Durham County assistance programs.

Find help with heating, cooling, and utility bills

Durham residents that need help with paying their heating bills should apply for Durham County's Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), which is a federally funded program that provides one-time grants and emergency cash payments that are used to help eligible families pay their heating bills. This payment is usually mailed to clients and received in February of each year. Currently, the LIEAP program is accepting applications at the Durham County Department of Social Services (DSS), which is located at 300 N. Duke Street. The deadline to apply for the LIEAP program is usually in mid November of each year. In addition, telephone applications will be taken for disabled clients. For other questions or to learn more about the LIEAP program, call 919-560-8600.

There are some conditions, and they include a household that applies for the LIEAP must:

  • Meet a household income test.
  • Have at least one United States citizen or non-citizen who meets the programs eligibility criteria.
  • They need to be responsible for paying their own heating bills.

Other resources and programs that help with bills and expenses

Operation Breakthrough, Inc. provides Durham County families with several programs and resources that can provide them with short term relief. Some of their programs are below. Contact them at (919) 688-8111 to learn more or apply.

  • North Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
    Helps homes become more energy efficient and safer by upgrading the home to conserve energy and make it more energy efficient. After successful implementation it can reduce the resident's heating and cooling bills by an average of 32 percent.
  • Some of the improvements and methods used to conserve energy and insulate a home are caulking floors, weather stripping, insulation in attics and walls, as well as repairing broken window panes. In addition, Operation Breakthrough's WAP also runs the Durham County area’s Heating & Air Replacement Program (HARRP), which provides funds to repair or replace heating and air units.




  • Urgent Repair Program
    If you meet income levels. are elderly or disabled and if you need emergency repairs to your home, you may be able to get help through the Urgent Repair Program (URP). This program is used by local government and nonprofit agencies to correct housing conditions that threaten your safety or life, such as dangerous heating systems, failing septic systems, or rotten floors. The housing repair program can also pay for ramps and other accessibility modifications that enable you to continue living in your home after an illness or injury, such as a stroke or other health care condition.
  • Food Assistance
    The agency coordinates with a number of local resources, charities, as well as government programs to feed the hungry. Various programs provide support to children, senior citizens, the unemployed, and the low income in Durham County. They can also help people apply for public aid, such as food stamps, and more.
  • The Family Empowerment Action to Self-sufficiency Program (FEATS)
    This assistance program was created to assist enrolled program participants in removing obstacles and solving longer term problems that stand in their path to becoming self-sufficient over the long term. The program really puts the focus on assisting families in raising their income level above the low-income or Poverty Guidelines set by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The program provides numerous services to clients, including human resource readiness and development training, case management, employment search and referrals, job training, special financial support services, and emergency cash grants for limited expenses such as rent help.
  • Mortgage and foreclosure - Learn about NC and federal government mortgage and foreclosure assistance programs. Click here to read more.

Additional support may be provided by the non-profit community action agency, namely referrals and help in applying for federal government benefits. More on Operation Breakthrough programs.

The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh also helps Durham North Carolina residents. The non-profit agency offers emergency assistance, immigration services, and they try to improve the quality of family life of Durham residents. Call them at 821-9750, or click here to find how to get rent help.




Durham County Salvation Army (phone number 688-7306) offers local residents with financial assistance for rent and energy bills, free food, clothing, counsel, and other forms of aid to people in a crisis or short term hardship. They also offer training to help these individuals identify and attain life goals and success. Counselors can refer people to North Carolina mortgage programs as well. Other resources provide clothing and furniture. The Salvation Army also will work on addressing the cause of the hardship and offers employment opportunities such as the Jobs for Life program. More Durham Salvation Army assistance programs.

Presbyterian Urban Ministry - Qualified individuals may be able to access limited emergency and financial assistance, support and pastoral care to senior citizens, families with young children, as well as disabled adults. Financial assistance and cash grants are given for paying rent, heating, cooling and utility bills, prescription medications and miscellaneous expenses. Examples of the use of the money may be for small transportation needs, diapers, special diets, and baby food. Durham, NC based, and dial (919) 683-2647 or find programs from Presbyterian Urban Ministry.

Mt. Calvary United Church of Christ (919-688-5066) - This center provides assistance in crisis and emergency situations including housing, free food, clothing, financial, furniture, utility help, and counseling. Call (919) 596-4998.

Durham Catholic Charities can provide Emergency Financial Assistance. Funds are limited, and people can get help regardless of religion. The charity provides emergency financial assistance to help with paying utility bills, food, or emergency rent help. 902 Broad St., Durham, North Carolina 27705, call (919) 286-1964

Supportive Service Aid offers limited assistance in crisis situations including food, housing, clothing, financial support, furniture, and counseling, if needed. 1715 Athens Drive, Durham, NC 27707, (919) 688-5066.

Free food - Regardless of age, race, or religion, charities try to help families that are facing hunger. The centers can often be used a few times per year. If you are not qualified for government support, find food pantries in Durham NC.

The Rescue Mission provides coverage to Durham County and nearby regions. Some of the resources available from the faith based organization include emergency shelter, referrals to transitional housing, food from Operation Daily Bread, and employment referrals. More on Durham County Rescue Mission.

