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Buncombe County assistance programs.

Learn how to apply for financial assistance from charities, churches, or the government. Get help with paying rent, access affordable housing, and also receive free food or even energy bill help. Buncombe County and Asheville families can receive grants, enrollment into job programs, and other forms of support.

Residents can also locate low income housing or apply for home buying and/or mortgage assistance. In addition, find places for free school supplies, Christmas gifts, furniture for low income families, and even winter clothes. There are many resources below.

Help for rent, utility bills, car repairs, and other expenses

Below you will find information on many local non-profits and charities, however two of the leading organizations that provide Asheville and Buncombe County residents with help include Community Action Opportunities and St. Vincent de Paul. Between the two of these groups they offer several resources and programs to struggling individuals and families.

Weatherization Programs and Services is offered by Community Action Opportunities and it helps individuals and families who have limited incomes stay cooler in summer as well as warmer in the cold western North Carolina winter months. The program will provide free energy saving measures to the household, such as additional insulation, furnace tune ups, caulking, window replacement, and more.

All updates, including installation, are free to the applicant. People who are accepted into this program can save hundreds of dollars per year on their utility bills. Both homeowners and renters can apply for weatherization services. In some cases cash grants may also be issued to help pay heating bills, and this is combined with weatherization. (828) 252-2495

St. Vincent de Paul helps hundreds of Asheville families every year. While the organizations primary focus is to help struggling families with paying their utility bills, it also will help people with paying their rent, provide funds for car repairs, bus tickets, food aid, and money to prevent an eviction. The mission of St. Vincent Depaul is to help the low income and middle income of this country make it through a difficult period. Call them at (828) 236-8555 to apply or for more information, or read assistance from St. Vincent in Buncombe County.




Heating bill assistance is offered in order to help low income, elderly, and struggling households to keep warm.  For those people who are struggling with their heating bills, Eblen-Kimmel Charities administer a heating assistance program that starts each year in November. Providing heating aid is the number one item they are now focusing on. Most year, the charity provides a little more than $1 million in heating assistance alone to Asheville area families. Contact Eblen-Kimmel Charities, at 255-3066, or stop by their office at 12 Regent Place, Asheville, North Carolina.

The Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry has several resources for people who are facing an emergency. Among other things they offer a food pantry, soup kitchen to families who need food aid, shelter and they also run a heating bill assistance program for winter expenses.

Other resources and programs offered include emergency assistance for buying food, clothing, pet food, and household items. Assistance may be able to be offered for fuel or paying heating bills when income and other government resources are insufficient. Applicants should note that any type of emergency financial assistance for utilities, housing and rent will only be provided if a disconnection of that service would cause a life threatening situation.

Or grants may be issued from the ABCCM crisis program for people that are facing imminent eviction, and all other resources and government programs have been exhausted. In some cases, free pet food from Meals on Wheels can be delivered in Asheville NC.

The charity also provides housing to single moms, supports veterans from SSVF, has a thrift store, and runs a low cost medical or dental clinic. There are multiple sites. Phone (828) 670-1221 or stop by 30 Cumberland Ave. Or find more information on Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry programs.





Another organization to contact is Hominy Valley Community Services (667-3441). This charity offers emergency financial assistance and help in the form of clothing, free food, heating fuel, medicine, and energy bill help for indigent families in the community.

Government LIEAP (low income energy bill assistance) may be able to provide certain Buncombe County residents with funds for paying utility bills. The elderly, retirees, and disabled can apply first for a free grant. More on LIEAP in North Carolina.

Employment is always a major need in western North Carolina and the Asheville marketplace. Everyone from senior citizens to service workers often need a higher paying job or more income. There are a few options, one being legitimate work from home jobs. It is possible to make a few extra dollars on the side, in a low stress environment. There are such such opportunities as doing a contract job, and find the best freelance websites.

Salvation Army - Buncombe County - Limited amounts of financial assistance may be offered, under certain conditions. The Agency may be able to provide emergency financial assistance for paying rent, utilities, cooling bills, heating expenses, and prescription medication, as well as household goods and general assistance. You need to make an appointment and apply. Asheville North Carolina. (828) 253-4723

Eblen Charities and its partners offer help to the poor, jobless, and low income. They are a leading charity for western North Carolina. Some of the leading resources are noted below.

