Appalachian Community Action and Development Agency.

The depth and breadth of assistance offered by the Appalachian Community Action and Development Agency is extensive. Case managers can direct qualified clients to financial assistance programs, grants, and housing. They will also partner with residents on repairing their financial situation and getting them on track to self-sufficiency.

More details are below. Some of the main resources from AppCAA include emergency utility bill help, rent or housing assistance, and water bill payment plans. Other key programs from the non-profit are weatherization and programs for seniors in Virginia. The organization supports the city of Norton and counties of Lee, Wise and Scott.

Housing solutions

Health and safety issues can be addressed from Emergency Home Repair. Low income and senior residents can qualify for a few hundreds dollars or so worth of home repairs and modifications. Some of the more common examples of items repaired in Lee County are minor electrical, repairs to rotten floors, windows or plumbing problems. The agency also partners with Rural Development as well as the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Community Services on funding.

The Water/Waste Water Program pays for the installation of septic systems or wells. Other loans can be used to pay for fixing inoperable water heaters or pumping septic systems in Norton Virginia. It can help pay for new systems or the repair of existing water operations.

Appalachian Community Action and Development Agency Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation Program also strives to ensure homes have running water and/or indoor bathroom. It focuses on the disabled and elderly. In some cases, while very limited, if the home can't be brought up to state standards then a new home may even be built.

Improve energy efficiency from weatherization. Homeowners can get improvements such as duct work, new furnaces/heat sources, extra insulation, caulking work done, and/or weather stripping. After the work is completed by trained contractors, the homeowner is trained on how to continue to conserve energy and properly maintain the heating system. Most of the weatherization money comes from the state and the United States Department of Energy.




Financial assistance from AppCAA

Energy bills from the LIHEAP Winter Crisis Heating Program is operated in partnership with Virginia Department of Social Service agencies. Funds can be used to pay the bills or provide for the repairs of heating systems for residents in Norton, Lee, and other counties or towns.

The Summer Food Assistance Program is run by Scott County Schools and the community action agency. It can help feed children in the area a breakfast and Lunch which is awarded through federal government USDA.

New Eyes for the Needy is a non-profit partner in Lee and Wise County that provides waivers to individuals whose medical insurance will not cover the cost of paying for eye examinations. The community action agency may have free vouchers for eyeglasses who meet certain poverty guidelines. Eye examination vouchers are also available from the United Way of Southwest Virginia.

The Virginia HIP program (Homeless Intervention Program) tries to stop evictions or help those families that are behind on their mortgage and facing foreclosure. It will also assist homeless individuals and families in Norton and Lee County with finding and paying for permanent housing or apartments.

HIP may offer counseling, financial literacy, cash grants, and more. Money can be used for security deposits, rent, or other housing costs. Case managers work to ensure self-sufficiency for lower income individuals. Applicants must be willing to enter into a self-sufficiency/stability plan.

Emergency Assistance is one time only. It is for low-income and working poor families who are experiencing a crisis. It may be able to support those facing extreme financial difficulties, such as an eviction or foreclosure. In some cases, financial assistance is available to pay for past due utility or electric bills, and maybe even water expenses. Food vouchers may also be offered too.

Rental assistance from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is for low-income families and individuals in Wise County and other areas. AppCAA is a key partner and referral agency for the Scott County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. They also address housing issues with Southwest Virginia Legal Aide. The agencies work with clients to better understand fair housing laws, locate affordable housing, and access other services.





Seniors can get help from CHORE services. Programs will assist the disabled and elderly. Assistance can include meal preparation on occasion, light housekeeping services, shopping and errand running, and other support. Volunteers also help the elderly in Lee, Scott County, and Norton Virginia.

AppCAA case management type services

Information on affordable day care and vouchers is part of Child Care Connect Resource and Referral. This is presented to residents as a community based resource and referral agency for parents.

Another program for children is Smart Beginnings. It links services, non-profits and government resources that support children birth to age 5 and their parents. It works to stop gaps in services and resources that children need.

VITA, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and free income tax preparation will available for free to help families prepare and file their federal and state taxes. Get information on credits, deductions, and solutions such as the Earned Income Tax Credit for low income families.

Homeowners can register for post-purchase counseling. Clients get information on issues such as foreclosure prevention, credit card offers/scams, predatory lending, property tax issues, saving for home maintenance and emergencies, and tips for avoiding late payments on your home loan.

First time home buyer counseling takes place with counselors. Create an action plan that addresses financial matters such as budgeting, income, and expenses. A HUD Certified Housing Counselor from Appalachian Community Action and Development Agency will educate you on ways to evaluate and understand the home buying process and how mortgages work.

Debt management and reduction counseling helps set a foundation of good personal skills. Counselors from AppCAA offer clients budgeting tips, show them how to create a budget, monitor your progress, reduce credit card debts, and manage the flow of income and expenses.

Free foreclosure and mortgage delinquency counseling is under high demand, especially in the weaker economic environment. Certified housing counselors will work with homeowners and your bank or lender.




During this process a specialist will evaluate your personal financial situation and provide you with advice on how to avoid bankruptcy, a default on a loan, or home foreclosure. The fact is that many banks and mortgage companies offer certain people payment plans and home loan modifications.

Another option to explore with the counselor from Appalachian Community Action and Development Agency is loss mitigation. This may be able to stop the foreclosure process. Some of the options may include short sales, loan workouts to principal reduction. Not everyone can use these loss mitigation services, and it is usually for people with a medical emergencies, unexpected job loss, or personal crisis. Also, in general, homeowners need to have been making relatively timely payments in the past.

Main locations

Lee County, 119 Hill Street Jonesville, Virginia 24263, phone: 276-346-0054
Scott County AppCAA office is at 190 Beech Street, Suite 103 Gate City, VA 24251. Call 276-386-6441
Wise County and Norton center is at 147 Plaza S.W., Ste 229, Wise, VA 24293. Call 276-679-5988 for intake.

By Jon McNamara

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