Programs

The New Hanover County Emergency Rental Assistance Program provides assistance to households that have been impacted financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible households may receive assistance for rent, utilities, internet and other housing costs.

Requests for rental assistance can be submitted by eligible households or by landlords on behalf of eligible households. Landlords interested in applying should call 910-798-3650 for assistance.

Applications for the New Hanover County Emergency Rental Assistance Program are temporarily suspended. Applications will be reopened once additional funding is received from the state and approved for distribution in early August. For additional questions about this program, please call or text the Emergency Rental Assistance Program call center at 910-798-3650.

Las solicitudes para el Programa de Emergencia /Asistencia de Alquiler del Condado de New Hanover serán suspendidas temporeramente . Las solicitudes para el programa reabrirán una vez que se reciban fondos adicionales del estado y se aprueben para su distribución a principios de agosto. Para preguntas adicionales sobre este programa, por favor llame o envíe un mensaje de texto al centro de llamadas del Programa de Emergencia /Asistencia de Alquiler al 910-798-3650.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, households must:

  • Have one or more individuals who has qualified for unemployment benefits, or experience a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experience other financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Customers must be able to prove the income loss or have increased costs related to childcare due to COVID-19 including:
      • Reduction of work hours
      • Job loss or furlough
      • COVID-19 illness of self or immediate family member
      • Loss of schooling or childcare resulting in childcare needs that cause job loss, reduction of work hours or new childcare costs that cause financial hardship

and 

  • Have one or more individuals that demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability

and 

  • Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
    • Priority will be given to households that make 50 percent or less of the median income and have a household member currently receiving unemployment or has experienced unemployment in the last 90 days prior to application

US Citizenship is NOT an eligibility requirement for this program. 

How do I apply?

Applications can be submitted online or over the phone. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, applying in-person is not required.

  1. Apply online using the New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Customer Portal AccessHHS (Must have an email address to complete application)
  2. Residents who do not have internet access or an email address can apply by calling 910-798-3650

What documents are required?

After you submit your application online, you will receive an email with steps to log-in to the AccessHHS secure portal to upload certain documents (if applying by phone, residents will be given direction on how to submit these documents by mail or drop-off).

Required documents include:

  1. Minimum of 30 days’ paystubs for all household members over the age of 18; or
    • check stubs from one month prior to application; or
    • tax returns (2020); or
    • employer statement; or
    • Self-declaration if third-party verification cannot be obtained
  2. Verification of job loss or income loss or reduction
    Self-declaration is acceptable if third-party verification cannot be obtained
  3. Copy of Lease
  4. Proof of Residency of New Hanover County (electric, gas, or water billing statement).
  5. Form of identification (Military ID, Student ID, Driver’s License or Passport)
  6. Late notice, ledger or documentation from landlord/property management company

Once your application is processed and reviewed, you will be notified of whether or not the application was approved, and how much assistance you are eligible for.

How is assistance received?

Households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, and payment is made directly to the landlord, property management company, utility or service provider.

This program is a result of direct allocation to the county from the COVID-19 relief package included in the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the $7.1 million in funding to administer the program on March 15, 2021, and the program began March 29, 2021. 

The state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) provides a one-time annual vendor payment to help eligible families pay their heating expenses during the cold-weather months.

New Hanover County residents can apply for heating cost assistance through the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program beginning Monday, January 4, 2021.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, a household must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Have income equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty limit
  • Have resources, such as saving and checking accounts and cash on hand, at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for their heating cost

How do I apply?

Applications can be submitted online through the Epass portal at epass.NC.gov.

Applications can also be downloaded here to print, fill out and submitted to the New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Department of Social Services.

Downloaded applications can be submitted the following ways:

  • By email: DSSinfo@NHCgov.com
  • By mail or in person:
    New Hanover County Health & Human Services Building
    1650 Greenfield Drive
    Wilmington, NC 28401

    • Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Residents can also apply by phone by calling 910-798-3500 during operating hours.

How do I receive assistance?

LIEAP checks are mailed directly to vendors for qualified applicants when the process is complete. For more information or questions about eligibility, call 910-798-3500.

What is the Crisis Intervention Program?

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a year-round program that assists people experiencing a heating or cooling crisis. A household is considered in crisis if it is currently experiencing, or is in danger of experiencing a life threatening or health related emergency and assistance is not available from another source.

