Welcome To Swain County

Social Services

Emergency Assistance


Swain County Department of Social Services offers several programs that assist with the high cost of heating or cooling your home. Everyone has the right to apply and all programs have eligibility requirements.

Low Income Energy Assistance

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally Funded Program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Only households containing an elderly person age 60 and above or disabled persons receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) are eligible to potentially receive benefits from December 1st through December 31st or until funds are exhausted. Any household can potentially receive benefits from January I through March 31 or until funds are exhausted.

A household that applies must:

  • Have at least one US. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Have reserves at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for its heating bills

Crisis Intervention Program

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a Federally Funded program that provides assistance to eligible households that are in a heating or cooling related emergency. The goal of the CIP program is to help families stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By doing so, this reduces the risk of health and safety problems such as illness, fire, or eviction. Benefits may vary based upon the amount needed to alleviate the crisis. An eligible household may receive assistance more than one time during the State Fiscal Year (July through June).

The maximum allowed benefit amount can be up to $600 per application, per crisis situation; however, benefits cannot exceed $600 per State fiscal year. All payments are made directly to the vendor.

A household that applies must:

  • Have at least one U.S. Citizen or a non-citizen who meets certain eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Be in a heating or cooling related emergency

Duke Energy Assistance Programs

Duke Energy provides Swain County residents with several programs that help supplement the cost of electric bills during the summer and winter months. This funding is offered through various grants and customer donations and is used for heating and cooling emergencies. Please contact Swain County Department of Social Services for more information.

Emergency Assistance

Swain County Department of Social Services has developed a single portal of entry process that insures an applicant will only have to tell their story one time. The Intake Caseworker will perform an overall needs assessment of each person. The goal is to establish what type of assistance will best suit the individual and will alleviate their crisis. The Caseworker will then determine eligibility for available agency resources. Swain County Department of Social Services oversees the distribution of Emergency Assistance funds as they become available to our community. These funds are for individuals and families in a short-term financial crisis due to unexpected circumstances.

Guidelines for Emergency Assistance:

  • Must be a Swain County resident
  • Must meet eligibility guidelines
  • Must be in crisis

Programs Provide Assistance for:

  • Electric Bills
  • Deposits
  • Fuel Oil
  • Kerosene
  • Propane
  • Firewood
  • Water
  • Heaters
  • Approved Prescription Medication

Local Food Resources

  • Swain County Family Resource Center (828)488-7505 distributes various food items weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning at 10:30am. Please call for more information
  • MANNA Food Distribution through Victory Baptist Church (828)488-6717. Please call the church for more information
  • Cherokee Compassionate Ministries (828) 497-2819
  • Grace Christian Academy (828) 488-6717
  • Bryson City Presbyterian Church (828) 488-2480
  • Living Waters Food Pantry (916) 868-4372


Department of Social Services
80 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Mailing Address
PO Box 610
Bryson City, NC 28713


Sheila Sutton, Director
Phone 828-488-6921
Fax 828-488-8271

Office Hours