Pine County and Lakes and Pines are collaborating to help county homeowners, business owners and rental properties to spruce up their space. 

Pine County received $5.7 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and  allocated $850,000 towards the rehabilitation of properties throughout the county to help alleviate the negative economic impact that the pandemic has had on residents. The repairs help make the homes, businesses and rental properties safer as well as possibly improve the value of the property.

“It’s a great way to spruce up the community,” Economic Development Coordinator Lezlie Sauter said. “It’s good for the economy as homeowners hire local contractors and get a nicer place and we get stabilized property values.”

The program is modeled after the Small Cities Development program. 

Lakes and Pines has helped about 50 homeowners to rehab their homes through the Small Cities Development program in the last five years, said Nicole Klosner, Lakes and Pines Rehabilitation Director. She said the most common repairs homeowners ask for are roofs, senior/ada compliant bathrooms and ramps. 

“A lot of people are nervous and think it’s too good to be true,” Klosner said. “We’re here to help. People call and thank us because they can stay in their homes and not go into assisted living.”

Property owners need to meet several criteria, including income and being impacted by the pandemic such as job loss. For a homeowner, the home must be located in Pine County, homesteaded and must be the applicant’s primary residence. The applicant must own the house, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, be current on property taxes and have proof of homeowners insurance. An example of being impacted by COVID-19 is temporary closure of schools, closure of bars, restaurants, directing Minnesotans to stay at home, extending stay at home order and more. See the application on the Pine County website for the entire list.

A single homeowner needs to earn $41,750 a year or less in order to qualify. A family of three can make $53,650 or less a year to qualify.

The program is intended to improve the safety of the home. Examples of repairs include plumbing, heating, ventilation, roofing, windows and more.

Lakes and Pines has received eight applications for commercial buildings, two for rental properties and four for owner occupied homes since the program began in October 2021.

The program will remain open until the funds are exhausted, said Sauter.

Download the application on the Pine County Economic Development page or contact Lakes and Pines at or call 320-679-1800 ext 123 or 133 for more information or to have a printed application mailed.


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