The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (Isothermal Regional Commission/The Commission) is the council of governments for the Isothermal Region which includes Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties in Western North Carolina. The membership of the Commission consists of the local governments within the Isothermal Region.

The Commission serves its members and their citizens by fostering regional collaboration and providing professional and technical expertise. The Commission houses the region’s Area Agency on AgingHousing Programs, Rural Planning Organization, Workforce Development Board and provides services through its Economic, Community and Workforce Development programs and Technical Assistance programs. For more information, check out our About page!

Cleveland County Small Business Recovery Program

The Cleveland County Small Business Recovery Fund’s mission is to preserve and safely reopen small businesses and protect the related jobs in Cleveland County that have been threatened due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Small Business Recovery Fund helps small businesses and nonprofit organizations reopen through grants. The eligible grant amount is two times average monthly expenses or: 

  • Up to $2,500 for solopreneurs 
  • Up to $10,000 for firms with 2-25 employees

The Small Business Recovery Fund aims to:

  • Preserve local small businesses through immediate relief so they can safely reopen and stay open.
  • Provide businesses with the resources and strategies to help them reopen safely and ensure their long-term viability.
  • Protect thousands of jobs supported by Small Businesses in Cleveland County.

Program Guidelines

Application window October 23 through November 6, 2020

All applications completed and submitted before the deadline will be considered equally. There is no benefit to rushing an application. We encourage applicants to take their time to ensure a complete and well-supported request. The Word and digital versions of the application will be released on October 23. 

Click here to learn more about the Cleveland County Small Business Recovery Fund.

Following the Data, North Carolina Will Remain Paused in Phase 3

Gov. Cooper & health officials urge North Carolinians to recommit to prevention efforts

October 21, 2020 – Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Governor Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic.

“As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” said Governor Cooper. “Wearing a mask shows you care about people. Wearing a mask is an easy way to protect our communities and look out for each other. Confronting the virus head on and doing our part as individuals is good for our health and good for our economy.” 

Also today, Governor Cooper updated on progress with the NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program. Since Governor Cooper announced the (HOPE) Program last week, 12,000 eligible applicants have filed for assistance. The HOPE Program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.

Yesterday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen and Secretary of Department of Public Safety Erik Hooks sent a letter to local officials in communities with increased viral spread urging their continued action in fighting COVID-19 and suggesting additional measures to mitigate its spread. Read more about that letter here.

“We are doing everything we can to slow the spread of this virus. This simple fact is we can’t do it on our own. Ignoring the virus doesn’t make it go away – just the opposite,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “As hard as this is, it will end. We will get through this. Let’s do it by looking out for one another. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”

Aging Ombudsman Services in the Region – Update

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region we have temporarily stopped in person Ombudsman services to the public until January 1, 2021. Isothermal Regional Area Agency on Aging provides Ombudsman services that include but are not limited to investigating concerns made on or behalf of residents in long term care settings, provide technical assistance and education to the public on long term care topics; as well as, monitor nursing homes, adult care, and family care homes on resident rights issues.

We will continue to provide assistance and services via phone or virtually.  As part of the CARES Act, the Agency secured electronic devices with data service available for staff and LTC residents use to allow for “face-to-face” communication.  IPDC has purchased the teleconferencing app, ZOOM with toll free calling and unlimited conferencing for staff, providers, and LTC residents’ use. 

Notice of these services has been given to each long-term care facility in our region; as well as posted at our main office, located at 111 West Court Street.

Contact for Ombudsman Services:

Mandy Johnson, MHS, Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman
111 West Court Street
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
1-800-331-9891, toll free
828-287-2281 ext. 225
Fax 828-287-2735

Governor Cooper Announces Applications Open for New Rent and Utility Assistance Program

October 15, 2020 – Governor Roy Cooper announced today that applications are now being accepted for the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program, which will assist eligible low- and- moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The new program seeks to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections.

The HOPE Program will provide $117 million for rent and utility assistance for renters who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have a current household income that is 80 percent of the area median income or lower, and are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply. 

Renters who need rent or utility assistance can apply online at nc211.org/hope. Applicants who cannot access the online application can also call 2-1-1 and speak with a program representative, who will assist the caller through the application on the phone. Callers can reach 2-1-1 Monday-Friday between 7 am and 6 pm.

The HOPE Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds, which have been provided to North Carolina. The funds are administered by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety, and will be distributed through community partner agencies across the state.

Renters can apply for utility assistance, rent assistance or both programs. Rent assistance is paid to the landlord on behalf of the applicant. This includes overdue and future rent payments, for up to six months. At least one month’s rent must be overdue at the time of application.

Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider for up to six months of past due essential utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane. For more information about the HOPE Program, visit nc211.org/hope.


