Haywood County Community Blanket Drive through November

HAYWOOD COUNTY – For several years, the Waynesville Rotary Club has held a successful Blanket Drive before Christmas with the blankets and proceeds donated to Mountain Projects. In 2023, the Blanket Drive will be held throughout November.

Led by Waynesville Rotary and in collaboration with other Service Clubs, including Altrusa, Kiwanis, Lions Club Canton, Lions Club Clyde, and Haywood County and Sunrise Rotary Clubs, the service clubs generated more than 300 blankets in 2022. 

In 2023, the Rotary is inviting Haywood County banking institutions and credit unions to join the effort.  Mountain Credit Union, a bank that participated in the Drive last year, will participate again this holiday season. New participants include HomeTrust Bank, Waynesville and Clyde, United Community Bank, and WNC Community Credit Union.

There are three ways to participate and provide blankets to Mountain Projects:

(1) Blankets can be purchased and collected by the local Clubs/Institutions and then distributed to Mountain Projects by a representative of the organization.

(2) Blankets from individuals or groups can be delivered directly to Mountain Projects, 2177 Asheville Road, across the road from Junaluska Elementary School (In this instance, please let staff know the number and the source of the blanket(s).

(3) Blankets can be purchased on Amazon and shipped directly to Mountain Projects. Make sure the receipt includes “Blanket Drive” along with, the source of the blanket, whether a Service Club, Bank, Credit Union, or name or an individual. For example,                

Mountain Projects, Inc.
Blanket Drive — (Supporter/organization name)
2177 Asheville Road
Waynesville, North Carolina 28786

Cash donations for blanket purchases are welcomed by Mountain Projects. If you have any questions regarding business or organizational participation, please call Bill Allsbrook, Waynesville Rotary Club, at 828-734-4536.

 

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Mountain Projects Annual Report 2022-2023

Dear Friends of Mountain Projects,

Mountain Projects Community Action Agency is a non-profit organization that serves Haywood and Jackson County, NC. We help disadvantaged families, the elderly and others, by encouraging and supporting independence and self-sufficiency, and by providing assistance with emergencies and unmet basic human needs.

Founded in 1965, we have since grown to host 19 programs, with a staff of 140 and an annual budget of almost sixteen million dollars. We serve more than 15,000 people each year.

The following is our 2022-23 annual report. We are proud of our accomplishments and appreciate the support of our board, our organizational partners and the community, all of whom have made our work possible!

Sincerely,

Patsy Davis
Executive Director

View Mountain Projects 2022 – 2023 Annual Report here:  mp_annual_report_web

2023 Needs Survey / Encuesta de Necesidades 2023

 

IMPORTANT SURVEY – Mountain Projects’ funders require that we conduct an annual survey to understand the needs of the communities we serve. Please take a few minutes and answer these questions – your answers help our organization to secure and maintain services for the residents who need Mountain Projects assistance. THANK YOU!

Follow this link to participate:
https://us2.list-manage.com/survey?u=879932ac210374ab76bb3acaf&id=3a4f5a07c8

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ENCUESTA IMPORTANTE: los financiadores de Mountain Projects exigen que realicemos una encuesta anual para comprender las necesidades de las comunidades a las que servimos. Tómese unos minutos y responda estas preguntas; sus respuestas ayudan a nuestra organización a asegurar y mantener servicios para los residentes que necesitan la asistencia de Mountain Projects. ¡GRACIAS!

Sigue este enlace para participar: https://us2.list-manage.com/survey?u=879932ac210374ab76bb3acaf&id=85a05452a2

2023 SMHP Progress Report

Thrifting with Mountain Projects Resale

Written by Judy Dykes & Katie Ray

Every week, we volunteer at the Mountain Projects Resale Store. For several hours, we sort through, quite literally, mountains of donated clothes and household goods. We separate the gently-used and ready-to-sell from the served-its-time and must-be-recycled, and off and on, all morning, we open up bags and we find treasure. Three pairs of Talbots corduroy jeans in different fall colors. A beautiful hand-crafted pottery bowl. The cutest little black cocktail halter dress (if only we were 30 years younger). The perfect pair of trekking poles for hiking. And every time we find one of these treasures, we can’t wait to put it out on the floor where some lucky person who needs or wants just that can find it.

As anyone who shops in thrift stores knows, “thrifting” really is like going on a treasure hunt, but in addition to how much fun it is, there are other good reasons to shop in thrift stores.

