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Assistance programs in Alachua County, Gainesville and Newberry.

Find how to get financial help, including grants to pay rent or a mortgage, utility bill assistance, free medications, and more. Low income Alachua County area families can get assistance in an emergency (including with mortgages or free food) along with other aid. Charities, churches, and government assistance programs in the Gainesville region provide help along with free school supplies, clothes, gasoline vouchers, and even Christmas toys.

Utility bill assistance

People that live in Newberry and Alachua County Florida may now have the option of paying their utility bills in installments of just 50 percent at a time. An amendment to the Newberry city ordinance, which was passed at the City Commission meeting Monday, states the city and utility companies will accept a partial payment of 50 just percent of the utility bills that are due from families in need.

However, if the utility bill is not paid after this time, utility service will still be subject to disconnection. In order to qualify for the partial utility bill payment plan, a citizen needs to complete an application with up to date, accurate information regarding his or her financial status and hardships. In addition to the partial payment plan, the ordinance also suspended the $10 service charge and late fee that is associated with delinquent utility bills for this month. Dial 373-7667.

Prescription assistance

The Alachua County Prescription Discount Card is a discount prescription drug card program that helps county residents cope with the high cost of prescription drugs and medicine bills. It is free to obtain and use at local pharmacies.

The rising cost of drugs and other  medication and the lack of access to affordable health services and insurance coverage make it very difficult for people to pay medical bills. The Alachua County Prescription Discount Card is FREE and it is also available to all county residents regardless of their income levels. Benefits of this free card include : Call (352) 264-6750.

  • There are no enrollment fees
  • Get average savings of up to 20 % on prescription medications
  • It is available for free to all Alachua county residents
  • No paper work or forms are required
  • Unlimited use
  • Even covers per and vet medication!




Help with bills from the Central Florida Community Action Agency Inc.

This is a local nonprofit agency that offers help with bills for people in Alachua County. They offer a wide variety of assistance including emergency assistance. They provide cash grants to help pay energy bills, rent, provide food aid, and more. They also manage the local weatherization program which will provide free energy saving upgrades to homes. Their primary goal is to offer people short term aid, with counseling and support to ensure they become self-sufficient over the long term.

There are some conditions. For example, you can only receive electric bill help once per year, and there is a maximum provided of about $600. Resources are limited too, and often combined with money saving ideas.

Other services include direct financial assistance and referrals for basic needs, including rental assistance, energy bill payments, nutrition, transportation, food, medicines, temporary shelter, and more. Also the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has two components. One is the Home Energy Assistance, which is a one-time payment for utility bills. The other option is Crisis Assistance, which may help eligible households who are about to have their utilities cut off due to nonpayment, or if they have already had utilities disconnected.

They are located at 2606 N.W. 6th St. in Gainesville Florida. More on the Community Action Agency in Central Florida.





Rent assistance programs

Family Endeavors, Inc. - They administer the Homelessness Prevention and Stabilization Services to veterans and their families, which is known as SSVF. Get help in obtaining public benefits, emergency rental assistance, funds to paying utilities, outreach, and help in applying for VA benefits. A number of resources are for veterans. 5800 NW 39th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32606, call (352) 415-020

Volunteers Of America has rent and utility assistance for veterans. Other homeless or low income can get information on housing resources, shelters, and other aid. (352) 377-9440

Help with rent from non-profits - Additional assistance for both housing expenses and rent can be obtained from non-profits, churches, and local charities. Services range from cash assistance and free legal aid. Or low comst apartments and security deposit assistance can be arranged in Gainesville. Find a listing of more Alachua rent assistance programs.

Help with bills, health care, and prescription medications

Alachua County Social Services Program offers many of the following assistance programs.

  • Limited prescription assistance
  • Vision Exams and eyeglasses
  • Primary and specialty care services
  • Provides mortgage and/or rent, cooling bills and utilities assistance one time in a 24 month period. Learn more on Florida mortgage and foreclosure programs in Alachua County and Gainesville.
  • Transportation, such as a bus pass.

The Alachua County Social Services Program can be reached at (352) 378-2168.

The Salvation Army of Alachua County Florida provides free clothing, Electric and Gas Service Payment Assistance, Free food, and more. The non-profit supports low income residents, seniors, and families with children. Other resources may include funds to pay rent in a crisis and job placement/self-sufficiency. Or apply for seasonal support such as free Christmas toys, school supplies, and Thanksgiving meals. Phone (352) 376-1743. More details on Salvation Army Alachua County programs.

Free stuff and money - Low income families often struggle to balance their budget. There is the cost of housing in Alachua County, food expenses, medical care, and other bills that are always due. To this end, charities give items and even money for free. The programs in effect free up the income for paying living expenses.





Gainesville Catholic Charities (phone (352) 224-6444) runs a food pantry. They also offer other aid. Among other services, they provides emergency services for food (a food pantry), rent assistance, utility and cooling bills assistance, and prescription medications for qualified individuals.

Alachua County emergency eviction and rehousing assistance - Most of this is part of HUD and the HPRP program. Using grants as well as volunteer attorneys, several non-profits assist both tenants and homeowners. There is assistance for single moms, the disabled, and others for paying their rental or energy bills, deposits, phone connection fees, and more. More on eviction help in Alachua County.

Lutheran Services – Resources from this agency range from free food to help for seniors and immigrants. Get information on programs such as financial literacy for seniors, food pantries, and help for immigrants in Alachua County Florida. More on Lutheran Services in Florida.

HUD foreclosure counseling and debt reduction programs

Greenpath Debt Solutions, which is based in Gainesville Florida, offers numerous housing, mortgage, and debt reduction programs. They offer Housing Delinquency/Foreclosure Counseling. The agency has counselors that will help clients and homeowners work with mortgage lenders when needed.

Also, credit counselors can advice people on debt management and reduction programs. Most of the assistance is free. Learn how to reduce credit card debts, and deal with bankruptcies. Other support is offered too for credit cards.

Health care for the uninsured

Gainesville Community Ministry offers free medical advice/referral clinic and physical therapy clinic to low income and uninsured. (352) 372-8162

Alachua County's CHOICES Health Services - This is an organization and a program that can provide health care for workers and individuals in Alachua County. The services are for those who do not have health insurance. Health care and medical care services are available throughout the county in existing dental offices, clinics, and medical facilities. (352) 264-6772

Gainesville After Hours Clinic provides heath care to anyone in need of medical or health care. (352) 379-1049

Free food

Lazarus Restoration Ministries, Inc. (phone (352) 514-6417) runs a food pantry. Gainesville FL

Gainesville Community Ministry is another leading food bank. Call (352) 372-8162





There are other food assistance programs for the county. Whether it is a box of groceries, holiday meal, diapers, clothing or applications to SNAP food stamps, if those two locations can’t help you, find more Alachua County food pantries.


By Jon McNamara

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