Located in Asheville and serving the counties of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Transylvania and Madison for nearly 20 years, Eblen Charities assists families and individuals in the community during times of crisis and hardship with emergency financial help. The organization serves about 12,000 clients per year.
This assistance can look different depending on the needs. Eblen helps clients with housing needs, including paying rent and negotiating with landlords during times of hardship. In 2020, the organization invested approximately $300,000 in the community through housing assistance. Eblen also assists clients with heating needs with an investment of around one million annually. During hard times, especially in winter months when temperatures dip, some residents can’t afford to refill oil tanks or pay power and gas bills. Eblen steps in to help as part of the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), Crisis Intervention Program and Emergency Assistance (EA) program.
Buncombe County is one of only three NC counties that partner with the federal government to administer government funds with these programs. A trusted partner, Eblen has been working with Buncombe County to serve the community for more than 12 years.
In addition to assisting with federal programs, Eblen extends its reach into the community by helping with other needs not funded by government entities. Through this more flexible funding, Eblen finds creative solutions to problems area residents face such as assisting with transportation for chemotherapy patients, providing eyeglasses, helping to pay for prescriptions and hosting the annual Saint Nicholas Project, a free “toy store” for families in need. Dogwood Health Trust was able to fund one of these more flexible projects that enabled Eblen to provide a safe working environment for its staff and their clients. The Dogwood grant was used to install plexiglass safety shields at office desks where caseworkers regularly meet with clients and each other to assist community members. The grant also provides for monthly office sanitization.
Executive Director Robin Boettcher says, “Working with Dogwood was very easy. We were happy to join listening sessions that Dogwood used to learn more about working with area organizations. Our mission is very compatible with the social determinants of health that Dogwood focuses on. Plus, Dogwood brings partners together which makes the impact of resources more powerful.”