  • Free holiday meals and school supplies, in particular shoes for children.
  • Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing - Eblen can offer emergency grants to pay rent or the security deposit on a new, low income home.
  • Food is a major focus. Pantries, meals for children and students and a home delivery service for seniors is available.
  • Utility bill and energy help from the Energy Project.

Many other assistance programs are administered in Asheville and other towns. The services support all of the entire county as well. Continue with financial aid from Eblen Charities.

Biltmore United Methodist Church - Programs can assist families and individuals in need. As funding allows, the charity may offer financial assistance once a month on the 4th Tuesday of a month. Families and people from the community need to call the week before assistance to make an appointment for help. If money is available, they can assist a family once every 4 months up to a year and up to $75 can be provided. Asheville, NC. (828) 274-2379





Foster Seventh Day Adventist Church Community Services – Apply for financial assistance. Needs to be done in person, and only on Tuesdays. Limited utility assistance, and sometimes bus tickets or even laundry vouchers may be distributed. 375 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, NC 28803, call (828) 274-2014

North Buncombe Samaritan Ministry, part of the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM). This non-profit organization offers emergency assistance services for persons who reside in North Buncombe County. Services include free food, pet food, clothing, and household items. Funds may be able to assists with paying for heating bills or fuel when other resources are insufficient. Grants and emergency assistance may be offered for paying electric bills and rent only if all other resources have been exhausted, and the person is facing eviction or disconnection. 403 Weaverville Highway, Asheville, North Carolina 28804, main number (828) 645-6141

Catholic Charities has multiple services in the Asheville region. A major one is free food and meal distribution  (working with MANNA Food Bank and local agencies). They also help immigrants, refugees, and Spanish speakers in the form of immigration services, translation, legal aid and more. Referrals to financial aid, holiday resources and other basic needs are offered too. More on Catholic Charities in Asheville region.

County Social Services administers most of the state on North Carolina and federal government programs. The public aid tends to be for very low income families or the underemployed, but the number of options is extensive and Buncombe County families can apply for the following.

  • Energy bill help from LIHEAP or crisis grants.
  • Vouchers to pay for child care.
  • Free food, both from referrals to pantries and SNAP food stamps.
  • Other aid, ranging from Work First Employment to loans for housing needs or medical care. Read more public aid in Buncombe.

Johnston Elementary Outreach, Children First/CIS of Buncombe County – Only covers families who attend attending Johnston Elementary. Resources offered are assistance with utility bills or rent, free food pantry; clothing provision and case management services. 230 Johnston Boulevard, Asheville, NC 28806 call (828) 768-3012

Clothes closets, free furniture banks and low cost thrift stores: Buncombe County families may be able to obtain some or all of the following. Some items are free (using vouchers), others are sold at a minimal cost.

  • Clothes for work such as pants, belts, boots, and more.
  • Furniture banks in Asheville give beds, refurbished computers, kitchen tables, couches, desks, lamps and other household items.
  • Free school supplies including backpacks, uniforms, and other supplies.
  • Furniture, bedding, warm winter coats and many other goods. Find a listing of free clothing closets, furniture banks and school supplies in Buncombe County.

Children First/CIS of Buncombe County, Family Resource Center at Emma - Families with children can get emergency assistance for bills and rent, access to a food pantry, case management, and a clothing closet. Address is 37 Brickyard Road, Asheville, North Carolina 28806, call (828) 252-4810

Housing assistance, rent, and shelter - Renters in Buncombe County who anticipate falling behind on their rent, individuals who need shelter or transitional housing, or if you need other housing assistance, find a listing of regional Asheville rent assistance programs.





Thanksgiving and Christmas programs are administered by several charities in the greater Asheville area. They offer low income families, children, and seniors with some or all of the following.

  • Free toys, games, and presents are for kids from programs such as Angel Tree.
  • Meals are given to low income and homeless individuals.
  • Other Christmas programs include visits to senior citizens, holiday food baskets, and more. Fre more details Buncombe County free holiday assistance.

