Altruistically improving ND communities: The North Dakota Department of Commerce awards HOME grant funds to Red River Valley Community Action

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BISMARCK, N.D. – Rewards in life can come in many forms and vary greatly based on our experiences. For Kevin Severson, the community services manager and housing rehab coordinator of Red River Valley Community Action, the greatest reward from his 25-year career at RRVCA is a simple thank you and expression of how his organization’s services helped a client.  

Serving Pembina, Walsh, Nelson, and Grand Forks counties, the RRVCA plays an imperative role in ensuring communities thrive by helping people and changing lives through programs designed to fight poverty and improve the quality of life for residents within the Northern Red River region.   

The RRVCA team of 15 carries out the organization’s mission of helping families and individuals achieve self-sufficiency through programs, services and community building. Its dedication to public service is easily depicted through the 1,150 households totaling 1,950 individuals it serves on a yearly average. By managing and supporting multiple programs, team members effectively administer and provide services for the elderly, disabled and low-income families. Services and resources include, but are not limited to weatherization, housing and food.  

Recently, the North Dakota Department of Commerce awarded the RRVCA with a $650,000 HOME Investment Partnership Program Grant for their Single-Family Homeowner Rehab Program. 

“Commerce was honored to award HOME funds to the Red River Valley Community Actions, Tosha Pierce, HOME Program manager at the North Dakota Department of Commerce said. “The program is a great tool to improve our state’s communities and the quality of life for our residents. The HOME Program not only provides funds for the projects’ costs, but also provides funds for administrative assistance to keep the doors open and pay for staff to administer these programs.  

As a federally funded program, the Single-Family Homeowner Rehab Program is designed to help eligible low-income families and individuals receive funds to make repairs on their homes. The program helps clients to affordably be able to reside in a safe, healthy, livable home.  

“The HOME program is important to low-income home owners in the region, because it provides a way for them to make needed repairs such as shingling, furnaces and health and safety issues,” Severson said. “Without the program, many families would not be able to make the repairs and live in an unsafe and unhealthy housing environment. In some cases, families may even lose their homes altogether due to extreme damage and deterioration.” 

Severson added that the program’s impact wouldn’t be possible without partnerships between the city of Grand Forks, the Red River Regional Council, surrounding Community Action agencies, the North Dakota Department of Commerce Community Services Division, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the reliable contractors who work year-round across the region.  

In 1994, Severson began his career at the RRVCA while looking for a steady fulltime job. It didn’t take long for him to experience the positive impact of helping others. 

“Once I started and experienced what Community Action is about, and what they do for people on a daily basis, I knew it was a career I wanted to continue,” Severson said.  

Severson is responsible for managing all aspects of the Single-Family Housing Rehab Program, in addition to managing social work caseworkers, including emergency services and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. 

“What I enjoy most about my work is meeting all different types of people, helping people in need and seeing the difference it can make in their lives and future,” Severson said. “My hope is that Community Action grows and programs expand well into the future as I see the need and the difference it can make to a family and community. From housing to basic food needs and everything in between, everything that Community Action agencies do is life-changing to those that need it the most.” 

The Red River Community Action’s boundless passion for helping others is nothing short of inspirational with the dedication that the organization possess to help others. 

“The RRVCA exemplifies the power of altruism within our local communities, Bonnie Malo, director of the Community Services Division at Commerce. “They are a very successful partner in utilizing federal grants to expeditiously go above and beyond for the communities they serve. Commerce truly appreciates their partnership and efforts in improving the quality of life for the residents in our state.” 

Individuals interested in the Single-Family Rehab program can visit https://rrvca.com/ for contacts and office locations. Applications can be delivered to a home or picked up at the agency office.  

  

The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services 

For more North Dakota news and information, go to www.NDCommerce.com.  

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