Assistance programs Alameda County and Oakland CA.
Find how to apply for financial assistance, including rent, utility bill, or security deposit help in Oakland and Alameda County. Low income families can also get free stuff as well as financial aid to pay for basic needs. Charities, churches as well as government assistance type organizations help low income families pay the bills and address basic needs.
The organizations in the county and city of Oakland may also have free food, bus passes or gasoline vouchers, clothes, school supplies and information on how to pay down debt and other unpaid bills. However offering help for rent, mortgages, and housing is a focus of the grant programs. There are also low cost loans, grants, and advice on both buying a house and/or avoiding an eviction.
Get financial assistance with bills and other expenses in Alameda County and Oakland
If you reside in the Oakland area of Alameda County, the Alameda County - Oakland Community Action Partnership is a public agency that does its best to ensure that all citizens have fair and equal access to services and resources to help them through difficult times. The financial assistance is provided by their partners and not directly by community action. Call 888-886-9660 for information on resources, services and agencies that may be able to offer long term assistance.
- Utility assistance - One option is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The federal government funded HEAP utility and heating assistance programs helps low-income and other qualified households with paying their energy bills. If you apply and are determined to be eligible, you may receive cash assistance once per program year with paying PG&E utility bills. 510-881-0300 x 245.
- Weatherization Program - Oakland and Alameda County low income households may be eligible to receive free energy conserving measures to their home, such as door weather stripping, attic insulation, minor home repairs such as door or glass replacement, faucet aerators, and other energy and utility saving measures such as free compact fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, and even efficient refrigerators. Call Spectrum at 510-881-0300 extension 216 or 200.
- Homeless, Foreclosure and Eviction Prevention - The Oakland Community Action Partnership provides information on other local charities and non-profits. For example Catholic Charities in Alameda County has created the Oakland Housing Plus program. This is a resource that provides low-income families and individuals of Oakland California with housing assistance by providing rental and utility bill assistance. Many local agencies also offer foreclosure assistance in Oakland California.
- Employment resources in Oakland California - The Oakland Community Action Agency helps people(1) find a job or (2) gain new skills. There are also resources to help people work from home, find gig jobs (or resources for gig workers), use technology to make money from a hobby, and other programs. Learn more, and find money making hobbies.
The phone number is 888-886-9660. Other emergency services and long term assistance is available in the community in partnership with AC-OCAP. Read more on Alameda County - Oakland Community Action Partnership assistance programs.
Food banks and free groceries
The Alameda County Food Bank (call 1-510-635-3663 or (800) 273-6222) partners with various county and Oakland based charities. They also work with non-profits to distribute free food across the local community.
There are dozens of other food pantries in the county as well as hunger prevention programs. Or families living on a low income can learn about government aid, such as CalFresh intake sites. There are also many soup kitchens in the Oakland area. Find an extensive listing of more Oakland and Alameda County free food pantries.
Emergency financial help and crisis assistance
Salvation Army in Alameda County offers Oakland and Alameda County residents year round help with paying their energy bills, free food and more. They provide low cost childcare, a homeless shelter for families, and camp in the summer.
In addition they run a holiday program that provides the needy with meals and free Christmas gifts. Call 510-437-9437. They also serve free meals, give out school supplies, and operate a low cost thrift store for furniture. Other Salvation Army branches are in Concord, Berkeley, Hayward, and Tri-Cities. To learn more about the social services, case management, and cash assistance offered find Salvation Army Alameda County assistance programs.
Critical Family Needs is a program run by Catholic Charities. The Critical Family Needs program provides needy individuals with is a one-time cash assistance grant. Funding is limited, and the money can be provided only to a limited number of eligible families and individuals, including seniors. Note they do not help with PG&E or water bills. The cash assistance that is provided to those who are experiencing an emergency or short term crisis, and it can go towards medical bills, rent, and other needs. Call the agency at (925) 825-3099. Learn more on Catholic Charities Oakland financial assistance programs.