Asheville area eviction help and programs for the homeless - Tenants on a low income as well as seniors and single mothers can get priority when it comes to support from an agency. Whether the person needs a grant, money for water bills or rent, or case management, support is arranged.

The homeless prevention programs work closely with the United Way and other non-profit agencies in the community. This is done to help as many low income families as possible. More on homeless assistance in Buncombe County.

Asheville North Carolina Salvation Army

This is yet another place for people to turn to. They also have several different resources, and it includes everything from rent help, to grants for utility bills, free prescriptions, and more. They also do a good job in referring people to various hardship programs. The heating bill assistance program they administer starts in November of each year. Financial aid is provided up through February.

There are also free back to school supply giveaways and Christmas toy and meal programs for low income families in Buncombe County. Call them at 258-2283 for help, or click here for more details on Salvation Army in Buncombe County and Asheville.

Free debt elimination and reduction services

Many people are struggling with paying their credit card and medical debts, and Ontrack Financial Education and Counseling may be able to assist you. The agency provides free, confidential professional debt elimination and budget counseling, and they also offer money management assistance to people in financial crisis or who are struggling with debts, and those who want a plan to prevent a crisis. Call them at 255-5166.

Would be renters and homeowners also need to pay down debts and improve credit scores to pay for housing in Buncombe County. There are many options out there to make this happen. As but one option, find how refinancing auto loans can help save money over the long haul.

Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries

This organization, which can be reached at (828) 259-5300, will provide families in need funds to pay their heating bills, whether electric, propane, gas, or another fuel source. They provide tens if nut hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and it can be as much as $100,000. They have limited funding, and much of the financial aid they provide is donated by local residents and businesses. So apply early, and also please contribute if you can.







Vision care and eyeglasses

Asheville Lions Eye Clinic (828-665-2982) provides a wide variety of eye care programs, including free screenings for glaucoma and vision, they recycle and offer used eyeglasses, offers Diabetes screening for a nominal fee of $1.00  provides eye glasses and free eye exams to low and moderate income residents in Buncombe County. In addition, they also provides vision re-screenings to all schools in Buncombe County.

There are other resources available as well. Free eye exams from clinics or doctors, prescription glasses, and other support can be arranged too. Find free eye exams near you.

Low income and uninsured health care assistance

WNC Community Health Services provides primary medical, dental, and health care services to low-income, uninsured county and Asheville North Carolina residents. People who can’t afford their medical or dental bills, or who have limited insurance, are targeted by this clinic. Dial 285-0622 to learn more or make an appointment.

Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry offers dental assistance, and can direct people to other health and medical community clinics. Call (828) 259-5339.

In addition to these health centers, find more Asheville free community clinics.

Food assistance programs

The Manna Food bank (phone number 299-3663) partners with various local charities, non-profits, and food distribution centers. Turn to them if you need help providing for your next meal.

Biltmore Church of God Food Pantry ((828) 274-7351) offers free food and Riverside Baptist Food Pantry ((828) 252-5634) also provides nonperishable food.

Other emergency and government support can help prevent hunger. If these three food distribution centers can’t help you, then locate more Asheville North Carolina free food banks and pantries in the county.

Home repair programs

Low-income homeowners, including senior citizens, the elderly, disabled, and families that have three or more dependent children can receive low cost or even free home repairs and improvements from Mountain Housing Opportunities. Call them at 254-4030.

Free foreclosure counseling and prevention advice

If you are facing a foreclosure or are struggling to pay your mortgage, Asheville based Ontrack Financial Education and Counseling offers several housing assistance programs. The organization provides housing and foreclosure counseling, support, information on mortgage programs, and advocacy to assist homeowners in attaining and maintaining stable housing and stopping a foreclosure. 255-5166





Legal assistance, including foreclosure counseling, in Buncombe County

Pisgah Legal Services offers free legal advice for the civil civil legal issues. Illegal or questionable eviction; where home foreclosure, mortgage difficulty or loss of home is avoidable through legal representation; free legal assistance and representation to help low-income individuals and families secure decent, affordable housing and avoid homelessness; housing discrimination, and more. Call (828) 253-0406, or click here for additional NC legal aid.

By Jon McNamara

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