Allegheny County and Pittsburgh public assistance programs.

Allegheny County families may be able to qualify for public assistance. Government administered programs can help low income individuals, families, seniors, and the disabled access social services and obtain help for paying for their basic needs. Receive public assistance for food, medical care, energy bills, and much more. Allegheny County also has programs that can help people find employment or access job training.

Early Head Start, Head Start and Pre-K Counts are various forms of Early Childhood Education available in Allegheny County Pennsylvania. This government program provides children who range in age from newborn to five years of age and other children with a comprehensive, flexible program that can help respond to and reinforce the unique strengths and needs of each individual family and child. Call 1-866-214-KIDS

Financial assistance for child care costs and expenses may be provided. This service is run in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and is available for working mothers who meet income requirements and other criteria. Call 412-261-CARE (2273)

Allegheny County Employment and Job Training services – Programs offered include the Senior Training and Employment Program (STEP) as well as CareerLink.

  • STEP provides training opportunities and work experience to residents who are age 55 and older who meet program income guidelines. Individuals who apply and are enrolled in the program receive twenty hours of training/work experience in government agencies or non-profits and are paid minimum wage for their work. In addition to obtaining this experience and job training, enrollees receive access to case managers and others who can assist them in securing either part time or full time employment in the private sector.
  • CareerLink offers universal access to job training and employment services. DHS partners with a variety of non-profit community organizations and government agencies to deliver services to both job seekers and employers across Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. CareerLink also provides intensive workforce development services for targeted groups including homeless individuals and offenders as well as ex-offenders. Low income adults and dislocated workers may qualify for vocational training in occupations for which there is a demand in the greater Pittsburgh region.





TANF and Food Stamp/SNAP recipients can also access specialized job training services and programs. The primary resource is the EARN program. This was created by the government to help persons who are recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, social services or cash assistance from TANF. EARN can help them get a job, increase their skills or get a better job so they can earn more than they receive from the government and any public assistance. You need to be referred to EARN from your Allegheny County Assistance Office (CAO) caseworker. Receive help with improving basic academic skills to assisting with transportation and child care during the first six months of your employment. Those are just some examples of the social services and aid offered by EARN.

Allegheny County Pennsylvania is supported by a number of Family Support Centers. The government run and supported locations offer a wide range of social services and public assistance to low income families across the region. They can nurture, protect and strengthen families in the area, and direct them to financial support and case management.

In general, the Family Support Centers can provide low income and struggling people with the support and resources they need to pay bills over the short term, and gain self-sufficiency over the mid to long term. While each of the over 30 centers serve primarily families with children ages birth to five years, they provides a core of social services as well to the needy at large. Contact a center for child development support; Career-readiness training; Child care; Clothing and furniture exchange; Health insurance and medical support and other aid.

Some services that are more so called optional, and may or may not be provided by the centers are as follows. English as a Second Language (ESL); Housing assistance; Transportation; Literacy support; and Substance abuse support.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or Food Stamps, are provided in Allegheny County. This public food assistance program can help people buy food and groceries. Other forms of aid disbursed can also help low-income households maintain more nutritious diets by increasing their overall food purchasing power for all eligible participants.  The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare provides SNAP food benefits.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – Another resource for obtaining health, food and nutrition. This is a public health and supplemental nutrition program for low income residents who are non-breastfeeding women up to six months post-partum; pregnant women; breastfeeding women up to 12 months postpartum; infants and children up to five years of age and others who have a medical/nutritional risk. Call 412-350-5801

Allegheny County Emergency Food Assistance Programs can distribute government surplus commodities, donations and purchased food to local food banks and pantries. These pantries then distribute it to the needy in the community. Call Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania at 412-734-9330, or dial Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFA) at 412-681-1121





Low Income Home Energy assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a government assistance program, but it is offered in Pennsylvania too. The program has two different components for individuals and families who live on a limited income. This first component is cash for regular monthly bills, and this can help pay utility bills during the late autumn and heating expenses during the winter months.

The second component of LIHEAP is for a crisis. This service can help a family address an emergency and to keep a crisis from becoming worse. For example, public assistance from the program can help Allegheny County households if they are experiencing a heating emergency caused by the utility or heating service to the home being turned off. Aid can help those being without fuel or heating oil, if someone has broken heating equipment or if a homeowner has leaking lines which must be fixed or replaced, and more. In these cases the LIHEAP crisis program can make one-time cash payment to address the problem.

Home Weatherization is administered by the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh. This is another federal program that can help people save money on energy bills, and it is available for those who qualify and meet income limits.

Food assistance is also offered for seniors and older individuals in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. A few different non-profit and public programs are in operation as listed below.

  • Meals for Older Adults is offered for persons who are 60 years of age or older. The meals are available for those who are unable to shop for themselves or prepare meals, and the objective is to offer these seniors assistance with obtaining meals.
  • Apply for Farmer’s Market Vouchers by dialing 412-350-5460. Income qualified older individuals in Allegheny County can receive up to $20 in vouchers that can be used to purchase fresh produce from many of the farmer’s markets located in Allegheny county during the summer and autumn months. As with most resources, the supply of vouchers is limited, and the program usually starts in June of each year.
  • Free Food for Seniors is another service to try. Call 412-460-3663, ext. 308. This can provide a monthly food allotment to income qualified older adults. The type of food is extensive, and the monthly assortment can include peanut butter, canned vegetables, fruit, juices, canned chicken, cheese, evaporated milk, cereal, and pasta.

CHIP, or Children’s Health Insurance Program, is offered across Pennsylvania. All uninsured children up to age 18 years old can qualify for public health insurance. This is offered regardless of their parents’ income or background. There may be some conditions, such as in some cases, the child must be uninsured for six months prior to enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. A number of private health insurance companies partner with CHIP to allow children to receive prescriptions, immunizations, and vision exams. Get referrals and assistance in visiting dentists and doctors across Allegheny County. The cost for this health care coverage is based on the applicants income and ranges from free to about $150 per month per child. There may be some co-pays for some bills and services. Call 1-800-986-KIDS (5437)

Low income Allegheny County residents can receive medical care from the publicly funded Medical Assistance or Medicaid program. This government service provides free health care coverage to low-income residents. You can dial the County Assistance Office at 412-565-2146 for more information or to apply. Read more medical bill assistance.

Medical Assistance Transportation Program – Provides non-emergency and low-cost medical transportation to residents of Allegheny County who have a valid Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Medical Assistance Card. Call 1-888-547-6287




Senior citizens can receive free bus passes. The Port Authority has programs that can allow Allegheny County residents who are 65 years of age and older, to ride free on fixed-routes using local public transportation such as trolleys, buses, and rapid-transit lines.

Allegheny County DHS can be reached at 412-350-5701. Call for information, details on the application process, and other support.


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