Season of Sharing is funding that is offered by a private non-profit organization that offers one-time crisis-based assistance for paying for housing and other critical family needs. It is provided as a one-time, short term payment and will buy time for someone to regain long-term self-sufficiency.
While there are a number of conditions that need to be met by Alameda County applicants, it will pay for security deposits for households who are at risk of or have lost their housing. This can include delinquent mortgage or rent payments, limited utility bill assistance, and other aid for people who are in immediate threat of shut-off. All cases are reviewed on case by case, and some proof of income is required among other factors. Oakland California based. Call 510-272-3700
Churches and faith based groups may assist the poor and people facing emergency. There are dozens of locations across Alameda County. Some offer financial support such as for paying rent or electric bills, but many others provide counseling, vouchers, and material goods.
A ministry at a church will help people of all backgrounds. There may be infant formula for single moms or housing for immigrants. Some sites even provide bus passes to use in Oakland for job interview or serve meals from kitchens. Continue with help from churches in Oakland.
Referrals from East Oakland Switchboard - This is a social service agency that offers callers information. They can learn about local emergency food pantries or places that offer low income housing. The outreach services from the customer service staff are focused on residents that are most at risk, such as senior citizens and single parents with children. However, anyone can call for information on financial support or basic needs. Continue reading on Switchboard Oakland California.
Building Futures with Women and Children offers a program known as Emergency Solution Grant Program, or ESG. As funding permits it can help San Leandro and Alameda County residents. It is offered for homeless prevention and can pay out financial assistance in partnership with the Mid-County Housing Resource Center. Dial (510) 924-3093 or 510-686-2332
Operation Dignity Inc., which is based in Oakland, provides rental assistance, move-in assistance and help with paying security and rental deposits once a month to callers to qualify for aid. Call (510) 287-8465 or 510-844-0785.
Water bills - Financial assistance may be offered for paying water bills. Programs can also help families conserve their water usage and therefore reduce the amount that they need to pay on their expenses. Read more Oakland California water bill assistance.
Alaemda County rental and housing solutions are available. While funds are limited, there are non-profits as well as charities that may be able to help with paying security deposits for the homeless, offer financial aid for back rent, and other needs. Or click here for a listing of additional Oakland California area rent and housing assistance programs.
Spectrum Community Services Inc. provides the HEAP program, and they provide energy bill assistance and weatherization services to low-income residents of Alameda, Castro Valley, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City. Phone 510-881-0300, and the extension is 216 or 200.
Oakland, CA Rent Assistance from Alameda County Social Services Agency - Private funds are made available from this program to help low-to-moderate income families with dependent children, senior citizens age 60 and over, and disabled individuals who live in Alameda County in Oakland. Call 510-259-3518 for the referral line, or locate other resources for avoiding eviction.
Oakland branch Swords to Plowshares helps former military members and veterans. A focus is on housing and employment, and there may be grants for rent from Support Services for Veteran Families, transitional housing, and free clothing for work. Other services include Career Pathways job placement and help in applying for disability or benefits. Click here veteran help from Swords to Plowshares.
Fremont City runs the Housing Scholarship Program. For those that qualify and that are part of a vocational job-training programs, they may be able to qualify for rent and other support. Case managers work with clients on self-sufficiency and offer referrals as well to Alameda County agencies and charities. 510-494-4511
BOSS Self-Sufficient of Oakland and Alameda County - They focus on helping the low income and homeless get support. The non-profit may have referrals to a number of assistance programs, including eviction prevention services, hotel/motel vouchers, job placement, and also shelter or transitional housing. The disabled and mentally ill can get help too. Senior citizens may benefit from a representative payee program as well. The location is 1918 University Ave., Suite 2A, Berkeley, California 94704. Telephone (510) 649-1930.
Income enhancing programs in Alameda County - The cost of living is very high. Immigrants, millennial, service workers and others often need a second or gig job. There are options including the following.
