Accessing Free Resources Through the Winter Season

Accessing Free Resources in Asheville & Buncombe County Through the Winter Using NC 2-1-1

As the winter season brings colder weather to the mountains of North Carolina, many of us are facing the often-difficult issues related to dropping temperatures. Thankfully, there are many local and regional nonprofits that work tirelessly to provide free assistance to residents facing financial hardship and in need of temporary support to: heat their home, secure rent assistance, accessing appropriate cold-weather clothing, finding additional meals for themselves and their family members and other important needs that arise.

Dial NC 2-1-1 or Search

While many of us simply look for these resources online, navigating the sea of information can be daunting, time-consuming and limited based on how a person is able to search. That is why NC 2-1-1, a free, 24 hour a day/7 days a week information and referral service, is provided by United Way of North Carolina, with a call center that serves Western North Carolina, managed by United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County.

When you dial 2-1-1 from your telephone, you’re automatically connected to a trained call specialist that will listen to your need and help find the closest resources available to you. You can also search the database to find local nonprofits working to fill specific needs in your community or that of a loved one in the state of North Carolina as well.

How to Use NC 2-1-1 to Find Free and Low Cost Resources Available to You

Example: I Need Help With My Electric Bill

Let’s say I’m having a hard time financially and need help heating my home this month. If I visit, below are the steps I’ll take to find heating assistance resources available to me:

  • Click on Find Help

  • Enter your zip code
  • Type the need I’m seeking assistance for in the blank box 
(ie: electric bill assistance)
  • Click ‘Search for Resources’ button on the right

This will provide me with a list of available electric-bill payment resources in my area along with their address, telephone number, and website.

You can’t beat the personal touch. When in doubt, all you have to do is call 2-1-1 from your telephone, and a trained specialist will share with you the appropriate resource. Many times our specialists find that people call for a solution to one problem but, in the course of the conversation they are able to help people navigate additional needs that they never thought to ask about at first.

The Statistics of Need Using

In the last 90 days in Buncombe County alone tells me: 333 requests were made to 2-1-1 for support around utility assitance, 652 inquiries were received related to healthcare (many related to the open enrollment period), 917 calls were received related to housing, 340 inquiries came in for meal assistance, and 449 requests were made in regards to government and legal assistance, amongst many others.

We All Need and Can Give Help at Different Times in Our Lives

We all face hardship and can all give and use a helping hand throughout our lifetime. It’s important to remember that there is no problem too small, that we are not alone and that united as a community, we are stronger and more resilient than we are alone. If you have any questions related to how to use 2-1-1,, give us a call at (828) 252-HELP or simply dial 2-1-1 and we’ll be happy to help.

Are you able to help support this service in the community at this time? Donate Today.