Crisis Programs

How to apply for assistance

A crisis is a one-time exceptional event and can occur to anyone. When a crisis occurs, ECCCM wants to help you navigate the crisis.

A crisis can cause an individual or household to fall into a financial situation that endangers sustainable housing. This includes basic housing costs, utilities and life-necessary pharmaceuticals.

ALL applications for crisis assistance require a personal interview with a trained case manager.

Applications are accepted Monday – Thursday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.


Applications that are accepted for crisis assistance services are checked for financial responsibility and a verifiable demonstration of need. In order to expedite your application and successful approval, the following supporting documents are required for each application.

Telephone applications are now being accepted

for financial assistance and hunger relief programs.

Required Documents

Required Documents for EVERY interview:

  • Photo ID of the person applying for assistance
  • Social Security documentation for all household members – If you are not registered with SSA, you must provide some form of ID
  • Proof of all income (as applicable) and/or benefit award letters (last 60 days)
  • Most recent paycheck stub, retirement earnings, SS, or other earned income
  • Explanation of benefits for SSDI and other disability payments
  • Alimony and/or child support checks
  • Section 8 Annual Certification Letter
  • A copy of ALL CURRENT BILLS, EXPENSES and INCIDENTALS. You must show all expenses (last 60 days), not just the bill for which you are requesting assistance.  This INCLUDES credit card statements.
  • Current bank statements (or pay cards – i.e. CashApp, Venmo, Chime, etc.) showing the last 60 days of activity.
  • Mortgage information if requesting mortgage assistance.
  • Current lease and Landlord information if requesting rent assistance.

case management

Providing services, without treatment, is enablement. Case Management, including the Crisis Assistance Coaching Program, is that treatment. All households benefit from ECCCM’s case managers helping create goals and action steps for each situation.

All clients are assigned to a case manager, who will be responsible for managing 100% of the client’s case. This model allows the client to tell their story only one time as a relationship is built between the case manager and client. The case manager will work with the client, determining needs then laying out a holistic case plan designed specifically to help alleviate the crisis situation while building a framework of action steps designed to help the client. The case manager will schedule the client back at a future date, which is dependent upon the goals that were established. All services are provided through the case manager.

Excluded Expenses

As a crisis assistance ministry, ECCCM will help you with basic expenses but cannot assist you in supporting a lifestyle that may have been affordable before a crisis occurred. Therefore, the following expenses are NOT considered to be qualifying expenses and are excluded for consideration during the crisis application:

  • Internet and/or Cable or Satellite TV over and above basic tier services.

  • Online movie purchases and/or Cable and Satellite TV on-demand movies, etc.

  • Excessive home and cellular telephone plans: smartphone data plans are generally not necessary during times of financial crisis.

  • Cigarettes and/or alcohol, gambling, or gaming costs.

  • Restaurant expenses, membership fees (i.e. YMCA), or excessive insurance policies.

  • Expenses beyond basic salon costs for stylists, manicures, pedicures, etc.

Note that active participation in ECCCM’s case management is necessary for crisis assistance. Your case manager will work one-on-one with you and your specific situation, creating goals and action steps to best help you. One of those action steps may involve enrolling in Crisis Assistance Coaching Program classes. Classes include basic budgeting, debt reduction, effective shopping tips, menu preparation, and personal goal setting, which are designed to help you regain financial security and eliminate crisis situations.

Financial assistance is available through your case manager, depending on your need, your active participation in your case, and the progress you make.

Applicants are urged to arrive early in the day (for in-person applications) to avoid long waiting times during peak periods. In these instances late applicants may be asked to return the next day. Likewise, early electronic applications should occur well in advance. Do not wait until the day of disconnection for utilities, or eviction for rent, to make an application for assistance.

Transportation Program

The transportation program is intended to serve as a stop-gap measure for transportation issues that will further exacerbate potential crisis situations. The leading cause of homelessness in eastern Catawba County involves lack of reliable transportation. Thus, this is a proactive program that will be employed before a crisis occurs. The goal of this program is to maintain basic reliable transportation, to those who qualify, as a means for those persons to remain gainfully employed. It will be expected that gainful employment will eliminate the potential of future crisis situations created by loss of hours or loss of employment due to transportation issues.