- Cars can be monetized. Whether for delivery services or advertising. Find tips on making money from your car.
- Career skills around IT, website development, software engineering and more are offered. Try a job center in Oakland.
- Online side gigs - They can be a great, second source of income for low to moderate income residents. A number of options are out there. Find details on online jobs that are side gigs.
First and/or last months rent assistance may be provided by the city of Oakland in partnership with agencies such as Echo. It was created to help families that have fallen behind in their rental payments or who need money for paying a security deposit. The city has information on other organizations that can assist with rent or that can provide a loan for bills. Some partners are Project Outreach (call (510.382.1360), Health Care for the Homeless (510-533.4663) and also housing from Salvation Army of Alameda (510.437.9437).
St. Vincent - This charity organization can help people around Oakland and all of Alameda County. Individuals of all religions and backgrounds may qualify for assistance. Several job training and employment services are offered by Catholic Charities, and they have some programs that focus on the currently unemployed. Other services include medical care from a clinic, and shelter/housing/rent assistance. Meet with a counselor to explore all of these services. Click here St. Vincent de Paul Oakland emergency assistance.
Volunteers of America (VOA) - Services are available across the county and they have an office in Oakland California. A major focus is on housing, and some of the resources from the northern California VOA are as follows.
Shelter and transitional housing for individuals, the homeless and women, including children. They also have emergency eviction prevention / rent help. Another solution is housing for seniors, including so called affordable housing units and apartments. Read Volunteers of America Northern California.
Free basic needs - Non-profits provide items such as free clothing, Christmas gifts, household products, furniture, back to school supplies and more. Some of these organizations may have limited amounts of cash to pay for emergency bills, such as rent if faced with eviction or utilities if they were disconnected. Low income families in Oakland and Alameda County can turn to these clothing closets and charities. Read more free clothes and school supplies northern California.
Berkeley Health, Housing and Community Services Department will potentially help people in the city. The government organization administers the Housing Retention Program. It may provide cash grants to qualified low income Berkeley residents who are facing eviction. All monies need to go towards overdue rent. The city also partners with agencies such as Women’s Daytime Drop In Center (phone 548-2884), the City of Berkeley – Family Youth and Children Services (call 981-5280), Aging Services Division/Senior Centers (dial 981-5200). The address is 2180 Milvia Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704. Call 510-981-5400.
Oakland Based Project Outreach provides support for the working poor and low income. The charity offers everything from funds for a rental or utility deposit to free food. Clients range from single parents to the underemployed and veterans. The non-profit can also coordinate temporary housing in the city and county as well. More on Project Outreach.
Shelter Inc. offers a few resources as well, including education, case management services, life skills training, and employment opportunities to help people become self-sufficient. Financial assistance for rent and other costs may be available. Permanent housing units are offered as well as assistance programs for veterans and their families in Alameda County. Call 925-335-0698 for intake.
Compass Family Services and the Housing Access Project (HAP) may have rental subsidies and vouchers for homeless families in the Bay Area. 415-644-0504
One Stop Career Centers. These locations provide a number of services, including helping applicants find employment and job training programs as well as other services. Customer service representatives at each location can help job seekers and the unemployed find employment opportunities. They are also a good place to call or atop by at for information on government assistance and financial aid. For example, learn about welfare to work services, housing assistance, labor market information, retraining and career options, and programs for paying bills such as utilities. The center locations in Alameda County are.
- Alameda 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, Alameda, California 94501 - Phone 510-748-2208
- Berkeley, 1918 Bonita Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704. Call the agency at 510-982-7128. Or find more Berkeley city resources.
