Life Works is a map and compass for young adults juggling family, school, work and other issues. Our team can work with you on everything from child care to career counseling, financial assistance to housing.
Who is eligible for Life Works?
First, individuals/families have to be living at or below 125% of the federal poverty guideline for their household size. A household is defined by all members who are related by blood or marriage living within one home. All of the income for all of the family members in the household must be submitted. Many of our families are homeless when they come into the program, so if you have questions about the household definition give us a call and we can discuss the situation. Our Life Works Coaches are experts at determining if someone meets the income guidelines, so we encourage everyone who thinks they might be eligible to apply.
Second, at least one family member has to be ready for full-time, living wage work. We are here to help move people out of poverty long-term and build wealth, and that can’t happen without a stable income.
Third, individuals have to be ready and able to work in partnership with their Life Works Coach long-term. Our program requires all participants to submit documentation on an ongoing basis and to stay in close contact for the duration of the program.
I am just a single person/ I am homeless/ I already have a job/ I don’t have a job/ I’m 17 and living on my own. Can I apply?
Yes! The following criteria have no bearing on eligibility: housing status, family composition, employment status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national background/immigration status, criminal background, training/education level, involvement with DSS, or age (as long as individuals are 16 or over).
I put in an application. Now what?
After applying, the next step is to attend an Information Session. This session is typically a group meeting but sometimes the Information Session will take place one-on-one with a Life Works Coach. If you have questions about the application process, or if you applied and you haven’t heard back from our team about next steps after a couple of weeks, please feel free to call us: 828.252.2495.
Can you help me get a car?
We are a referring agency to Working Wheels. At this time, we are allowed to make 4 referrals to Working Wheels per calendar year. In order for us to make this referral, someone must meet both Life Works and Working Wheels guidelines:
• Working full-time (must have paystubs to document this).
• In the Life Works Program for at least 6 months.
• Have a balanced budget and demonstrated ability to maintain a vehicle.
• Have a North Carolina driver’s license.
• Owe no money to the DMV or N.C. Tag offices.
• Have no other vehicle in the home AND no other vehicle registered to anyone in the home.
Can you help me pay my rent/get a place to live?
We are not a walk-in bill pay agency. If you need help paying your rent immediately, please give us a call and we can refer you to other community resources that might be able to help you. You can also call your local 211 for resources. For individuals/families already enrolled in the Life Works program, we provide a great deal of support surrounding housing needs. We know cost of living is high and that it is tough to find an affordable place to live.
We understand the barriers many people face when they try to apply for housing (having a low credit score or a criminal record, for example). We believe in the Housing First Model (check out this link for more info), so we work hard to try to help people in our program reach their housing goals.
We also have funds to help individuals/families enrolled in Life Works with attaining and maintaining stability. These funds are used to help people eliminate barriers that are preventing them from moving forward, so sometimes that might include payments toward rent. Use of funds must be planned ahead of time with a Life Works Coach, is dependent on agency approval and is never guaranteed.
So, Life Works has funds to help pay for things?
Yes. When someone is enrolled in the Life Works program, they gain access to two extremely valuable resources: a Life Works Coach (which we believe is the most important resource) and funds (which we call direct assistance). These funds are only available to individuals/families enrolled in Life Works and they are never paid to an individual/family. Instead, they are used to help people move forward and reach their employment goals. Some examples of ways we have used funds in the past include paying for:
Gas so someone can get to an interview
Work clothes or tools so someone can start a new job
A month of childcare so someone can begin working
Car repairs so someone can keep a job
Tuition for education/training
In order to receive direct assistance, an individual must be in compliance with the program agreement (must be up to date on all documentation, in consistent communication with their Life Works Coach and must be actively progressing on their goals). Use of funds must be planned ahead of time with a Life Works Coach, is dependent on agency approval and is never guaranteed.
I applied for the program before. Can I reapply?
Yes! We welcome people to apply again if something came up the last time they applied. Life is complicated and we understand. Please note there is a six-month waiting period from the date a file was closed until that individual is eligible to reapply. If you have questions about this date, please give us a call.
I was in the program before. Can I reapply?
Yes! Individuals can be in the program twice. The first time, they can be in the program up to three years (and in some cases, up to five years). The second time, they can be in the program for 18 months. We have limited resources and we want to be able to help as many people as we can, so while space and time is limited we welcome you to apply again. Please note there is a six-month waiting period from the date a file was closed until that individual is eligible to reapply. If you have questions about this date, please give us a call.
It sounds like you have a lot of rules. I’m intimidated and I don’t know if I want to apply. Do you ever make exceptions?
Asking for help is TOUGH. We are here to help! Our Life Works Coaches are really passionate about being here for people when they need us. Give us a call and we will try to provide you with any and all information we have. We are happy to answer questions and we don’t want people to feel intimidated. Often, people come to us when they are in a really low place and we want them to feel as comfortable as possible.
On very rare occasions, depending on the situation, we can make exceptions to some of our program guidelines. Some rules are set by federal and state mandates; for those rules there is no wiggle room. We work really hard to be ethical, fair and understanding in how we work with people.
I am not happy with how something was handled with the Life Works Program. Who can I talk to?
First, we are really sorry to hear. We are here to listen and we value your feedback. If we don’t know something is wrong, we can’t fix it. If the issue was with your Life Works Coach, depending on the situation we might request you speak to them directly. This can be tough but our Coaches are very skilled at receiving feedback. We aim to create a space where you can talk about your concerns openly. If speaking directly to your Life Works Coach is not an option or if the issue was not with a Life Works Coach, you can speak to our Program Manager: 828.210.0601. If the issue does not get resolved at that time, we can provide you with additional contacts which we hope will be more helpful.