Community Development and local issues

Services/Projects    Links    Staff  Tourism Promotion Publication (pdf. version)


Discuss and develop solutions to rural issues and problems which are held common in Northwest Minnesota.


The Local Issues Program was created by the Commission in response to requests from local units of government and community groups for services which would help them in addressing local development problems or potentials. The Local Issues Program attempts to fill the special service needs of the local area which are not met at the local, state or federal levels. Providing these services on a regional basis makes specialized skills available in a cost effective manner. Because our region consists of rural areas and small towns, the Commission has placed a high value on this type of service.


RDC Tax Levy, Local Contracts.


The types of services available depend, to a high degree, on the types of services requested. Requests for services which are not listed will always be considered if staff have the background needed. In those cases where outside help is needed, assistance will be provided in locating and securing that help. The following is a list of the services which have been used most often:

  • Tourism Promotion and Directory
  • GIS Mapping for Recreation Promotion
  • Art & Culture Promotion
  • Grant Writing
  • Comprehensive Planning, Zoning and Mapping for local government
  • Disaster Mitigation and Recovery
  • Regional Planning and Project Development
  • Housing


General Staff Contact - Cam Fanfulik, Executive Director                               

GIS - Troy Schroeder

Provide Geographical Information Services (GIS) and GPS services to local communities and agencies.  Incorporate field data into GIS maps and reports.  Conduct training sessions and technical assistance with the use of GIS products.  Update GIS database with new information.

Tourism Promotion/Web Site/Data and Statistics - Jennifer Olson

Assistance in promoting area attractions and assets. Current topics include the NW MN Tourism Directory, support to tourism groups, and updating of the promotional web site   Also, assistance in accessing statistics about the area, including census, economic trends, social trends population projections and estimates, and special studies.      

Art & Cultural Development/Promotion - Mara Wittman

Current topics include assisting the group of eleven county historical societies, assisting cities with web site creation, and increasing the visibility of arts and culture in the region. 



Issues addressed under the Local Issues Program sometimes become separate programs if the issue has a high level of importance to local leaders and residents. The resources of the Local Issues Program are often used in conjunction with other programs of the NWRDC to move forward on these key subjects. Examples include Farm Wrap and Flood Recovery.


Wes Roland, Housing Director, Inter-County Community Council 218-796-5144

Inter-County Community Council has administered housing rehabilitation and community development programs for nearly 20 years in Pennington, Red Lake, Clearwater and East Polk Counties. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been improved in our service area through various grant and loan programs.

Inter-County provides many housing related services, including the DOE Weatherization program, the MHFA Fix-up Fund, the Home Energy Loan Program, the Rehab Loan Program and the Revolving Loan Program. By coordinating funds from these and other sources, the funding for each project can be customized for maximum efficiency and utilization. Inter-County also offers grant writing and technical assistance to area communities for local community development projects. Our staff has experience working with programs from many different funding agencies, including the MHFA, Dept. of Trade and Economic Development, the RECD, and other public and private funding sources.

John Wynne, Outreach Coordinator, Northwest Community Action Agency  (218-528-3258)

The Northwest Community Action Agency (NWCAA) is one of the main sources of housing funding for the low income households of its 3.5 county service area (Kittson, Roseau, East Marshall). The Agency’s involvement in most of the housing programs offered in the service area and its thorough knowledge of the housing needs of the area make it the logical agency to look to when seeking housing assistance.

NWCAA currently administers housing/community development programs involving the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and RECD*. NWCAA continues to explore new housing program possibilities. It is hoped that by doing so the Agency will be able to attract financial resources in sufficient amounts to measurably impact the housing needs of the 3.5 county service area.

Jason Carlson, Director of Community Services and Tri-Valley Opportunity Council (218-281-5832)

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council (TVOC) assists communities in meeting housing needs in 12 counties in Northwest Minnesota. Current programming includes the HOME Rental Rehab, transitional housing, emergency mortgage and rental assistance loans and other emergency needs for qualifying families for rent, energy and food. TVOC staff is experienced in administering programs through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, RECD* and the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

The Greater Minnesota Housing Network is a component of the Minnesota Housing Partnership, a statewide housing assistance and advocacy organization. There are six coordinators located throughout the state.

Lee Meier, Community Development, Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority  (218-637-2435)

Multi-County HRA works to maintain and develop affordable housing that is decent, safe and sanitary for the residents of northwestern Minnesota. Programs operated by the HRA, as of September 1995, include providing Section 8 Rental Assistance to 669 households, ownership and management of 118 units of Public Housing, and the development and construction of 561 units of market-rate, non-subsidized rental units through the use of "Essential Function Bonds."

The Community Development Department of the HRA provides grant writing and administrative assistance to communities in the areas of housing and public infrastructure programs. Staff is experienced in Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, RECD*, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and other state and federal programs.

Cameron Fanfulik, Executive Director, Northwest Regional Development Commission  (218-745-6733)

The Community Development Program of the NWRDC is directed towards two main goals: first, to assist local communities to improve the quality of life in the region and second, to help local units of government and service agencies to increase their technical and service capacities.

The NWRDC is currently serving an administrative role for the Region One Housing Development Alliance.

*RECD (Rural Economic and Community Development --formerly FMHA programs)

LINKS & Other Resources

Community Partnership Housing Website - A nine-strong community based effort to promote housing and other available local resources in order to attract new residents. Participants include the following cities: Grygla, Middle River, Newfolden, Oklee, Plummer, Red Lake Falls, St. Hilaire, Thief River Falls and Warren.

Department of Natural Resources - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources operates a wide variety of programs related to both state owned recreational facilities and wildlife management. - Natural Resource Conservation Service and Soil and Water Conservation Districts. - Center for the Study of the Environment - Visit Minnesota's most significant historic properties on the web.  1,500 Minnesota properties on the National Register of Historic Places. - Minnesota Housing Finance Agency













See the staff page to direct your questions to the correct person at the Northwest Regional Development Commission (NWRDC). 

NWRDC    115 South Main, Suite 1    Warren, MN  56762    218-745-6733

A Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Organization