Resident Resources

We are a strong community that looks out for one another. We will continue to find ways to support our neighbors. We have curated the information below to help residents find the most relevant resources. Staff are available by phone at 828-695-4300 for anyone who is in need of assistance. If you have any concerns about your City services, please let us know. If you have a question and you don’t know who to ask, call us. We are here to support you.

Vaccine rollout under way

As the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) moves into Phase 1B of its statewide COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, Catawba County residents who are 75 and older and are not residing in a long-term care facility will soon be able to make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Catawba County residents age 75 and older may schedule an appointment for vaccination one of the following ways:

  • Patients of Catawba Valley Medical Group (CVMG) can check the website https://www.catawbavalleyhealth.org/ or call the Catawba Valley Health System Vaccine Line at 828-326-3993 for vaccine information. CVMG vaccination administration will begin the week of January 11.
  • Individuals who have an independently-owned provider, do not have a regular medical provider or prefer to receive the vaccination through Public Health may call Catawba County Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Line at 828-695-6650 to set up an appointment. The appointment line will be available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning January 5.

When an appointment is made, callers will be provided with the date, time and location of their appointment. Individuals will also be advised on what information they may need to bring with them to their appointment. There is currently no cost to the patient when receiving COVID-19 vaccine through Public Health. Appointments are only for Catawba County residents.

Because the COVID-19 vaccine requires two shots that are spaced several weeks apart, an appointment for a person’s second vaccination will be scheduled when they receive their first shot.

Long-term care residents and staff, including residents age 75 and older, are in the state’s Phase 1A and are currently receiving vaccinations through a federal vaccination partnership with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. People living and working in these facilities are being contacted by facility administrators to schedule their appointments.

Catawba County Public Health and both local hospital systems are currently providing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine met all U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements, including testing for safety, before being approved for use. The vaccine has proven to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection and does not contain any COVID-19.

Catawba County Public Health and local hospitals are continuing to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals identified in Phase 1A of the state’s rollout plan. This priority group includes frontline health care workers at most risk of direct exposure to COVID-19. People in this group who are eligible to receive the vaccine are being contacted by their employers to schedule their appointments.

Because the COVID-19 vaccine is currently available in limited supplies, the state’s rollout plan prioritizes vaccination for people who are highest risk of exposure or severe complications. As more vaccine is produced, the state’s plan will include more residents and involve more vaccination providers in phases.

As the plan progresses, Catawba County Public Health and other local vaccine providers will share information about when residents identified in each phase will be eligible to make appointments for vaccination and how those appointments can be made. Eventually, as more vaccine becomes available, everyone in Catawba County will have an opportunity to get vaccinated.

“We urge all Catawba County residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when the time comes,” said Catawba County Public Health Director Jennifer McCracken. “This vaccine has been proven to be both safe and effective, which will help save lives and return our community back to normal.”

For comprehensive, current information about COVID-19 in Catawba County, visit the “Current COVID-19 Info” page at www.catawbacountync.gov.

Rent and utility assistance

Applications are now being accepted for the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program, which will assist eligible low- and- moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program seeks to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections.

The HOPE Program will provide $117 million for rent and utility assistance for renters who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have a current household income that is 80 percent of the area median income or lower, and are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply. 

Renters who need rent or utility assistance can apply online at nc211.org/hope. Applicants who cannot access the online application can also call 2-1-1 and speak with a program representative, who will assist the caller through the application on the phone. Callers can reach 2-1-1 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The HOPE Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds, which have been provided to North Carolina. The funds are administered by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety, and will be distributed through community partner agencies across the state.

Renters can apply for utility assistance, rent assistance or both programs. Rent assistance is paid to the landlord on behalf of the applicant. This includes overdue and future rent payments, for up to six months. At least one month’s rent must be overdue at the time of application.

Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider for up to six months of past due essential utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane. For more information about the HOPE Program, visit nc211.org/hope.

COVID-19 Relief Program

Families or individuals experiencing a financial hardship with paying their mortgage, rent, utilities or other expense due to the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for financial assistance through the COVID-19 Relief Program. Applications will be available through Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) beginning July 1, 2020.

To be eligible for assistance, applicants must have experienced one or more of the following hardships resulting from COVID-19: job loss, wage reduction, illness, other household impact, childcare challenges, or unable to find employment if working prior to February 29, 2020. Applicants must be residents of Catawba County.

When applying, residents will be required to provide identification (such as a driver’s license), income verification for the past 30 days, verification of job loss or income loss, benefit award letters, alimony/child support letters, Section 8 verification, current bill(s), bank statements (checking and savings), and mortgage or rent documents.

Starting July 1, residents may apply online at www.ecccm.org/covid or in person at ECCCM, which is located at 245 East N Street in Newton. No appointment is required. For more information about the program, call ECCCM at (828) 465-1702.