International Snack Food Company to Invest $24 Million in Kings Mountain

Benestar Brands, an international snack food manufacturer, will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today (October 13). The company will invest $24 million to establish a new production facility in Kings Mountain.

“After an extensive search throughout the southeast, we selected Kings Mountain, North Carolina for our newest production facility based on the state’s strong support of the manufacturing industry and talented workforce,” said Carl E. Lee, Jr., CEO of Benestar Brands. “Over the past year, our company has expanded our portfolio of innovative savory snacks, entering new categories that will be produced at this Plant. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with the State of North Carolina as we expand our company.”

The average annual salary for all new positions is $43,021, creating a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.

Congratulations to Cleveland Community College, Cleveland County Government, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership, and the City of Kings Mountain for their hard work in securing this investment for the region!



Notice of Public Hearing

Isothermal Planning & Development Commission 
Section 8 Housing Department

Section 511 of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 requires the Board of Directors of the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission to conduct a public hearing to discuss and invite public comment regarding the 2020-2025 Five-Year and Annual Plan. The hearing is to be conducted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 at 3:00 PM. The hearing will be held in person and virtually.  In-person will be held at the main office of the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, 111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139. Information on how to access the public hearing virtually is available on IPDC’s website at www.RegionC.org.

The proposed Five-Year and Annual Plan and information relevant to the public hearing to be conducted is available for inspection by the public at www.regionc.org/housing-department-public-housing-authority-plans/ or at IPDC’s main office, 111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139 during normal business hours of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Questions or comments should be directed to Pam Hall, Interim Director of Housing, (828) 287-2281, ext 266. 

Adventure Gear Manufacturer to Invest $1 Million in Old Fort

Triple Aught Design to Add 70 New Jobs in McDowell County

Notice of Housing Assistance Program for McDowell County

The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) will be accepting applications for the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan (ESFRL) Pool beginning October 1, 2020, at both the McDowell County Administration building (60 E Court St, Marion, NC 28752) and the McDowell County Public Library (90 W Court St, Marion, NC 28752).  Applications will be taken until November 30, 2020. To be considered an Eligible Household, you must meet certain income guidelines:

  1. be below 80% of the area median income ($48,300), or be an elderly (age 62 and over) person with a disability, or be a Veteran or household with a child under the age of six whose health is threatened by lead hazards in the home;
  2. you must be a homeowner and live in the home;
  3. you must have clear title to your home with no liens other than a first mortgage, and;
  4. you must not owe any prior years taxes or have any judgments against the property.

If you have questions please contact Tammy Phillips at IPDC, 828-287-2281, ext 243. 

Department of Commerce Announces Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR) Program

If your business has experienced extraordinary disruption and has not been able to re-open due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NC Department of Commerce’s Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR) Program may be able to offer assistance. To qualify to receive these relief funds, your organization must meet certain eligibility criteria established by the State.

MURR Program assistance is based on four months of rent or mortgage interest and utility costs at an eligible North Carolina business location during the April – August 2020 time period.  The business must have paid these costs in order to receive relief payments from our program, and you’ll be required to show evidence that these payments were in fact made.

The relief amount must not exceed $20,000 per business location, with a limit of up to two business locations per applicant (for a maximum of $40,000 per business).

The total amount of relief funding available for the MURR Program is $40 million.  The applications are first come, first served and it is highly likely that some applications will not receive any relief.

Commerce will accept applications for this assistance on a first-come, first-served basis.  Click here to learn more.

FEMA Announces Funding Opportunities for $660 Million in Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

FEMA posted funding notices today for two hazard mitigation grant programs for more than $660 million. 

The two grant programs, the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant and the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, will provide funds to states, local communities, tribes and territories for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness. These programs allow for funding to be used on projects that will reduce future disaster losses.

The funding notices are available on Grants.gov, and the application period opens on Sept. 30.

Eligible applicants must apply for funding using the new FEMA Grants Outcome (FEMA GO). Please submit applications at FEMA Go Portal no later than 3 p.m. EST on Jan. 29, 2021. Applications received by FEMA after this deadline will not be considered for funding.

Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant

The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 establishes the goal of reducing or eliminating claims under the National Flood Insurance Program through long-term mitigation actions. For the program, the agency’s predetermined funding priorities include flood mitigation planning and efforts for repetitive as well as severe repetitive loss properties.

In this application cycle, $160 million is available in Flood Mitigation Assistance grant funds. There is a set-aside of $70 million for community advance assistance and flood mitigation projects. View the Notice of Funding Opportunity at: Grants.gov. Funding Opportunity Number: DHS-20-MT-029-000-99.

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grants

The new BRIC grant program is for pre-disaster mitigation activities and replaces FEMA’s existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation program. 

The BRIC priorities are to:

  • incentivize public infrastructure projects.
  • incentivize projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines.
  • incentivize projects that incorporate nature-based solutions.
  • incentivize the adoptions and enforcement of modern building codes.

