During this unprecedented health emergency created by the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Pisgah Legal is committed to continuing to serve our clients.
We want you to know about community resources that are available, and we encourage our other nonprofit partners to share news with us as well.
We have put together a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on housing, foreclosures, safety from abuse, unemployment insurance, returning to work, utilities and consumer debt during COVID-19.
These pages will be updated as new information comes in. These FAQs are not to be considered legal advice, if you need assistance, please apply online or call our number at 1-800-489-6144.
Informational videos on unemployment benefits, what renters need to know, accessing health insurance and more. Please check this page regularly as we will continue to upload new videos.
Please check this Resources page periodically as we will be updating it regularly.
Resources for you to monitor the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic:
- CDC – Novel Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions
- World Health Organization – Coronavirus
- Buncombe County Health and Human Services: 828-250-5500
- Buncombe County COVID Information and Preparedness
- North Carolina Health and Human Services
- Sign up for COVID Alerts from Buncombe County: Text the word BCALERT to the number 888777.
- Sign up for COVID Alerts from North Carolina. Text COVIDNC to 898211 for updates and information.
- The U.S.Dept. of Health & Human Services released a statement regarding Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections during COVID-19 and guidance for people (including those with I/DD) who may need assistance while in a hospital. It states “For individuals with a cognitive impairment or intellectual disability, it is important to ensure the individual has adequate support for decision making and treatment. These individuals may need to have a caregiver accompany them in either the ambulance or in the hospital. Accompaniment should be allowed in accordance with the guidance” listed in the bulletin. Read the full bulletin. For further reading, check out an article in the The Charlotte Observer about a mom and her son that drew attention to this issue.
How and where to apply for Unemployment, FMLA, Emergency Leave and Safe Working Conditions
- IMPORTANT UPDATE: Beginning Friday, May 22, North Carolinians who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance benefits can apply for an extension of benefits through the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC).More information and FAQs about PEUC can be found at des.nc.gov or read the full press release. For help filing a claim for PEUC, call the Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259.
2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and resources are available in most languages
Asheville City & Buncombe County School meal pickup locations,
MANNA food box pickups, etc.
United Way has compiled a Buncombe County Food Resource Calendar
with school meal pickups, meal pickups, food boxes and more.
Please check back for updates.
Daily schedules for local Community Tables distribution of to-go boxes of food.
ART bus service is currently fare-free during the COVID response period. Anyone at any stop can get on a bus and go where they need to go without payment. Public health officials strongly encourage that our community limit travel to only necessary medical appointments and errands that help to fulfill basic needs. Read more here
Mental Health Services, Domestic & Sexual Abuse Survivor Services,
Substance Use Recovery Supports
Local agency/nonprofit schedules and procedures for providing services
during the COVID response period.
Avery, Buncombe, Hendersonville, Jackson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Macon, Rutherford, Transylvania, Yancey
Have you lost your health insurance or experienced a major life change due to the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you unlock a 60- day window to apply for coverage through the health insurance marketplace (ACA). Talk to a Health Justice team member to find out your health coverage options.
Thanks to our partners at NC Justice for this information
Provided in English and Espanol
Beginning Friday, May 22, North Carolinians who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance benefits can apply for an extension of benefits through the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC).
MANNA Food Bank: Food Hotline: 1-800-820-1109
SAMHSA operates a Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990. It is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.
Utility Information/Business Services
Governor Roy Cooper announced an order directing all electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities operating in the state to suspend service shutoffs, late payment fees, and reconnection fees to assist families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asheville Water Resources will suspend all water account disconnections due to non-payment of City of Asheville combined utility bills. For more information call 251-1122.
Duke Energy has suspended disconnects for nonpayment – home and business accounts.
Charter Spectrum is offering free services to new customers and free wifi hotspots: https://www.spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots.html
Legal and Economic Assistance
Know Your Rights: Your Employment and COVID: Facts from NC Justice Center on paid leave, unemployment insurance, and safe work.
WARNING: Social Security Scam Alert: The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19 or coronavirus-related office closures. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not suspend or discontinue benefits because their offices are closed. Read information on what you need to know about Medicaid during the COVID crisis.
USBG National Charity Foundation is for service industry professionals needing extra assistance during and after the COVID-19 response period.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will temporarily suspend “all foreclosures and evictions” amid the coronavirus crisis for at least 60 days. Read more here.
Pisgah Legal has temporarily suspended its volunteer-run free tax service. To file your taxes online, check out Myfreetaxes.com or search for an authorized IRS E-File Provider. The tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, and the IRS will waive interest and penalty charges for 90 days for Americans who owe up to $1 million in taxes.
Pisgah Legal is offering free access to the digital edition of Surviving Debt: Expert Advice For Getting Out of Financial Trouble, National Consumer Law Center’s most comprehensive guide to navigating debt for consumers and consumer advocates.
How to support local businesses, updated unemployment information,
A list of government and nonprofit agencies providing financial assistance.
Financial assistance for employees and business owners affected by COVID-19
News From the Courts and Local Government
- Chief Justice Beasley Issues Order Postponing Court Proceedings Until June 1, 2020
- As of March 16, emergency domestic violence proceedings are still occurring.
- Continues to direct clerks of court to post notices at court facilities discouraging entry by those infected with COVID-19
- Authorizes court proceedings to be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions
- Directs attorneys and others without business before the court to avoid court facilities
- Allows use of a sworn statement under penalty of perjury rather than notarization for court filings and oaths
- Allows service of court documents by email
- Extends the deadline for payment of most fines and fees by 90 days and directs clerks not to report failures to pay court debt to the DMV.
- The NC Judicial Branch has notified us that all eviction hearings and foreclosure hearings must be continued for 30 days effective March 16, 2020. This means that cases will not be heard until April 16 at the very earliest, but we do not know yet exactly when they will be heard or how parties will be informed.It is important to understand that this decision by the courts is a social distancing measure, not an eviction or foreclosure prevention measure, and that these evictions and foreclosures have not been cancelled.
- Beginning Wednesday, March 18th, the Register of Deeds office will be closed to the public during the remainder of this State of Emergency. We strongly encourage all documents to be electronically recorded. In an effort to help with this transition our eRecording vendor, Simplifile, has agreed to waive all startup fees and annual costs throughout the State of Emergency. Those who mail in documents or eRecord will not see any change in operations. Info on how to utilize the in-person drop box.
- Any court documents due to be filed with the court between March 16 and April 17 can be filed anytime before the end of business on April 17th.