The Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Inc. (The Council or COA) was incorporated as the Buncombe County Committee on Aging in 1964. In 1973, the name was changed to Buncombe County Council on Aging, and in 2003 the name was changed to The Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Inc.
Beginning in mid-2001, at the behest of county officials and The United Way, The Council began an in-depth restructuring process, culminating in a new mission statement (“dedicated to assisting and linking senior adults and their families with information, opportunities, and services that promote and enhance the quality of life), name change, board reorganization, and program development. During this time, the Resource Coordination and Seniors Safe At Home programs were developed. Since that time, the Council has re-written its Articles of Incorporation and by-laws and reduced the size of its governing membership from 30 to a range of 12-20 persons. The Council’s offices are now located in St. Giles Chapel at the Deerfield Retirement Community on Hendersonville Road in Asheville. This office space has been generously leased to the Council for the sum of one-dollar per year; the 2,000 square feet originally donated was increased to 2,350 square feet in 2008 to accommodate agency growth.
In July 2002, The Council contracted with Community Action Opportunities to provide assisted access to weatherization services for persons aged 60+ and some under age 60 disabled persons. In March 2006 the Council entered into a contractual agreement with National Church Residences of Ohio to provide Services Coordination in Senior Housing at the Battery Park Apartments; in August 2006 a contract with NCR for Services Coordination at the Vanderbilt Apartments was finalized. In July 2006, The Council created Project Continuum CARE (Coordinating Care to At-Risk Elderly) which provide care management to frail elderly released from the hospital, and in July 2007, Project EMMA (Eat better, Move More, Age well) brought exercise, local foods, and a gardening project to clients of congregate dining and senior housing. In September 2010 the Council entered into a contractual agreement with AccesIICare of WNC to continue Project Continuum CARE services. In November 2010, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation chose The COA as one of ten honorees to receive an award of $100,000 as part of the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary celebration; the funds are to be used to replicate Project EMMA and conduct advocacy work related to nutrition for older adults.
In June, 2006, the Council on Aging was recognized by the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County for its successful reorganization and program development over the past five years.
In August 2007 the Council entered into a contractual agreement with the Buncombe County Department of Social Services to manage access to the In Home Aide program. Beginning July 2008, those services are provided through HCCBG funding allocated directly to the Council. The Council continues to provide State In Home-funded aide services under contract with DSS (state funds which must be awarded to a government agency).
Beginning in 2010, The Council serves as the Collaborating Operating Entity (COE) for the Community Resources Connections (CRC) effort in Buncombe County (NC term for Aging and Disability Resource Centers – ADRC is national name). The Council also serves as the Local Contact Agency (LCA) for skilled nursing residents requesting to return to community living; both efforts receive funding from the state of North Carolina.
In September, 2010, The Council entered a contractual agreement with Access II Care of WNC to provide care management services (replacing grant funding from The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and assuring continued services). This contract changed in June of 2011 and provides funding for .5 Services Specialist for June 2011-August 2011.
As of June 2011, the COA interacts with approximately 3,500 persons aged 60 and older and their caregivers annually.
A professionally facilitated Strategic Planning process, funded by The Community Foundation of WNC, began in the Fall of 2009 and resulted in changes to the agency mission and vision statements, and the creation of six (6) major goals: (1) Grow Community Awareness, (2) Create Financial Diversity and Stability, (3) Develop and Support Board and Staff, (4) Pursue Strategic Partnerships, (5) Strengthen Current Programs, (6) Establish Direction for Strategic Growth.