View the NOFO at: Grants.gov. Funding Opportunity Number: DHS-20-MT-047-00-99.

Updates to FEMA’s Public Assistance Policies

State, local, tribal, and territorial government entities and certain private non-profit organizations can apply for FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) reimbursements for emergency protective measures taken during the pandemic.

FEMA has published an interim policy, COVID-19 Pandemic: Work Eligible for Public Assistance, to clarify eligible work in response to COVID-19. This policy states that for work performed on or after September 15, 2020 FEMA will only consider the activities listed within this policy as eligible emergency protective measures.  

This policy dictates that activities related to reopening and increased operating costs will not be considered eligible for Public Assistance funding.  Below is a list of activities that FEMA considers to be ineligible for Public Assistance funding in response to COVID-19: 

  • Reopening of schools
    • Funding for PPE, Cloth Facial Coverings, disinfecting and temperature scanning for the regular operation of schools and other public facilities is not eligible for FEMA reimbursement.
  • Disinfection of facilities while they are closed and not in use, that have been closed for more than 7 days, or outdoor facilities receiving direct sunlight
  • Increased operating costs of government facilities / services including courthouses, prisons, utilities, public housing, or recreation, etc., including PPE, regular cleaning, facility retrofits (plexiglass), and technology for virtual support
  • General costs associated with implementing social distancing or other community mitigation approaches in public places or public facilities
  • Contact tracing
Click here to read the interim policy that provides a framework, details, and requirements for determining eligibility of work and costs under the Public Assistance program.

CDC Issues Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the issuance of an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This Order is effective September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Under this Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person [3with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order. This Order does not apply in any State, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the requirements listed in this Order. Nor does this order apply to American Samoa, which has reported no cases of COVID-19, until such time as cases are reported.

In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 264(e), this Order does not preclude State, local, territorial, and tribal authorities from imposing additional requirements that provide greater public-health protection and are more restrictive than the requirements in this Order.This Order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. Nothing in this Order precludes the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

Under the Order, tenants cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent, provided the tenant signs the Declaration that is attached to the CDC Order certifying that:

  1. They have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), were not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. They are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. They are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as their circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  5. If evicted they would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because they have no other available housing options.
  6. They understand they must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that they may have under their tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. The understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by their tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected; and
  7. They understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, their housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make them subject to eviction.

The Order does not relieve the tenants’ obligation to pay rent and the tenants must continue to comply with terms under the lease. However, tenants qualifying as “Covered Persons” under the Order cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent in violation of the lease if the CDC eviction protections are invoked (see below). Nothing in the Order precludes the landlords from charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the tenants’ inability to pay rent on a timely basis. Evictions unrelated to nonpayment of rent can still take place, e.g., criminal activity. Any state, local, or territorial area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection can supersede the Order. Nothing in the Order affects the CARES Act waivers or funding a PHA receives or is utilizing.

Governor Cooper Announces $175 Million to Assist with Rental, Utility Payments and CDBG-CV Grant Program for North Carolinians

On August 25, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper announced $175 million to help North Carolinians. The announcement includes three programs designed to work together to help people avoid eviction and pay their bills, per the Governor’s direction.

  • Eviction Prevention and Utility Payments: Approximately $94 million of the funding will be disbursed by the NCORR to support rental and utility payments and prevent evictions. The funding will be distributed to eligible community agencies around the state that will work directly with North Carolinians on an application and disbursement process.
  • Crisis Response and Housing Stability: About $53 million of the funding is designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus (ESG-CV) Program. The federal ESG-CV money is intended for families experiencing homelessness or who face a more immediate risk of homelessness and will be distributed by similar community agencies handling NCORR’s program. 
  • Local Government Funds (CDBG-CV): Another $28 million of federal funding will be administered by local governments through the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s CDBG-CV Program.

Department of Commerce Announces CDBG-CV Program

The Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus program (CDBG-CV) is designed to help units of local government respond to and recover from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. CDBG-CV projects must incorporate at least one of the following as an area of focus:

  • Support families and communities through telehealth support and other public services.
  • Protect the most vulnerable and high-risk populations.
  • Assist small businesses with economic recovery.
  • Address testing, tracing, and tracking trends.

Additionally, the State has established additional funding priorities for the CDBG-CV grants, including subsistence payments to prevent evictions and utility disconnections, food distribution, testing and diagnosis, and employment training for health care workers on the front lines. The application opened on September 1 and is first-come-first-served.  Application instructions and complete information about the purpose and requirements of the CDBG-CV program are available on the Commerce website.

For assistance applying and administering the CDBG-CV program, please contact IPDC’s Economic and Community Development staff. Click here for the staff directory.