- Oakland, 1212 Broadway, Suite 100, Oakland, 94612. Phone number 510-768-4473
- Oakland, 675 Hegenberger Road, 3rd Floor, Oakland, 94621. Phone 510-563-5200
- Eden Area Multiservice Center, 24100 Amador Street, Hayward, California 9454. Dial 510-670-5700
- Fremont, 39155 Liberty Street, Suite B200, Fremont, CA 94538. Phone number to dial 510-794-3669
- Newark, 39399 Cherry Street, Room 1211, Newark, California 94560. Phone 510-742-2323
- Pleasanton – 5020 Franklin Drive, Pleasanton, California 925485. Telephone number 925-485-5262
- There are even free basic needs given to job seekers. Find how and where to get free stuff.
Alameda County Social Services Agency - Families who are faced with an emergency, the low income and working poor can all look into government and cash assistance programs. Services offered range from homeless prevention, SNAP food stamps, medical care, and much more. Get information on public assistance in Alameda County.
The non-profit City Team offers services, including housing assistance, medical care, and food. The agency can help the working poor, unemployed, and struggling. The national organization also operates in Oakland California and provide services to the needy and homeless.
As resources allow, there are short term shelters and transitional housing units, including for single parents. Free food and basic needs, maybe even including clothing or diapers, are offered. Other programs including referrals to clinics for medical needs, help for immigrants, job placement, and general advice and support. More on City Team assistance programs.
Short term housing, eviction prevention, and homeless assistance is available in Alameda County California. Several non-profits, charities and other agencies help people access low income housing and assist the homeless with re-housing services. Receive everything from case management, shelter, employment counseling, to referrals to programs in Oakland and the county that may help with paying security deposits or rent. More details on Alameda County transitional housing.
Alameda County Community Development Agency - Housing and Community Development Department provides low interest loans or cash grants can be paid out for home repairs and improvement. Most of the aid is offered as part of the Fix Your Home Construction Program
Emergency repairs can include plumbing, electrical, toilets, railings, water heaters, or furnaces. A focus is on seniors and those with special needs. The government agency may also have information on other housing assistance programs, including federal and state of California resources. 224 W Winton Avenue, Hayward, California 94544. Dial 510-670-5404. Or find more details on government home repair assistance.
Alameda County Social Services Agency can offer one-time critical needs or housing assistance to help stabilize a family facing a crisis. Funds may be offered for security deposits for households that just faced an eviction, delinquent rent or mortgage payments, and maybe even limited utility bill assistance to prevent a shut-off. Priority is for elderly individuals over the age of 60, families with children under 18, and the disabled.
The agency also has a Veterans Service Office (VSO). This can provide veterans, their immediate family members, dependents, spouses and survivors with benefits information and assistance. This can include financial aid as well. Call the agency at 510-272-3700.
Abode Services is administers the Support Services for Veteran Families. This is a housing assistance program for veterans (and their families) and also offers them other support as well. For those that qualify, they can receive aid in the form of security deposit, rental assistance, and even utility bill help. Other support may be affordable child care, transportation or gasoline, free food, and help with moving costs and needs. This is for very low income/homeless veterans and comes with other conditions. 510-657-7409.
Free legal aid in Alameda County – Firms, such as Bay Area legal, offer help to low income qualified families. Receive information on applying for housing or government benefits such as disability, Medicaid, or CalFresh. Lawyers can help address unsafe housing or evictions, as well as provide other assistance including mediation. More Oakland free legal programs.
BFHP, or Berkeley Food and Housing Project, also offers this resource from SSVF as part of Roads Home. Assistance is for veterans facing eviction and homelessness. Or it can help those that are currently seeking a new home in Alameda County. Get help in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing or an apartment. Not only can rants (or in some cases loans) be issued for a rent payment, but job training, placement, medical care and more support is available. Call 855-862-1804 to learn about Rapid Re-housing assistance and homeless prevention from SSVF.
Legal and financial help in Alameda County can stop evictions and rehouse the homeless. Several agencies are allocated federal government grants from HUD. The services are used to pay for a number of housing needs, including free legal aid from attorneys, funds to pay for move-in costs, and case management. Some programs focus on ex-prisoners or the long term homeless. Click more information on homeless prevention in Alameda County.
