned Marketing Unlimited, a marketing and public relations agency in the twin cities for twenty years. After retiring in 1999 he and his wife Peggy moved to Rice. Joe is the Co-founder and the former Executive Director of Central MN Re-Entry Project, a prisoner re-entry program. He also is a Co-founder of the Community Furniture Program, and served the program as a AmeriCorp VISTA member for nine months. Joe currently serves on the Board of Directors of CNESI, Center for Non-Profit Excellence and Social Innovation.

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Local Events Benefit the Homeless

A recent St. Cloud Times article highlighted the difficulty in determining how many homeless there are in Central Minnesota. Local experts found a January 23, 2013 survey underestimated the prevalence in our area. No matter the exact number of homeless, it’s too many.

Two local events, “Project Homeless Connect” and “Empty Bowls Soup Feed Benefit and Silent Auction,” seek to address some of the needs of those experiencing homelessness.

For a third straight year, Project Homeless Connect will bring together people who are homeless with community agencies that can help them meet their immediate needs and provide them with basic services. On March 20, people who are homeless can go to the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W St Germain St., from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and get a free meal, haircut, and basic health screening – no reservations required.

There will be advocates on hand to meet and guide attendees and assist them with filling out an application to better target the services they need. Advocates can also help attendees to get to select booths, if needed.

Tri-CAP’s Family Resources coordinator, Cheri Klassen, directs the annual event. Klassen said the number of people served grew from 72 people the first year to more than 200 last year. Organizers expect around 300 attendees this year. “We’re planning on serving 300 people, but if more show up, we will find a way to make sure they get a meal and services,” said Klassen.

She said the event provides benefits to all who participate, and praised the efforts of this year’s organizers. She said they really stepped up to the plate to help out. “We’re even getting unsolicited donations from people who see the event advertised and just want to help out,” she added.

Klassen said she enjoys working on this event. “My passion is helping people and getting them the services they need,” she said, “this event is needed and provides a real service to the community.”

Last year, the people providing health screenings discovered one of the attendees had diabetes. They were able to him set up with his doctor for treatment. ”They might have saved his life,” said Klassen.

Some of the local agencies involved in the 2013 Project Homeless Connect include:

• Stearns County Human Services
• Benton County Human Services
• Catholic Charities
• Salvation Army
• RISE, Inc.
• St. Cloud State University Social Work Department
• Project Heal
• Tri-County Action Program, Inc. (Tri-CAP)

For those who want to donate to the event, Project Homeless Connect is accepting new items only and cash. Contact Klassen at (320) 257-4533 to donate or for more information about the event.

The other local event scheduled to help those who are homeless, Empty Bowls Soup Feed Benefit and Silent Auction, will be held on March 24. The event will be from noon-4 p.m. at Calvary Community Church, 1200 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud.

Cost is $10.00 for an individual or $30.00 per family to receive a handmade bowl, soup donated by a St. Cloud restaurant, bread and a beverage. Entertainment also will be provided.

Attendees keep their “benefactor bowls” after the event as a reminder that someone else’s bowl is always empty. Proceeds benefit Place of Hope, which provides food and services for people experiencing homelessness, hunger and despair.

Tickets are available at the door, Calvary Community Church, Place of Hope, and Christian Book Store. For more information, call (320) 203-7881.

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