Qualification Criteria

To qualify, a client must:

  • Qualify according to established ECCCM crisis financial qualification criterion used for all applications.
  • Reside in the ECCCM service area.
  • Be actively employed, or actively and diligently searching for employment as verified by the case manager through NC Works or verified staffing agency.
  • Demonstrate that without repairs a job loss will occur or employment will not be found.
  • Be the registered owner of the vehicle.
  • Provide current registration (license) with vehicle information.

Vehicle Repairs

Eligible repairs are only those that are necessary for the continued safe and reliable operation of the automobile. The applicant must be the registered owner of the vehicle in question. Discretionary, elective or custom work of any type does not qualify.

All repairs must be performed by an ECCCM authorized repair facility with approval through ECCCM case managers. Reimbursements for prior repairs will not be considered.

Hunger Programs

ALL hunger programs renew every six months. Renewal criterion is directly correlated with financial qualifications.

ECCCM’s hunger programs are designed to help each applicant in their unique situation. The end goal is to alleviate food insecurity by providing nutritious and healthy foods. Quantities of foods are dependent upon household size. Provided foods include usual and customary staple goods of canned foods, proteins including meats, dairy products including eggs along with fresh fruits, produce and breads.

ECCCM Hunger Prevention Programs are available to those who qualify for assistance. Commodities are distributed on a regular basis on a six-month cycle. Additional supplemental foods of fresh produce and associated items are available on a bi-weekly basis as supplies last.

The Student Hunger Prevention Program is available to students, and their families, with quantities determined by household size. This program covers grades K-12 in all Newton-Conover City Schools, all Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Catawba Valley Community College. This program provides all commodities as other hunger programs, plus provides more student-friendly snacks that are nutritious as we work to combat childhood obesity. Distribution is on a regular monthly basis on a six-month cycle with additional supplemental foods of fresh produce and associated items on a bi-weekly basis as supplies last.


Free clothing is provided to qualifying families to alleviate crisis and clothe children for school. Additionally, the Thrift Store provides low cost clothing, housewares and furniture for those who are bargain shopping or treasure hunting.

Mortgage and rent payments

Mortgage and rent assistance is paid directly to the lending institution or landlord. Landlords must be on the approved ECCCM vendor list.

Deposit assistance may be available depending on case criteria.

Life-necessary Pharmaceuticals

Following a personal interview, vouchers are provided to qualifying clients for life-necessary pharmaceuticals such as prescribed antibiotics, blood pressure and diabetes medications. Vouchers are filled at pre-determined local pharmacies.

FaithHealth Catawba

FaithHealth is a dynamic partnership between the faith community, health system and other community partners focused on improving health. The partnerships combine the caring strength of congregations, the expertise of healthcare providers and a network of community resources. All partners are linked in a shared mission of healing.

FaithHealth volunteers offer ministry and advocacy to anyone in their community who is in need. They provide support before, during and/or after hospitalization. They make home visits, provide emotional and spiritual support and help with other needs as appropriate.

Ask your case manager or click here for more information.

Crisis Assistance Coaching Program

To help break the cycle of crisis due to job layoffs and unemployment, clients are enrolled in this program. Basic budgeting classes, debt reduction helps, recipe creation, and shopping tips help consumers make better choices and stretch their dollars. Additionally, budgeting classes help persons make better decisions. Credit counseling and loan modification programs can help those who have fallen behind in their bills.

Utility assistance

Utility bill assistance is paid directly to the utility company. Assistance is provided to eliminate disconnection. Assistance may be available for deposits on a per case basis depending on case criteria. Bills are not considered to be a true crisis unless they are in the 10 day period of disconnect. Applicants are urged NOT to wait to the day of disconnect to apply for assistance as we cannot guarantee that a disconnect will not occur.

Fuel oil & kerosene

Fuel oil & kerosene assistance is paid directly to the vendor. Vendors must be on the approved ECCCM vendor list.