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Rep. Jay McNamar: Heating assistance available for Minnesota families

None of us here in West Central Minnesota need to be reminded that it’s been cold outside. This winter has brought our part of the state especially cold temperatures that have lasted for extended periods of time. The thermometer outside my window in Elbow Lake reads -19° F as I’m writing this.

While Minnesotans tend to be stoic in the face of this brutal weather, I want to remind folks that there are many people in our communities that are having trouble heating their homes this winter. Sadly, a great number of those people are senior citizens on fixed incomes. They should know about the Energy Assistance Program available through the Minnesota Department of Commerce and West Central Minnesota Communities Action.

The Energy Assistance, Crisis, and Energy Related Repair Programs are available to eligible clients in the seven Minnesota counties of Clay, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, and Wilkin, and is administered by staff of West Central Minnesota Communities Action through its offices in Alexandria, Elbow Lake, and Moorhead.

There is a staff person at the 700 Cedar Building (former Marian Building), 700 Cedar Street, Suite 261, in Alexandria from approximately Oct. 1 through Feb. 15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Phone: 320-763-7925.

The Moorhead office is located at 715 11th Street N, Suite 101, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone: 1-218-299-7846 or 1-218-299-7294.

The Elbow Lake office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the address and phone numbers below. Walk-ins are welcome at all of the offices.

Please return completed Energy Assistance Applications to the Elbow Lake office. The West Central Minnesota Communities Action (WCMCA) office address is: WCMCA, 411 Industrial Park Blvd, Elbow Lake, MN, 56531

If you are living alone and have income of less than $5,673 in the last three months, you are eligible for assistance. You can also read more about program eligibility for families and the application process by going online at

As a former school teacher and mayor, I’ve often come in contact with individuals who didn’t want to say that they needed help with food, shelter, clothing, or what have you, because of their pride. So, check in on your neighbors. If they don’t know about these programs, please make sure to reassure them that there is no reason to risk personal injury or property damage because they can’t afford fuel for their furnace.

As always, you can contact me at or 651-296-4929 with any questions or concerns.