Assistance and grants are available in all cities and counties throughout California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. In addition to the programs below, find organizations and charities in California that can provide help with paying bills.
Community Services & Development (CSD) is a department of the California Health and Human Services Agency. The CSD department manages various federal programs that help lower income families achieve and maintain self-sufficiency, assists with rent, helps them with paying their home energy bills, and also aids them in finding and residing in housing. In addition, CSD administers a state-funded Naturalization Services Program that will assist legal permanent residents in obtaining citizenship. Dial (866) 675-6623. Programs offered include :
A low-cost health insurance program for families with children up to the age of 19. Low-cost monthly premiums range from about $4-$15/month. 1-800-880-5305
Operation Access (OA)
Provides diagnosis, free evaluation, and surgical operations for the uninsured and low income. Medical procedures are performed by volunteer doctors and medical staff at participating hospitals. (415) 733-0052
Homeowner Assistance Program
This program allows a once-a-year payment from the State of California to eligible individuals. The maximum amount of assistance that a homeowner in California may receive is $472.60. You must be 62 years of age or older, disabled, blind, and also meet income thresholds in order to receive aid. 800.338.0505
Church Assistance Program
Low income families in California, immigrants, seniors and others can get help. Free boxes of food or financial aid for paying utility or heating bills is combined with rental assistance. There may also be gasoline vouchers or hot meals served along with assistance for single moms. Read churches assistance programs.
Help with Water Bills
This program is offered to homeowners in Northern California, and low and moderate income households are eligible for a discount on their monthly water bills. Learn more.
California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP)
The California Housing Finance Agency has a strong understanding of the desire of many people want to own their first home. They also realize how difficult that can be to do. That is why this program offers low interest rate first mortgage programs and also a variety of down payment assistance programs to eligible first-time home buyers. 877.922.5432
Self-sufficiency, Job Training, and Referrals
Receive case management, employment services, and ongoing support from a community action agency/partnership. Many of these non-profits can also direct families to emergency financial aid programs as well. Continue with California community action agencies.
In addition to those resources, the state operates WorkSource centers. These government funded locations can help the unemployed or people looking to gain new skills. Receive free career counseling services, job search assistance, and additional support. More California job training and employment services.
Assistance with Medical Debt Collectors and Charity Health Care
The state of California has created laws that protect patients from aggressive and illegal debt collection efforts. The state also ensure that families and individuals get access to free medical care. Read more.
California Mortgage Help and Foreclosure Aid
California also has an assistance program that can help prevent a foreclosure. Resources can allow people to get help with their mortgage. Many services are also offered by your town or city. More details.
In addition, find a listing of HUD approved foreclosure and housing counseling agencies. Click here.
Debt Reduction and Credit Counseling
A number of organizations, most of which are non-profit, can help California consumers get back on track with paying off debts and outstanding bills. Many debt reduction programs are offered at no cost. Read more California credit counseling.
Several non-profit law firms provide low income, senior citizens, and other qualified individuals with free legal assistance and counsel. Learn more.
Financial Assistance in a Crisis
Resources can help families pay their rent, electric bills, and transportation costs, such as gas and automobile repairs. Many programs are administered by the Salvation Army in California. Read more on emergency assistance in California.
California Department of Social Services
The California Department of Social Services offers numerous grants and assistance programs to state residents. Some of the aid offered includes : 916-651-8848
Free or Discounted Health Care
The state of California has about 800 clinics throughout the state that offer either free or discounted health care. They offer a wide variety of medical services to residents. Learn more.
Learn more and also get a listing of California community clinics that provide free health care.
Also learn about eye doctors who donate their time and donate glasses. Find how you can receive free eye exams and prescription glasses. Click here.
In addition, a few non-profit agencies provide free diapers to low income families in parts of California. Read about free diaper programs.
If you specifically need oral healthcare or your dental needs met, read more on non-profit dental centers.
The state also coordinates programs that provide medical and dental care to the uninsured and residents with limited health plans. California families can receive services including prescription medications, specialty care, and help paying premiums and medical bills. Read health care for uninsured in California.
