The nonprofit covers the 18 counties that make up Western North Carolina, but sometimes the seven westernmost counties can be a bit tougher to navigate, considering they are the most rugged, and some are sparsely populated and offer few resources.
However, that problem may have been slightly alleviated as a new office has opened within Mountain Projects’ Waynesville building.
In addition to bolstering Pisgah Legal Services’ presence in the western counties, the nonprofit also hopes it will ease the burden that can fall on clients who have to drive long distances amid record-high gas prices.
Staffing the Waynesville office is Jessi Stone, Regional Director of Health and Economic Opportunity for the western counties. Stone, who was previously The Smoky Mountain News’ news editor, has been on the job about five months, the last two of which she’s spent in her new digs.
Stone, who noted Pisgah Legal Services is also looking at setting up offices in Sylva and Franklin, said that while she spends plenty of time traveling around Western North Carolina, her new spot gives her the opportunity to do something she couldn’t when working from home.
“Now I can have office hours here,” she said. “People can call and make an appointment, and they can bring in documents.”
“I can do evening hours too if someone needs an appointment after 5,” she added.
If someone doesn’t have time for a long meeting, they can drop off forms for Stone to scan remotely so she can work without them having to be present.
“I can call them when their return is ready or if I have questions during the process,” she said.
The new office builds on an existing partnership between Pisgah Legal Services and Mountain Projects.
“It’s good to be in the same building as our