Who is eligible for CIP?

To be eligible for CIP, a household must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level
  • Have an energy related crisis
  • Have a utility statement that shows how much is owed to alleviate the crisis

How do I apply for CIP?

Households can apply for CIP online through the Epass portal at epass.NC.gov.

Applications can also be submitted in person: at the New Hanover County Health & Human Services Building at 1650 Greenfield Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401

    • Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

CIP applications will be accepted until June 30, 2021, or until funds are exhausted.

For more information about CIP and eligibility, call 910-798-3500.

What is the Family Support Program?

The Family Support Program is designed to assist non-custodial parents remove barriers that hinder timely child support payments and active involvement in their children’s lives.

Services include:

  • Assistance gaining access to your child, through mediation or court orders.
  • Education, training and job readiness programs.
  • Classes in economic empowerment, constructive communication and effective parenting.

Referrals to the Family Support Program are accepted through Child Support Services, Child Support Court, self-referral and other social services and community programs.

Click here to learn more about the Family Support Program.

For more information or to self-refer, contact Larry Mays or Jermaine Glaspie at (910) 798-3446.

What is the Bridging Change Initiative?

The Family Support Program and its partners have come together to develop the Bridging Change initiative, with a vision of shared parental responsibility and family engagement. We wish to foster a shift in the family dynamic that supports all family members of children who benefit from Child Support, including custodial parents and guardians. This involves opening communication between custodial and non-custodial parents and increasing access and relationship building between the child/children and the non-custodial parent.

Learn about resources available to single-parent households, and parents of children who benefit from Child Support, like:

  • Education, training and job readiness programs
  • Mediation
  • Classes in economic empowerment, constructive communication and effective parenting.

For more information or to self-refer, contact Larry Mays or Jermaine Glaspie at (910) 798-3446.

Why Do We Need You?

Church congregations already serve families in various ways and are vital resources in our community.

Faith-based organizations have unique strengths that agencies cannot duplicate. They hold the trust of their community, neighbors and leaders. Most importantly; they hold the sense of mission from which their work translates into a unique approach to service delivery, a dedication of service to others, and a cultural awareness of issues and relationships specific to their surroundings.

How Can You Support and Strengthen the Community?

Some opportunities for ministry:

  • Faith Community Fund: donate money to be used to assist clients in need.
  • Adopt-a-Family: volunteer to mentor a family in our Work First Program.
  • Summer Camp Opportunities: donate money to allow foster children the opportunity to attend camp.
  • Luggage Program: donate luggage to foster children.
  • Foster Children Christmas Party: donate money for this annual event.
  • Foster & Adoptive Parent: become a foster or adoptive parent to children in need.
  • Adopt-a- Foster Child for Christmas: volunteer to provide Christmas gifts for a child.
  • Life Guide: provide support as a mentor to a child aging out of foster care.
  • Assist Foster Parents: offer church facilities for training; support foster parents in your congregation.
  • Backpack Program: provide new school backpacks for children in foster care.
  • School Supplies: provide school supplies for children in foster care.
  • Photo Albums: provide new photo albums for foster & adoptive children to make their own personal Life Books.

CFPUA Assist: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

CFPUA Assist: Neighbors Helping Neighbors, is a one-time financial aid for water bill payment.

Financial challenges caused by illness, unemployment and other unexpected circumstances can result in losing essential services like safe and reliable drinking water. Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) has teamed up with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services to help people who, because of unexpected financial troubles, are in danger of losing their water service.

For assistance with your water bill, visit the New Hanover County Department of Social Services at 1650 Greenfield St., Wilmington, NC 28401.

To learn how to donate to CFPUA Assist, visit the CFPUA Assist webpage.

Our Children Need Your Support

You can help give our children the opportunity for an unforgettable camp experience. They will certainly be enriched with positive energy. They will learn new things and make new friends. This experience is needed for our children who have had serious family problems. Unfortunately, we have a large number of children who have been abused or neglected and now living in foster homes or with relatives. The cost for camp is $100/week for one child.

If you would like to make a difference in a child’s life, please send a check in any amount to:

NHC Dept. of Social Services
Summer Camp
P.O. Drawer 1559
Wilmington, N.C. 28402

For more Information call (910) 798-3500.