Lao Family Community Development, Inc. - Seniors can get help. Low-income, isolated Vietnamese and Mien senior citizens in Oakland and Alameda County may qualify. The non-profit can offer counseling, English and citizenship assistance, Medicare and Medical bill assistance, health and safety education, SSI, housing, and more. Address is 2325 East 12th Street, Oakland, California 94601, dial 510-533-8850.
Free back to school supplies, uniforms, and hygiene items are available. Students from K to 12th grade can get help, regardless of income (but as long as donations allow). There are many charities and non-profits that operate these services. Find free back to school supply giveaways in Alameda County.
Free Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving meals and gifts are available from charities across Oakland California and the county. There are resources for all religions, faiths, and ages, with a focus on children as well as the elderly. Find information on free hot meals and gifts from donations. More information on free holiday assistance Alameda County.
St. Mary's Center will help residents over the age of 55 locate housing, provide financial support, health services and assists with basic needs. Among programs, they runs the Shelter Plus Care Program for the community, which allows the homeless to receive emergency housing and support services. Legal aid and much more is available too, including a winter shelter. 925 Brockhurst Street, Oakland, CA 94608, dial 510-923-9600 for information, or more on senior programs from Saint Mary’s Center.
Alameda programs and agencies that are available to all California residents
California has several other assistance programs, resources and agencies that help people all across the state, including in Alameda County and Oakland.
There is a demand for IT and high tech skills in the Oakland and Bay area. National non-profits help individuals gain these skills. Most resources are free. Find details on computer coding from non-profits.
Housing resources and rent help is available
Over 10 communities in the County and greater Bay area often pay out federal government funds that are targeted at renters. Funds are first come-served. There may be government grants for tenants who need help paying rent and who may be in danger of being thrown out of their apartments. They also help mortgage holders and home owners too. The federal government funds are part of the nationwide Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program or ESG grants.
The Salvation Army (for referrals dial (510) 383-9300 or 510-437-9437) and Everyone Home will be distributing funds in Alameda county. The goal is to make it easy for families to obtain the money for any bills or rental expenses they have, and keep people in their homes.
Of course there are program requirements. Applicants will need to provide proof of their outstanding rent obligation, expenses, and need proof of their income. Not every family in Oakland or the county can be assisted from the program.
If an individual or family is approved for housing assistance, they can get up to three months of full rent or up to 18 months of part of their rent paid. But the housing assistance doesn’t stop there. In addition, they can get help with other expenses that come with renting, such as utility bills, security deposits, and more. The money is paid directly to the landlord or utility company.
The government estimates that thousands of families in Alameda County alone are eligible for the rent assistance program. As the cost of housing is very high. Read more on the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.
The City of Fremont has partnered with the ECHO Housing ((510) 836-4826), which is a non-profit agency, to operate the Rental Assistance Program (RAP). This program will assist low and moderate-income individuals and families with paying for delinquent rent, security deposits, or move-in costs.
The RAP program will assist renters by providing a loan guarantee that can be used to help pay for security deposits or also delinquent rent. The tenant will then makes payments directly to the landlord until the amount owed is paid in full. If you are interested in learning more or applying, contact Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity, Inc. (ECHO Housing), which is located at 770 A St., Hayward, California. The non-profit offers other housing resources as well, including foreclosure counseling, loans for paying security deposits, and the rental assistance program. Read more on ECHO Housing.
Another place people can turn to for rent help is Catholic Charities of the East Bay's. They have a new housing assistance office at Eastmont Town Center. Financial aid is generally offered as a result of federal government funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money is flowing to the nonprofit agency, and the funds are being used to help renters stay in their homes and get back on their feet.
Unlike other rental and housing assistance programs that primarily assist people without shelter find housing, these federal government homeless prevention funds are being used specifically to help people catch up on back, unpaid rent and avoid becoming homeless in the first place. The program is taking a pro-active approach.