Funding for the COVID-19 Relief Program is provided by a Community Services Block Grant from the North Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity. A one-time allocation of $312,316 was awarded to Catawba County Social Services, the county’s designated Community Action Agency, for the establishment of an emergency COVID-19 relief program. The program is administered by Social Services in partnership with ECCCM.

Find a testing location

To visit a public website that allows people to input their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online, click here.

With more community spread happening in Catawba County and across the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now recommending that more people get tested for COVID-19.

Recommendations from public health officials include:

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.
  • Wait six feet apart from other people. Avoid close contact.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Increased testing, including for those without noticeable symptoms, and adherence to control measures like self-isolation and quarantine are important to stopping the spread of COVID-19 across Catawba County.

Diagnostic testing is now recommended for:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms.
  • Populations with higher risk of exposure or a higher risk of severe disease if they become infected, if they believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms. 
  • People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others. Testing should be considered for people who      attended such events, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing.

Diagnostic testing is now widely available in Catawba County through primary care providers, urgent cares and is beginning to be offered statewide in some pharmacies. Catawba County Public Health is also offering testing primarily for individuals who are uninsured or who do not have ready access to healthcare elsewhere.

Catawba County United Way
The Catawba County United Way provides an up-to-date list of resources available in our community. Learn more. Find information concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visit www.nc211.org, the United Way's community service resource help line and website.

Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry
ECCCM has made operational adjustments to best serve our community. As with any crisis, households may have a need of assistance with food. They have several hunger relief programs with which they can assist clients, depending on their needs. Any Catawba County household with students in K-12 in Newton-Conover City Schools or Catawba County Schools is welcome to apply for the Student Hunger Prevention Program. For this particular program only, applications may be made online at www.ecccm.org.

ECCCM is prepared to assist all persons when needs arise with utilities, rent, mortgage, clothing, transportation, or even life-necessary pharmaceuticals. ECCCM is positioned to provide these services in addition to hunger programs. Their website, www.ecccm.org has a detailed list of what is required for the interview process. Please make sure you have the required documents in hand when you go to ECCCM for an interview.

ECCCM has designed new and safer means of applying for food assistance. Beginning  March 30, those in need of food assistance due to lay-offs or shortened work hours due to coronavirus (COVID-19) may call 828-465-1702 and ask to complete a food application via telephone. By the time applicants come for their first pickup at the food pantry drive-thru, ECCCM will have paperwork ready to be signed, and a food card will be issued.  A staff member or volunteer will deliver food to the client’s car. After the initial pickup, clients will go through the food pantry drive-thru and present their card for subsequent pickups. ECCCM hopes this streamlined process will be a blessing to those affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) while helping ECCCM staff maintain social distance.

When needs increase in our community, so does the need for ECCCM’s services. This extends to the need for additional support from people who want to help those less fortunate. If you are able to help ECCCM assist our community, please go to www.ecccm.org and click Donate Now.

Texting tool to access food for children
Parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

After entering their address, parents will receive a text with the location and serving times for nearby pick-up and drive-thru free meal sites while schools are closed. Sites have been set up across the state for families with children ages 18 and younger, including preschool children, who rely on free and reduced-price meals at school.

Unemployment claim information
The Division of Employment Security is implementing new federal unemployment assistance programs. Anyone who filed a claim due to coronavirus (COVID-19) before this legislation may still be eligible for these benefits. If any benefits are owed for a week previously claimed, payment will be made retroactively.

Independent contractors and self-employed workers are not typically eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, these individuals may qualify for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance available as a result of COVID-19. The Division of Employment Security is awaiting guidance from the federal government to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

For more information and to file a claim, click here.

Avoiding coronavirus (COVID-19) scams
Here are some helpful tips from the Newton Police Department to avoid coronavirus (COVID-19) scams:

  • Do not purchase items that purport to cure COVID-19. Currently there are no vaccines, pills, drinks, lotions or any other product available on the market that can treat or cure COVID-19.
  • Do not click on links or reply to texts from unknown sources as they may download malware and viruses to computers or devices.
  • Instead of clicking on links in emails claiming to be from trusted public health agencies, go directly to websites for the NC Department of Health and Human Services (www.ncdhhs.gov), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), and the World Health Organization (www.who.int) to obtain information.
  • When it comes to donations, do not let a scammer rush you into making a donation. Instead, take the time to do extensive research online. A guide to opportunities to help is available at www.newtonnc.gov/coronavirus/help.
  • Do not make a donation in cash, via gift card, or a wire transfer, and do not provide your banking information or debit card numbers.

The Federal Trade Commission offers additional helpful tips to help you avoid scammers. Learn more.

Stay alert. Protect yourself from scams and report the fraud. Call the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or email NCDF at disaster@leo.gov to make a report.