Child Care Assistance Programs
Three versions of this program provide subsidized child care services to eligible families in California. The three programs are CalWORKs, Alternative Payment, and Child Protective Services. CalWORKs helps families who are in transition off of cash aid/welfare assistance and grants. The Alternative Payment Program helps pay for child care expenses for families while the parents work, attend school or college, seek work, attend school, or while they seek permanent housing in California. Child Protective Services pays for child care for children who are in a neglectful household or living situation. (213) 240-5900
Electric and Utility Bill Programs
In addition to calling non-profit agencies and government organizations in your county, some resources and services are offered directly by energy companies in California. Click here to find how to get help with your bills from your utility company.
Discounted Telephone Service from LifeLine
California provides savings and low cost phones, either cell or home, to low income households. Customers can save a significant amount of money on their monthly bills from the California LifeLine program.
Homeless Prevention and Rehousing Services
Federal government grants from HUD are used by local communities as part of the Continuum of Care program. Assistance may be offered to stop evictions. Other resources include transitional housing, one time rent help, or funds to pay security deposits. Read more California eviction prevention services.
Vouchers for Paying Rent
Very low income families may qualify for section 8 housing vouchers. Additional support may be for the disabled and elderly in California. The federal government HUD program can offer case management and ongoing rental assistance to those that qualify. Click for details.
Disability Benefits and Assistance Programs
California provides several resources that are specifically for disabled residents and their caregivers. The Department of Developmental Services can provide information, assistance with the application process, in home and medical care, and other financial aid. More on California disability programs.
Programs for Seniors and Older Adults in California
The Department of Aging partners with a number of local centers and office of aging locations to provide assistance to people over 55 and the elderly. Resources can provide food, information on health and medical care, social services, jobs, and other aid. More information.
Rescue Mission Organizations
Most California cities have rescue missions that can provide individuals with access to a food pantry, homeless prevention services, thrift stores, and other aid. Learn more.
Food Pantries and Banks
While food and financial aid can be obtained at the county level per below, you can also contact a food bank in your area. More on California food banks.
Also, with food prices increasing every year, learn about free programs open to all people that provide California residents with savings of up to 60% on their groceries. Click here.
Alameda County (Oakland)
Butte County (Oroville)
Calaveras County (San Andreas)
Contra Costa County (Martinez)
El Dorado (Placerville)
Glenn County (Willows)
Humboldt County (Eureka)
Imperial County (El Centro)
Kern County (Bakersfield)
Kings County (Hanford)
Lake County (Lakeport)
Lassen County (Susanville)
Marin County (San Rafael)
Mendocino County (Ukiah)
Monterey County (Salinas)
Nevada County (Nevada City)
Orange County (Santa Ana)
Placer County (Auburn)
Plumas County (Quincy)
San Gabriel Valley communities
San Joaquin County (Stockton)
San Mateo County (Redwood City)
Santa Barbara County (Santa Maria)
Santa Clara County (San Jose)
Shasta County (Redding)
Sierra County (Downieville)
Solano County (Fairfield)
Sonoma County (Santa Rosa)
Stanislaus County (Modesto)
Sutter County (Yuba City)
Tehama County (Red Bluff)
Tulare County (Visalia)
Yolo County (Woodland)
Yuba County (Marysville)
Temporary Energy Assistance for Families
This is a utility assistance program that offers qualified customers with up to $1500 to pay their energy bills. It is run by the Salvation Army. Read more.
Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP)
Provides assistance paying utility bills to households that are in a electric or heating bill crisis situation. Examples of help provided include a household that has received a 24- or 48-hour service termination or disconnect notice by their utility company, if they have an energy-related crisis of life-threatening emergency, aid can be provided.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
Provides a direct grant payment to an eligible client’s utility or heating bill to help offset the cost of cooling or heating their home.
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE)
This assistance program provides eligible customers with a 20 percent discount on their electric and natural gas bills. It is offered by all utility companies.
Low-Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE)
A program offered by all gas and electric utility companies to help with heating, cooling, and utility bills. It is an energy saving program, and services offered for qualified customers may include energy efficient furnaces, attic insulation, weatherstripping, energy efficient refrigerators, caulking, low-flow showerheads and toilets, water heater blankets, and building and door envelope repairs, which will help reduce air infiltration.
Free Appliances from Southern California Edison
The Energy Management Assistance (EMA) program provides customers with weatherization services, free energy-efficient appliances, air conditioners, pool pumps, lighting, and other efficiency measures for low and moderate renters and homeowners.