FY 2020 Income Limits Summary for IPDC Region

Click here to view the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), definitions for income limits for low-and-moderate-income families per family size for non-metropolitan and metropolitan areas of the state.
How IPDC Can Help Your Organization

IPDC staff members are prepared to assist with members who are interested in applying for the CDBG-CV program. IPDC can provide technical assistance including project development, grant writing, and grant administration. To contact the staff, please click here for the staff directory.

Region C WDB On-The-Job Training Subsidy Program

If you are an employer and would like to enter into an agreement with the Region C WDB, please use the forms below
  1. OJT Summary WIOA
  2. Pre-Award Analysis Blank
  3. OJT Employer Agreement PT
  4. W9 IPDC Address as Requestor
Forms for Employers that have entered into the OJT Agreement with Region C WDB
  1. OJT Eligibility Form
  2. OJT Training Plan Blank
  3. OJT Trainee Evaluation Form Blank
  4. OJT Monthly Report Blank
  5. OJT Invoice Timesheet Blank

Take a Survey to Bring Broadband to our Region!

Raleigh, N.C. – Secretary of N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) and State Chief Information Officer Tracy S. Doaks is urging the public to participate in the new North Carolina Broadband Survey, launched today by the NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office. 

The five-minute survey was created in collaboration with the Friday Institute at NC State University. The survey can be taken online for users with internet access and by phone for users without service, and will be available in both English and Spanish.  

Information gathered using the survey will be used to provide context to the state’s broadband picture, guiding funding opportunities through North Carolina’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program, informing research and policy recommendations, and supporting strategic targeting of additional funding channels.

This project is an extension of NCDIT’s Speed Reporting Tool, which allowed people to report whether they have internet access at their home or business and determine the speeds received at their address. 

To access the online survey, visit: ncbroadband.gov/survey. Residents without internet service, but with phones capable of text messaging, can text “internet” to 919-750-0553. Standard text messaging rates will apply.  

Residents with land lines or cell phones that do not have texting capability, may call 919-750-0553. The interactive voice response system will guide them through a series of short questions to obtain their address and register it in the database as having no internet capability.  

Shelby Housing Office Relocation

Effective Monday, July 20, 2020, the Shelby Housing Office will be relocating to the Main Office at Isothermal Planning and Development Commission located in Rutherfordton, NC.

The Shelby Housing Office will still be open BY APPOINTMENT ONLY on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Changes to IPDC Housing Choice Voucher Program Offices

Starting Monday, June 8th, IPDC’s Housing Choice Voucher Program will begin in-person client interactions by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Rutherfordton office, located at 111 West Court Street, and the Shelby Office located at 127 W. Graham Street, Shelby. The Marion Office will operative via mail only until further notice. Click here to learn more about IPDC’s Housing Program.

For in-person appointments, all clients must wear a mask and all staff will wear masks. When clients arrive for their appointment, please call the housing office and inform them you have arrived for your appointment. Staff will ask the client to enter the office at that point or ask the client to remain in their car until they are ready to enter the office. Only one person per appointment will be allowed to enter the office to assist with social distancing. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

To contact the IPDC Housing Offices: 

Housing Choice Voucher Program (General Information) –(828) 351-2327
Shelby Housing Office (Cleveland County) – (704) 487-0476 ext. 4

IPDC Enters Phase 2 and Modifies Service Operations at the Commission

May 22, 2020- The Isothermal Regional Commission (IPDC) will be revising its Service Operations in response to the Governors most recent order [see order here].  From May 22, 2020 at 5pm onward, IPDC will still operate as an essential operation.  As such, our offices will be staffed on a limited staff staggered schedule with updated cleaning and sanitizing scheduled.  We will, for most of our operations, have staff working remotely.  Beginning Monday, June 8th, we will begin client interactions on an appointment only basis.  This will allow time for IPDC staffing to secure PPE, start new sanitizing and cleaning contracts, and to review office protocols to include distancing, spacing and office schedules. 

Starting Monday, June 8th, we will begin interactions with Clients in Housing by Appointment only and on Tuesdays and Thursdays only at the Rutherfordton office, located at 111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton and the Shelby Office located at 127 W. Graham Street, Shelby.  The Marion Office will be by mail only until further notice.

Working Meetings will be done by either conference calls or remote methods to the extent that they are available and user accessible. Public Meetings may be postponed, cancelled, or rescheduled. The IPDC Budget Public Hearing on June 2nd, and June 9th Board of Directors Meeting will be held electronically [please see this link for more information on these meetings]. We post updates to our organization on our web page at www.regionc.org for further information.

Staff Directory is https://regionc.org/contact/staff-directory/.  By dialing these extensions, staff on site or working remotely should be able to respond to questions, comments, or concerns.  

Employment Opportunities

There are no positions open at this time. Please check our Employment Opportunities Page by clicking here for future opportunities.

Upcoming Board Meetings

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