To qualify for the rent assistance, applicants to the program need to have a limited income. In addition, they must be facing an eminent risk of eviction from their current home. The money that is paid to applicants needs to be used for paying rent and/or utilities. After someone is accepted into the program, each client will be assigned a case manager to help them work their way back to rental stability.
Currently, the people who are applying for financial aid need help for a variety of reasons. They may have lost their job, have had a reduction in income, or maybe they have fallen ill and had to take unpaid time off. Perhaps the person, or their family, has had unexpected medical bills to pay Some are even still working and just need a little financial assistance to catch up on energy bills or rent. The program is designed to help people for up to 18 months, and is not meant to be a never ending charity program. To contact Catholic Charities call 510-768-3100.
Medical needs and free health care programs
Two places to turn to to get access to low cost health insurance, and access to free community clinics and other medical facilities, include the Alameda Health Consortium and the East Bay Agency for Children ((510) 268-3770). Both of these agencies work to extend health insurance to individuals who currently do not have coverage. They can also refer people to other medical assistance programs.
In addition, the East Bay Agency for Children runs an on-site Community Mental and Dental Clinic, in partnership with La Clinica de la Raza. The free sliding fee health care clinic is open two days each and every week and it also provides physical exams, general check ups and vaccinations required to enroll in school and it can provide other needed treatments. There are other resources too, including health care for uninsured in California,
Free or low cost dental care is offered too, for adults or children in Alameda County. There are a number of volunteer dentists as well as clinics that offer general care as well as surgeries (if needed). The uninsured may also be assisted, and find free or low cost dental clinics in California.
Foreclosure advice, home buying and counseling
The Alameda County and Oakland Catholic Charities runs their own foreclosure prevention programs, and can also refer people to other non-profit agencies, government programs, and other resources. The provide one-on-one foreclosure counseling for those homeowners that are facing foreclosure or other mortgage default problems, and various form of assistance is provided to borrowers. Call (925) 825-3099, or click here to learn more about foreclosure assistance in California.
Another agency is Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) (phone (510) 271-8443) works closely with low income and otherwise vulnerable Oakland Homeowners. Qualified individuals can get help saving their home and from foreclosure. The agency offers individual foreclosure counseling and prevention, workshops, advice, and telephone counseling and referral services to various mortgage and foreclosure programs.
Borrowers across the region are supported by several other organizations, charities, and government programs. Locate more Oakland foreclosure counseling agencies that also include Alameda County.
Legal aid and assistance in Oakland CA area
Several non-profit firms across the area provide access to lawyers if you can’t afford one. The legal programs that are offered can help people with a wide variety of issues. For example, if you are faced with losing your home to a foreclosure, need eviction prevention services, mediation, are being harassed by debt collectors, are undergoing domestic issues, these firms may be able to help. A few of the places to turn to for free legal help include Bay Area Legal Aid (510) 663-4744), East Bay Community Law Center ((510) 548-4040) and the National Housing Law Project ((510) 251-9400).
Law Center For Families - Provides free legal advice to low-income people in Alameda County. The organizations was formed from Legal Aid Society of Alameda County and Community Law Center. It is based in Oakland. Dial (415)451-9562
Ways to reduce debt and improve credit
If you need help dealing with unpaid debts, the Oakland California based Consumer Credit Counselors / Money Management Inc. (phone (510) 729-6960) may be able to help. The non-profit credit counseling agency can help people create a budget, enter a debt management program, and deal with unpaid bills, including for credit cards and auto loans. Learn more about pros and cons of debt management plans, or call the credit counselors.
Alameda County families are relying on credit cards more and more to make ends meet. Many need help paying credit card debts or repairing credit. Banks and lenders offer assistance and there are free credit counseling agencies too. As one option, read about debt settlement for credit cards.
By Jon McNamara
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