For most people, the Holiday Season is full of hope and happiness, but for children in foster care and group homes, the holidays can feel sad and lonely.  In an effort to make the holidays a little brighter for children who cannot be with their families, the New Hanover County Department of Social Services, New Hanover County Department of Human Resources and the Guardian Ad Litem Association have partnered to bring gifts and good cheer to these very special children. The children are primarily under the age of 18 years, however, we have a few children who have remained in DSS custody until the age of 21 so that they can pursue educational or vocational goals.  People from the community then select the gingerbread boys and girls from the tree and purchase gifts for the children. Each lists identifies the child’s sex and age, and of course their wishes. Unwrapped gifts are returned to the agency and delivered for the children.  We also accept financial donations so that we can provide gifts to any children whose wish list was not selected from the tree.  For more information, please contact Alice Moore at amoore@nhcgov.com or (910) 798-3566.

Background

Data on welfare participants reveal a clear link between under education and chronic, intergenerational welfare dependency. The Reading for Results program began in January 2005 as a collaborative effort between the New Hanover County Department of Social Services (DSS) and the new Hanover County Public Schools to address this issue. Serving children and families who utilize DSS Prevention and Child Welfare Services, the goal of the program is to promote family literacy and encourage family participation in their child’s learning. Initially the NHC Public Schools provided training to DSS social workers on reading techniques, choosing age appropriate books and building vocabulary and oral language. With an ongoing goal of promoting early literacy skills in “at-risk” children in New Hanover County, the Reading for Results program continues to serve children and families receiving services through DSS Prevention and Child Welfare units.

Vision

The vision for the Reading for Results program is to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by encouraging reading, enhancing oral and language proficiency, and developing early literacy skills. Starting Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success (National Research Council, National Academy Press, 1999) states, “Strong language and literacy environments are especially effective for young children who need an extra boost to promote their later success in reading. It is especially important for children who live in low-income communities…”. Welfare reform data shows that people with strong basic education and literacy skill work and earn more than individuals with low skill level. In the Cape Fear Region, 24% of adults read at or below 5th grade level and 29% of adults read at or below 8th grade level. These stats tell us that over 50% of adults read at or below age level. Fostering family literacy in the everyday activities of these families will assist low income individuals in providing more positive interaction with their children, will ultimately help deter intergenerational poverty, and will bring about the child’s future academic success thus addressing inadequate literacy skills later in life.

Goals

The goals of the program are to encourage reading through increased access to age appropriate books within the family unit and improve the worker-client relationship between DSS social workers and the families in need of our services.

This program is based on a meet, model and motivate concept:

  • Meet: Families are met by staff at either DSS or in their homes. DSS clients receive an initial visit by their social worker who introduces the program to them to determine the family’s interest.
  • Model: When the program is first introduced to the DSS client, social workers will model basic reading and literacy skills learned from the new Hanover County Schools training session. They will also give the family one free, new, age appropriate book per child when they conduct the home visit. At subsequent visits, additional books will be given to each child.
  • Motivate: Each parent served by Reading for Results will participate in or learn about creative ways to motivate young readers. When a child and family are met in the home, DSS staff will share ideas with the family members on how to make reading fun. In addition, by giving the books to the family, the parents will have the resources and opportunity to read with their children, increasing not only literacy but creativity and imagination.

If you would like to make a difference in a child’s life, please send new books or a check in any amount to:

NHC Dept. of Social Services
Reading for Results
P.O. Drawer 1559
Wilmington, N.C. 28402

For more Information call (910) 798-3500

LifeGuide is a mentoring program that offers individual’s ages 16 to 21 years old a caring adult to give support and life-skills education as they transition to adulthood. The needs of the youth vary from budgeting and seeking employment to finding an apartment and cooking.

For this to be a successful program, we need community volunteers to work on a one-on-one basis with individuals. All youth referred are in need of a caring adult in their lives to serve as friends and mature role models. Qualities of caring, consistency and understanding are important and necessary characteristics in all of our volunteers.

Volunteers will receive training from the Program Coordinator and learn the responsibilities of becoming a mentor to a young adult.

Make a difference in someone’s life; become a volunteer

The LifeGuide program will begin in partnership with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services with the potential to develop into a stand-alone non-profit organization.

CONTACT US TODAY:
New Hanover County Department of Social Services
1650 Greenfield Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: 798-3503
Fax: 798-3563
CThompson@nhcgov.com

Social Services: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7824
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