First, thrifting is good for the environment. So many of us these days are trying to make greener, more sustainable choices. We carry our own bags to the grocery store, use cloth napkins instead of paper, and refill our water bottles when they’re empty. Whenever we can, we up-cycle, recycle, and re-use. And while many of us donate clothes and household goods we no longer want or need to local thrift stores, not nearly enough of us are shopping for things we need in those same stores. To be effective, the recycle equation needs people working both sides of it, contributing and consuming, because whatever doesn’t sell will eventually end up in a landfill.

Think of it this way. Thrifting is more about exploring possibilities than simply meeting needs, but once you’re committed to the principle of consumer recycling, shifting your shopping habits is not that hard to do. It may take a little patience and searching, but you don’t have to compromise excellent taste and quality to shop in a thrift store.

Finally, don’t forget that every time you purchase something in a thrift store, you support some local nonprofit organization that does a lot of good in our community and beyond. You can buy yourself a like-new LL Bean winter coat and make a donation at the same time—it’s a win-win situation!

So before you jump online to put in yet another order for something, why not jump in the car instead and head out to one of the many local thrift stores in Waynesville: Mountain Projects, Within Reach Resale Shop, Haywood Christian Ministry, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Second Seasons, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, to name just a few. In fact, grab a friend—or two or three—and make it date. Once a month, have lunch and visit as many of them as you can. After all, you never know what treasure might be waiting there for you!

 

Caption: Pictured here, Roxanne McCarthy, Katie Ray and Judy Dykes ALL wearing clothing and jewelry from the MP resale store.

 

 

 

Local Partnership To Make Impact On Regional Housing Needs

JACKSON COUNTY – A local partnership is poised to make a large impact on regional housing needs by providing new options for Jackson County seniors, low-to-middle-income families and business professionals.

Webster Village, a partnership between Givens Communities, Western Carolina University and Mountain Projects of Sylva, plans to create approximately 211-237 new housing units in Jackson County near the Webster community.

The collaborative project was able to go forward because of financial contributions from Dogwood Health Trust.

“Our regional housing needs are greater than any one agency can address,” said Patsy Davis, executive director of Mountain Projects. “Dogwood Health Trust has provided an opportunity for us to come together and meet a big challenge. We have a powerful concept and the right partners to make this project a success.”

“Safe, stable and affordable housing is key for overall health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “Dogwood Health Trust is honored and excited to play a role in this creative work by committed partners who are collaborating to make Jackson County truly feel like ‘home’ for seniors, low-income families and members of the workforce.” 

Givens Estates will play a lead role in the component of the partnership focused on seniors. 

“Studies of the Jackson County housing market have shown a significant demand for low-cost retirement communities,” said Teresa Stephens, Vice President of Givens Affordable Communities. “Independent older adult can thrive by the Givens model of housing with supported services.”

Webster Village is a highly creative project, set to play a positive role in three very different sectors of housing.

“This is a great example of the cooperative approaches that are taking place across our region to tackle big issues like affordable housing to help seniors age in place and offer a place to live for the workforce serving them and the community,” said Mims.

Stephens agreed. “We believe that by introducing this approach to Jackson County, we will be able to address some of the county’s most pressing housing challenges,” she said.

“Our participation in this project further illustrates Western Carolina University’s commitment to the economic well-being of our region and the lack of available housing that for all income segments in Western North Carolina has become increasingly alarming,” said WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown.

Preliminary site plans are for three housing clusters that will serve a broad range of residents. They are as follows:

  • Givens Communities plans to develop 120 senior living apartment units.
  • Mountain Projects plans to develop 35 single-family homes for low-to-moderate-income families.
  • Western Carolina University, or its designated partner, will develop 50-85 multi-family apartments, to include 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units, targeting adult working professionals and their families.

 WCU leadership is excited about the project and how it will help new professionals interested in locating in the region.

 “Together with our partners at Mountain Projects and Givens Communities, the Webster Village project will provide a central location for multi-income housing in Jackson County for senior citizens and valued members of the community’s workforce.” Brown said. “Our goal is to be part of a project that isn’t specific to only WCU faculty and staff, but one that provides opportunities for adult workers and families who are essential to the growth and sustainability of the region that we serve.”

 Patsy Davis, executive director of Mountain Projects of Sylva, agreed.

 “Each partner brings a unique perspective, and together we present a comprehensive approach with multi-income housing,” Davis said. “The demand for housing exists across all income levels and our approach addresses the housing needs of seniors, professionals and families who haven’t had the opportunity for home ownership.” 

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About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust exists to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities in the 18 counties and Qualla Boundary of Western North Carolina. Working with the community, grantees, partners, researchers and scholars, Dogwood Health Trust collaborates to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all.