Fayetteville Family Life Center is a non-profit that provides limited amounts of emergency financial assistance to help with rent, food or utility bills. Address: 902 Broad Street, Durham, North Carolina 27705, (919) 286-1964

The Durham Section 8 Housing program is run from an office at 330 East Main Street. The agency offers a government funded rent subsidy program for the very low income and working poor families. It can help them pay rent on private housing units. (919) 683-1551





Regional Food Pantry can assist by offering groceries to the hungry and children. Limited assistance is also for Duke Power and natural gas bills. 2601 Hillsborough Road in Durham. Call (919) 286-3596.

Genesis Home provides case management and housing programs. There is help for the homeless from resources such as Circles of Support as well as eviction prevention type programs, and that can include emergency one time rent help. Other housing programs, including even loans, are for the disabled and families or single parents with children. More Genesis Home programs.

Second Mile Ministries of Durham North Carolina (phone (919) 286-3596) Provides assistance with Duke power bills and gas bills as well as food to the hungry.

Adult and Crisis Services runs several services and emergency programs for the low income and poor.

  • Emergency Assistance, or EA, is a Durham county program that may distribute limited financial assistance for paying rent, housing, utilities and maybe even prescription medications.
  • Energy and heating bill assistance is offered from two resources known as Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) as well as Emergency Energy Fund (EEF).
  • The Direct Medical Fund can offer prescription medications and other supplies on a limited basis. Also, the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind can provide free eye care services to persons with limited income or insurance. This can also include corrective lenses and/or surgery. Funeral and burial assistance is for the indigent in Durham County.
  • Bus tickets and transportation may be offered for a scheduled medical or health care appointment or emergency.
  • Water bill assistance is offered in partnership with the City of Durham Water Department for people facing a hardship. A one time grant is available to qualified residents.

Call Adult and Crisis Services at 300 North Duke Street in Durham, North Carolina 27701. Call (919) 560-8000.

Find help from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter programs. Durham County based agencies partner together (often with DSS) to offer holiday meals as well as items such as toys for children. Find the location of services such as Adopt-a-Family and other places for free gifts. Continue with free holiday programs in Durham County.

Eviction and homeless prevention programs assist people of all backgrounds. These were created using federal government and non-profit funds in an effort to help people that are struggling with their housing. Applicants can receive cash grants, advice from case management, and even financial help for water or other bills. There is eviction help for low income or single parents with children, the disabled, and veterans among others. Learn more

Department of Social Services provides energy bill help (as indicated above) and many other public benefits as well. They process applications for SNAP food stamps, can help with burials, refer Durham families to eye care programs, and more. The focus is on helping low income individuals and others, such as seniors, gain stability and access government aid in the short term. Read more.





Housing for New Hope can assist those facing eviction as well as the currently homeless. Funds may be available for paying rent or the agency runs shelter and transitional homes. Most of the aid is available in partnership with churches and other non-profit groups.

  • Rapid Re-Housing includes short term, low income housing and case management.
  • Urban Ministry offers support, including for the disabled in Durham County.
  • Social workers from Housing for New Hope offer information on job training and employment services.
  • Fund for housing expenses, which may include a security deposit or first months rent expense.
  • Other support can be for food, medical care, and more. Find more details.

Additional housing or eviction prevention programs are available. If you live in the Durham area and specifically need help with rent or information on housing assistance and low income housing, then find an extensive listing of Durham NC rental assistance programs and resources.

Locate food assistance programs in Durham North Carolina

Interfaith Food Shuttle is a nontraditional food bank that is used to create systems and processes that address food insecurity and that also promote access to wholesome nutritious food. Call 250-0043 for more information on food programs.

United for Christ Church, Inc. - (919) 251-9947 runs a food pantry.

Church of God of Prophecy offers food on Saturdays. Call (919) 688-7838

United Pentecostal - Emergency food to people who need help. Dial (919) 477-6555.

Many other charities have food pantries, or families can apply to public aid such as WIC or SNAP. Or get information on additional food North Carolina food pantries.

Debt and bankruptcy counseling

A non-profit that also serves Durham NC clients is Vision Credit Education, Inc. Counselors at this organization can advise people on debt reduction and foreclosure prevention programs, as well as how to improve and repair credit scores and ratings. Deal with a financial hardship. (800) 379-4720

The Peoples Building in Durham has an agency that offers individuals counseling to gain protection from creditors and to work out a plan for paying debts under the supervision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The center also provides classes open to the public in budgeting, debt reduction, credit contracts, comparative shopping, interest rates, foreclosure prevention, etc. Individual counseling offered one day a week to individuals. Call (919) 688-8065, or read more on bankruptcy filings.

Health care in Durham NC

There are two primary places to turn to for free or low cost medical and/or dental care in the county, and they include Urban Ministries (Durham). The location has an on site community clinic. Call (919) 682-0538 x21. Another option is Lincoln Community Health Center, which may have information on other clinics to call for aid. Call this center at (919) 956-4000.







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