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Resources still available for those dealing with lingering impacts of pandemic

SALISBURY — Although COVID-19 cases have continued to trend down, the pandemic is still impacting the lives of Rowan County residents.

“I have more cases than I can keep up with,” said Maj. Karl Dahlin of the Salvation Army of Rowan County.

Those cases, Dahlin said, include people with needs that are not COVID-19 related. A significant portion of those cases are people who have fallen behind financially as a result of the pandemic. To help those people, the Salvation Army still has a limited amount of funding left for rent and utility assistance.

“If they had pandemic unemployment, if they lost their job because of COVID, if someone in their household died because of COVID and they have medical bills, or they lost time at work because of COVID because their restaurant had to shut down or they had to quarantine, if they can answer any one of those four questions, there’s additional funding available,” Dahlin said.

Dahlin said the Salvation Army has $1,900 remaining to provide rent assistance and $5,000 remaining to provide help with utilities. That equates to about three more cases of rent assistance and 30 more cases of utility assistance. The money for those programs is leftover from funding the organization received from local sources and the federal government.

To apply for the rent or utility assistance and to view a full list of qualifications, go to salvationarmycarolinas.org/salisbury/ online. Applications can also be filled out in person at the Salvation Army’s office at 620 Bringle Ferry Road.

Dahlin said the funding for rent and utility assistance will expire in October. So, he is encouraging people who need help to apply for it as soon as possible.

“Once money is gone, it is gone,” Dahlin said. “It won’t be renewed.”

The Salvation Army is also still offering its drive-thru food pantry for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pantry is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon by appointment if possible. Appointments can be made by calling 704-636-6491.

Another source of relief for those impacted by the pandemic is the NC HOPE program, which provides rent and utility assistance to low-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Funding for the initial round of the NC HOPE program was extinguished several months ago, forcing the state to shut down the program. However, an injection of additional funding allowed the state to revive the program earlier this month.

Eligible applicants may receive up to 12 months of rent assistance through NC HOPE, which may include up to nine months of past due rent. The program covers utilities up to a maximum monetary amount — $510 for electricity, $135 for natural gas, $105 for water and $120 for wastewater.

Rowan Helping Ministries was a distributor of HOPE funding during the first round of the program, but is not distributing money this round. Instead, those in need of assistance should visit rebuild.nc.gov/hope-program/apply to learn more and apply.

Rowan Helping Ministries is still offering other forms of support to those impacted by COVID-19 through its Crisis Assistance Network. 

“The (COVID-19) outbreak actually happened in March, but people have been trying to play catch up and catch up and got to the point where they couldn’t keep up anymore,” said Kristine Wiles, the director of Crisis Assistance and Food Operations at Rowan Helping Ministries.

To be eligible to receive funding from Rowan Helping Ministries’ crisis network, someone must simply have gone through a crisis.

Basically the qualifications are that they had some kind of crisis that prevented them from paying their bills, could be out of work, could’ve gotten injured,” Wiles said. “We’re looking for what caused you to fall behind. It could be COVID related.”

Crisis assistance funding from Rowan Helping Ministries can be used to cover payments for rent, utilities, medication, emergency medical procedures and more.

Wiles said people should go to the organization’s website at www.rowanhelpingministries.org , email crisisteam@rowanhelpingministries.org, or call 704-637-6838 for more information about the crisis assistance program. A follow-up interview with applicants will be conducted before assistance is distributed. All interviews are currently being conducted via phone.

Rowan Helping Ministries is still providing meals to those who need them at Jeannie’s Kitchen everyday from noon-1 p.m. Meals are currently being distributed in carry out boxes, except for those who are currently being sheltered. Jeannie’s Kitchen is located at 217 N. Long St.

Rowan Helping Ministries is offering housing assistance to those who are currently homeless. Wiles said there is currently a wait list for family units. More information can be found by calling 704-637-6838 or online at rowanhelpingministries.org.

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