Help is available as frigid temps threaten struggling families

Published Thursday, December 28, 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC, December 28, 2017 – With forecasts for frigid temps arriving this week, Crisis Assistance Ministry wants struggling families to know there is help available to keep the heat on.

“With temps dropping a good bit below freezing, it’s important for families to know that help is available and how to seek that help,” says Tovi Martin, Communications Manager for the agency, which is Mecklenburg County’s lead agency for emergency rent and utility assistance. “Nobody should be ‘camping in their own home’ in that kind of cold.”

What families should bring when seeking energy assistance:

Individuals and families seeking assistance should arrive by 8:00 a.m. at Crisis Assistance Ministry’s main office at 500-A Spratt Street. (Applicants are discouraged from arriving before 7:45 a.m. Assistance is NOT provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, but rather based on the urgency and immediacy of the emergency.)

Applicants must be residents of Mecklenburg County and should bring the following items along with them when applying for financial assistance:

  • Picture ID for the applying client
  • Social Security documentation for all household members: social security card, documentation from the Social Security Administration verifying social security number, W2 form from an employer or paystub indicating the nine-digit social security number, or W7 if applicable. If you are not registered with the Social Security Administration, you are required to provide some form of identification.
  • Rental lease (even if seeking utility assistance)
  • Proof of all household income for the past 30 days. Clients who receive unemployment, SSI or SSA, VA Pension, Retirement Pension, Child Support, Disability, and/or income from family or friends are required to present a statement of income verification. Clients who are self-employed are required to present income verification.
  • All disconnection and past due utility statements. These should be in the applying client's name and that person must reside in the household.

How the process works:

On a typical day, nearly 200 families will seek assistance with rent, utilities, clothing, or furniture. Applicants seeking financial assistance will meet face-to-face with a caseworker to review their situation and determine what resources may be available to resolve the immediate crisis. If financial assistance is approved, emergency rent or utility payments will be made directly to landlords or utility providers.

Applicants can help make their visit more efficient by following these tips:

  • Bring all the documents listed above.
  • Bring a book or an internet enabled device (phone, tablet, laptop) and charger. Free Wifi is available in the lobby.
  • Make childcare arrangements. If you must bring a child along, bring along books, crayons, or other items to entertain your child and adequate diapers and other supplies for a full day.
  • Bring a snack or other refreshments you may need. There are vending machines, but on busy days they often empty quickly.
  • Wear weather appropriate clothing – we do our best to quickly seat everyone inside the building, but the line may extend outside, especially on busy days.
    Detailed instructions for those seeking assistance are available at

For families in need of coats, blankets, winter clothes:

Mecklenburg County residents in need of warm clothing, bedding, or household goods can visit the agency’s Free Store Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. More details are available online at

Want to help?

Crisis Assistance Ministry depends on public and private funds to ensure families are able to stay in their homes, with their utilities intact, and their basic needs met. Help is needed right now to keep families warm and housed through the winter.
Details on how to make a financial contribution or donation of material goods like coats, clothing, and essential furniture are online at

About Crisis Assistance Ministry

Crisis Assistance Ministry is Mecklenburg County’s Lead Agency offering emergency assistance to impoverished families. Specifically, Crisis Assistance Ministry helps families facing financial crisis by: providing for basic needs with rent and utility assistance, clothing, household goods, furniture, beds, and appliances; fostering financial stability through partnerships, counseling, and support to give families the tools they need to move toward stability; and educating the community about the realities of poverty in Mecklenburg County. In FY2017, more than 21,000 families received some form of assistance from the agency. Visit them online at to learn more about preventing homelessness and preserving dignity.