Funds available for nonprofits offering housing, heating assistance

By Caroline Klapper | Jan 11, 2013

Federal money for heating and housing assistance is available through the Emergency Food and Shelter Committee for any Haywood County 501(c) 3 nonprofits that qualify.

Committee Chairman Tom Posey said they were fortunate to get any funds this year because initially none were allocated to Haywood County.

“The money is allocated based on unemployment in the county, so we didn’t get any last year or this year,” he said, explaining that the county’s unemployment rate is lower than in other areas. “But they had holdover money that wasn’t spent that they will give to communities that don’t qualify for allocation.”

In total, Haywood County received $17,245 in reallocated Emergency Food and Shelter funding, and this year, the committee decided to use that money to aid nonprofits helping people with housing assistance, which includes rent assistance, utilities, deposits and heating assistance.

The reason for the focus on housing assistance, and particularly heating assistance, is based on what the committee saw as the greatest need in the community.

“The community is doing a good job of providing food, but the money is not there for housing assistance. There are people in need of a tank of oil right now who can’t afford it, and the agencies have already run out of money,” Posey said. “(The funding) is not near as much as we need, but it will fill up some oil tanks.”

Only local 501(c) 3 nonprofit are eligible, and they must meet a set of criteria in order to receive funds, including offering some type of housing assistance. Agencies that receive funds must keep track of the money through invoices, which will be turned over to the federal government.

“We have to account for all of the money,” Posey said.

To apply, contact Celesa Willett with United Way at 356-2831.

Although the committee does not have the money yet, Posey said now is the time for area nonprofits to apply.

“When the money is in hand, we want to be ready to give it,” he said.