Fast and direct economic assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


CARES Funding

Community Action Opportunities (CAO) is the Community Action Agency (CAA) designated to serve Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, McDowell, Polk and Transylvania counties with the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Act (CARES) was signed into law March 27, 2020. The purpose of the CARES Act is to provide fast and direct economic assistance for workers and families, small businesses and preserve jobs. Included in the CARES Act funding was $1 billion dollars to supplement CSBG.

North Carolina’s (NC) CSBG allocation is $26,243,124. The NC Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is the state office that administers the CSBG funding. OEO applied its standard formula to determine the allocation for the 33 CAAs in NC. CAO’s award is $952,913 to serve its six-county service area.


Project UPLIFT

Lifting up those impacted by COVID-19, through education, employment and emergency assistance.
Based on community needs, the focus of Project UPLIFT is on food security, shelter, crisis stabilization and self-sufficiency obtainment through education and employment to offset the impact of COVID-19. CAO will operate comprehensive case management services in Buncombe County and will operate emergency assistance through partnerships with community agencies in all six counties.


Employment and Case Management Support

A short-term program to help at least 50 individuals/families who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, who are living at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline for their household size, in completing a soft skills class and gaining full-time, living wage employment. Support will be provided to individuals/families for up to six months after gaining employment. Project UPLIFT will operate until September 2022, or until all funds have been utilized.



Do I qualify?
In order to qualify, individuals must have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
How do I apply?
Interested applicants should fill out this interest form (link).
Do I have to participate in the soft skill classes?
I already have a job. Can I still participate?
Potentially. If someone is under-employed, Project UPLIFT might be a good fit.
I have questions. Who can I call?
Please direct all questions to Alan Hackett, Project UPLIFT Coach, at 828.

Community Action Opportunities

25 Gaston Street

Asheville, NC 28801

Phone 828.252.2495

Fax 828.253.6319