Dogwood makes investments that serve the immediate and long-term needs of Western North Carolina. Through the sharing of resources, which includes funding and other investments such as capacity building, convening and advocacy, Dogwood is engaging the regional community to work towards its purpose to dramatically improve the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of Western North Carolina.

About Givens Communities

Givens has provided a rich, meaningful retirement community living for more than 40 years. Givens Estates in Asheville began in 1979 with low-income apartments for seniors and grew into a Life Plan Community with a full continuum of care. In 2007, Givens Great Laurels, 100 affordable senior apartments, opened in Waynesville, and in 2012, Givens acquired Highland Farms, also a Life Plan Community, in Black Mountain. From 2016-2018 Givens developed Gerber Park in South Asheville to provide 262 additional low- and moderate-income apartment homes with supportive services. 

The Givens Board of Directors has maintained a strong commitment to serving older adults of all income levels and the organization is partnering with Dogwood Health Trust and local stakeholders to help address the need for more than 10,000 units throughout Western North Carolina. Visionary leadership, a culture of service and giving back, and maintaining our values all contribute to the organization’s achievements, the most important of which is our residents living fully and enjoying life.

About Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University’s main campus is located in Cullowhee, just over 50 miles west of Asheville. Our 600-acre mountain campus is surrounded by one of the most biodiverse regions in the state that provides students unparalleled learning and adventure opportunities. Named the #1 Outdoor Adventure School, our Cullowhee campus’ proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides research and discovery access for a wide variety of programs.

About Mountain Projects of Sylva

Mountain Projects is a community action agency, founded in 1965 with offices in Waynesville and Sylva. Our programs work to address the root causes of poverty and we administer programs that result in economic independence and self-sufficiency for our clients. Our programs include Head Start, Smoky Mountain Housing Partnership, Haywood Transit, Haywood Senior Resource Center, GetCovered WNC Affordable Insurance Counseling, Mountain Strong WNC Substance Misuse Prevention, and the Haywood Senior Resource Center. From housing to healthcare counseling and from Pre-K education to public transportation, Mountain Projects works to make Haywood and Jackson Counties better places to live.

 

Mp_webster_master_plan.jpg: Webster Village is planned for a parcel located on Cloverdale Road, off of Little Savannah Road, near its intersection with NC116.

 

 

GetCovered WNC/Milltown Health Care Initiative

PRESS RELEASE – July 21, 2023 / Media Contact: Patsy Davis, pdavis@mountainprojects.org or 828-492-4124

GetCovered WNC/Milltown Health Care Initiative – providing relief for premium costs and expert help on getting health insurance

Canton, N.C. – A program to assist those who have lost health insurance due to the closure of Pactiv Evergreen is well underway thanks to a joint effort between Mountain Projects, United Way of Haywood County, and Haywood County government.

Through funding support from Dogwood Health Trust, former mill workers, or those downsized in other businesses because of the Pactiv Evergreen closure, can receive assistance from Mountain Projects’ certified application counselors to help find healthcare coverage that’s right for them and their family members. Workers may also receive up to $500 per family member per month as reimbursement for health insurance premiums.

Jan Plummer from Mountain Projects has been leading the effort to let mill employees know of health insurance options. “We are seeing more and more folks coming through, now that the reality of the mill closure is setting in,” she said. “We are here to listen, answer questions, provide information, and walk everyone through health insurance options that are available to them. Having funding to assist with costly premiums is a huge relief to many who are facing the sticker shock of coverage costs.”
Certified Application Counselors at Mountain Projects are experienced in wading through the complexities of insurance options. United Way of Haywood County will disburse funds to assist with premium cost reimbursement. The reimbursements are non-taxable and are available to displaced workers for coverage costs that occur July 2023 through December 2023.

“We’re very pleased to have this program up and running quickly. There is an urgency to the help we want to provide because employer-sponsored insurance for most Pactiv Evergreen workers runs out at the end of July. We encourage everyone to explore their options and don’t delay the decision to stay covered,” said Celesa Willett, executive director of United Way of Haywood County. “A lapse in coverage can be financially devastating and discourages folks from seeking the care they might need for themselves or their families.”

For more information about the GetCovered WNC/Milltown Health Care Initiative visit:

Get Covered WNC – GetCoveredWNC or Losing Your Health Insurance And Don’t Know What To Do? Get Help NOW! | Mill Town Strong

Appointments can be scheduled online at https://calendly.com/mpinc between 8am -5pm, Monday – Thursday; Or workers can call Mountain Projects – 828-452-1447 to schedule an appointment by phone.

