Last Updated on November 7, 2022 2:58 pm
(Raleigh, N.C.) – WAMY Community Action is a bedrock anti-poverty agency helping less advantaged people in North Carolina’s high country, but the current state of the economy makes its mission financially challenging. State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, found some money in the state coffers belonging to the nonprofit, and was in Boone on Thursday, Nov. 3, to return the missing funds.
WAMY Community Action is an outgrowth of the 1960s War on Poverty. It serves Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties through housing and weatherization assistance, food and nutrition programs, family and youth development services.
The Department of State Treasurer’s (DST) Unclaimed Property Division (UPD), commonly called NCCash.com, is the repository for 17.7 million properties valued at $1.02 billion under DST’s custody awaiting return to the rightful owners after being lost, misdirected or overlooked. More than 19 million owners are associated with those properties being safeguarded by DST.
During a review of data in the system UPD staff identified $8,716.27 belonging to WAMY.
“WAMY Community Action is emblematic of North Carolinians’ heartfelt desire to assist those coping with low and fixed incomes to make ends meet. The hardworking staff and volunteers served more than 1,600 families last year, and performed more than 65 home repairs. That number grows every year,” Treasurer Folwell said. “It is a rewarding experience knowing that we are reuniting them with their own money to help them help their friends and neighbors in need.”
“It was such a surprise and an exciting moment to hear they were coming. Receiving that money from the North Carolina State Treasurer was just wonderful. I feel like they’re doing a great job getting the money to where it belongs,” said Allison Jennings, WAMY development director. She said the money being returned to the agency will be put to immediate use.
“We’re going to be able to offer lots of home repairs here in the community and continue fighting poverty. A lot of our funding right now is used for home repairs because people can hardly afford to buy an affordable home. A lot of times our grant funding doesn’t allow for us to take care of all the needs a person has for their home.”
UPD paid 178,857 claims amounting to more than $105 million during the 2022 fiscal year that ended June 30. Both numbers were historical records. The returns are on pace to set another record this fiscal year. Through Sept. 30, UPD has paid 45,262 claims totaling nearly $28.1 million from NCCash. Part of that total has been disbursed through the NCCash Match
program, a no-hassle, expedited system that eliminated paperwork processing. As of Sept. 30, DST paid 25,058 Cash Match claims totaling nearly $8.4 million.
Under state law, UPD receives and safeguards funds that are escheated, or turned over, to DST. The unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned.
In WAMY’s service area there is more than $11 million waiting to be claimed by the rightful owners:
- Avery: 32,067 properties valued at $2,040,577
- Mitchell: 20,717 properties valued at $1,415,747
- Watauga: 95,858 properties valued at $5,764,827
- Yancey: 24,597 properties valued at $1,913,750
Unclaimed property can result from a person or entity forgetting they are due money, or from a move of location and forgetting to provide a new address. It also could result from a typing error in a house number or zip code in an address, a name change, or data loss from a business converting its computer system. As society becomes more mobile and steadily moves to electronic transactions, the risk of having unclaimed property has increased.
More information, including how to find out if you are owed money, can be found at https://www.nccash.com/.
State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell presented more than $8,000 to WAMY Community Action in Boone today. With him are Melissa Soto, WAMY executive director (center), and Allison Jennings, WAMY development director.