Buncombe County public assistance.

The main services available in Buncombe County are focused on helping families break the cycle of poverty. However, some residents may occasionally need short term assistance as they work towards that goal, and during this period of time the social service department will offer public aid to qualified applicants.

Everything from applications to SNAP food stamps and utility bill assistance may be administered. This can help serve as a form of short term relief by preventing such things as hunger or the disconnection of a power bill. Social workers will then work with the client on self-sufficiency.

Working poor or low-income households that face emergency heating bill or cooling issues may be eligible for assistance through the LIHEAP Crisis Intervention Program, or CIP. Funds are limited, and qualified households must have an income that borders federal government poverty levels. Also, any public assistance from LIHEAP is only offered at most once per year.

When Buncombe County North Carolina does receive funding for this resource via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the amount of financial assistance paid out may occasionally increase. Please note, the Crisis Intervention program pays for the following expenses, including propane, electricity, deposits, fuel oil, kerosene, natural gas, wood, space heaters, furnace repairs and fans.

Social services also works in collaboration with charities such as Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), and ELBEN Charities on helping low income families. Those residents who are interested in energy bill help from CIP will find applications available at ABCCM, SVCM and Eblen Charities.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is available to struggling families and the unemployed that meet income levels. The program will help families and consists of a one-time cash payment to assist with payment towards heating bills. In the month of December, the application process will commence by Social Work Services, and the priority during that timeframe is for local families and individuals such as the elderly or those with disabilities. In the month of February, all other eligible, low-income families may apply.




Medicaid for Adults is a public health insurance program for individuals with income below predetermined amounts set by the federal government and state of North Carolina. There are different branches of medical services available from Medicaid, as noted below.

If an applicant is over the age of 65 years, are blind or living with a disability, the income level to receive the services of Medicaid is equal to 100% of the federal poverty level. Medicare also provides long term care for those individuals, such as seniors or the disabled, who need medically necessary nursing home care.

There are other forms of family Medicaid available in North Carolina. They can be used to meet individual and family needs, and these are funded with state and federal dollars. One example, Health Choice, is an option for children under the age of 19 years who may qualify for free or low cost insurance. There are other public health programs too.

For eligible individuals from Buncombe County that are currently residing in a licensed facility, family care home, or rest home, there is a Special Public Assistance program that assists them with payments for their ongoing residency. Medicaid is also available to assist in paying these types medical bills.

SNAP food stamps is another public program available to low-income eligible families. It will, on a monthly basis, provide federal subsidized benefits to those enrolled in the program via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. This is an option for very low income individuals and household requiring assistance as it is an entitlement program.

People on SNAP may purchase most foods or groceries at participating authorized (FNS) retailers. Eligibility requires applicants be U.S. Citizens or an immigrant living in the United States under an approved, specific immigration status. There are also income and asset limits in place, and all candidates must meet all the other criteria for the Food Stamp Program in order to receive benefits.





In order for individuals and families to become independent and stable, they will often require job training, work experience and supportive case management. The Work First Employment Services meets all these needs for its clients. The program is run by Buncombe County Social Work Services and helps individuals on welfare meet all of the work requirements that they need to follow.

Parents receive childcare assistance, short-term training and other support that will enable them to find steady employment and gain a stable family life. Families need to meet their individual responsibilities and are given a time limit of two years to move off of public aid.

Through state and federal funding, subsidized child care is available in Buncombe County to assist eligible parents with the cost of caring for their children. Using grants and vouchers, families may choose the appropriate type of childcare that fits the needs of their children.

Social services in Buncombe County can be called at (828) 250-5500. The main office is 40 Coxe Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina 28802.



By Jon McNamara

“Related Links” are listed below.




Contact Us

About Us


Privacy policy