Online applications are available at MountainProjects.org.

For other inquiries, contact Celesa Willett, United Way of Haywood County by email cwillett@uwhaywood.org or by phone, 828-356-2832.

Dislocated workers can get $500 per family member to help with insurance

By Vicki Hyatt, the Mountaineer

Thanks to a $1 million grant from Dogwood Health Trust, those without health insurance due to the Pactiv Evergreen mill closure have some stop-gap answers.

With the company insurance coverage paid for by Pactiv Evergreen through July 31 for workers who sign up under COBRA, those unable to find another job immediately or who have to wait until they are eligible for insurance at their new job can receive up to $500 per family member to defray the policy cost.

To read more, follow the following link: https://www.themountaineer.com/news/dislocated-workers-can-get-500-per-family-member-to-help-with-insurance/article_dbe218b0-0e1b-11ee-aa52-efcefe339c57.html

Transitioning from Medicaid to Marketplace Coverage in 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2023

Mountain Projects
2177 Asheville Road
Waynesville, NC 28786

Press Contacts: Executive Director, Patsy Davis, pdavis@mountainprojects.org, 828-452-1447
Program Manager, Jan Plummer, jplummer@mountainprojects.org, 828-499-3222

Transitioning from Medicaid to Marketplace Coverage in 2023

The process of termination (unwinding) of Medicaid coverage for those enrolled in the program because of the Covid Public Health Emergency begins on April 1, 2023.

The Department of Health and Human Services began evaluating eligibility of enrolled recipients on February 1, reviewing household monthly income, age, employment status, and changes in family size. As a result, many people will discover they are no longer eligible for full Medicaid coverage. Consumers are therefore strongly encouraged to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Healthcare.gov, where insurance plans are available. Most people can qualify for a plan that costs less than $10 a month.

If you need help, Mountain Projects has expert insurance counselors on staff to help create an account, navigate the application, and determine eligibility for tax credits, all at no charge. This program is called GetCoveredWNC. Appointments can be made by calling (828) 452-1447.

The “unwinding” of Medicaid will not happen all at once. NCDHHS has 14 months to complete the recertification process. There are an estimated 300,000 North Carolinians who could lose their Medicaid between March 31, 2023 and July 31, 2024. DSS workers will be referring consumers to organizations like Mountain Projects to check their eligibility for Marketplace plans on healthcare.gov.

Persons losing Medicaid will begin receiving notices as early as February and should contact Mountain Projects’ GetCoveredWNC counselors to create an account on Healthcare.gov in advance of April 1st, 2023 to avoid a lapse in coverage when their Medicaid ends.

A person who loses Medicaid may be eligible for $0 monthly premiums on the Health Insurance Marketplace. (MP) The MP cannot turn someone away because of preexisting conditions; and plans cover the majority of services that Medicaid covers.

The Mountain Projects team of Certified Application Counselors is available to screen and enroll consumers in all seven counties of Western NC and the Qualla Boundary throughout the unwinding phase.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

People who lose Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage any time between March 31, 2023 and July 31, 2024 will be eligible for a Marketplace SEP. After a person is deemed eligible for the Marketplace subsidies, they will have 60 days to choose a plan, and their coverage will start the first day of the month after they choose a plan.

This opportunity allows people who lose Medicaid or CHIP to get enrolled anytime between March 31, 2023 and July 31, 2024, no matter when their Medicaid ended.

The SEP is triggered when someone answers “yes” to the application questions asking if their Medicaid/CHIP coverage ended recently or will end soon. People will not be required to supply documentation to verify their loss of Medicaid/CHIP.

Contact Certified Application Counselors by County:

In Haywood County: Jane Harrison, Vicky Gribble and Jan Plummer, Coordinator: 828 452-1447 at Mountain Projects, Inc. 2177 Asheville Road Waynesville, NC 28786

In Jackson County: Marilyn Tollie (bilingual assistance in all counties) 828 550-3686; and Susan Rose: 828 476-9194 located at 154-B Medical Park Loop, Sylva, NC 28779

In Swain and Graham Counties: Linda Fitzsimmons: 828 550-7908

In Macon County: Cynthia Solesbee: 828-400-4177

In Clay and Cherokee Counties: Linda Curtis-Palmieri: 828 400-3149

Appointments are available in-person, by phone, or by video call.

GetCovered WNC, a program of Mountain Projects is supported by the Haywood Healthcare Foundation for Haywood County, The Dogwood Health Trust and The Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust.

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