Arizona Short Term Crisis Services program.

The state works closely with community action agencies as well as local shelters to provide short term, temporary financial assistance for emergency needs. The program is known as Arizona Short Term Crisis Services (STCS). The resource is limited by nature, and is only open to qualified low income individuals and families who have unexpected as well as unplanned for emergency needs.

The program is a last resort and financial aid may be offered for people that cannot meet their needs using other private or public resources. In addition, applicants need to be at a point where their income prevents this from occurring. The goal is to help stabilize families who are faced with an immediate financial crisis or hardship situation. A number of conditions need to be met in order to qualify for financial help from STCS. Some of them include, but are not limited to, the applicant must:

  • Have a family member/child that is both under the age of 18 and that meets qualified legal resident or US Citizenship criteria. Of course the applicant must also be a state of Arizona resident.
  • Various income limits are in place as well. Arizona families that apply need to have a total gross household income that does not exceed 125% of the Federal Government Poverty Guidelines. Some flexibility may be in place in certain situations, including income can be slightly higher for applying households that include disabled or an elderly (defined as 60 years of age or older) individuals.
  • There are no guarantees that someone will receive help. Funding is limited. If you do qualify, at most someone can receive financial assistance once every 12 months.

A crisis is defined according to the STCS program as one or more of the following. It can be an unexpected loss of income from unemployment, medical emergency, or reduction in work hours. The applicant may have a situation that endangers the safety and health of the family. The individual may have a separation from the family that resulted from domestic violence. Or the Arizona family may be faced with an unforeseen event that makes it difficult to meet one’s expenses or pay bills/rent. In all cases the applicant will need to have proof of their emergency need or order to apply for assistance. They also need to be able to explain the need.

Types of help from STCS

Foreclosure or Eviction Prevention Assistance is provided. Community action agencies administer the Arizona Short Term Crisis Services (STCS) Program, and this is one component of what is offered. Temporary financial assistance, including for housing needs, may be offered for low income families experiencing an emergency need or a crisis, such as unexpected debts. You must have a dependent child in your home or apartment to receive this form of housing assistance.





The goal of the rent and eviction prevention programs is to limit or stop homelessness. In order to do this, a local agency may issue a grant from the program or arrange for general counseling. Sometimes the short term aid will be enough to pay some rent or other mortgage/housing costs.

The program may provide emergency, but temporary assistance to prevent homelessness from occuring anywhere in the state. It does this by helping with paying rent or mortgage payments. Or it can address outstanding debts that are a barrier to housing. Specifically, the following can be addressed. Applicants may be able to receive emergency shelter, utility bill and deposit assistance, or funds for security and rental deposits. STCS may also be able to provide help for any special needs that are related to securing or maintaining employment or new skills.

The request for rent and mortgage assistance may be the most common request from the Short Term Crisis Services program, as too many people in Arizona are faced with foreclosure or eviction. There is still a general housing crisis in Arizona. Homelessness can also technically be caused by a utility disconnection, so the program may have funds to pay energy bills too.

Financial aid may be provided in special circumstances if it will help an individual secure or maintain employment. This means the administering community action agencies can provide grants for expenses such as transportation, clothing, and maybe even gasoline or a buss pass. If lack of housing is a barrier to a job, then Short Term Crisis Services can pay for security deposits or rent to those who need a place to live.




All of the services are provided by non-profit community-based organizations in Arizona, including homeless and domestic violence shelters as well as Community Action Programs (CAPs). Funds and grants for these assistance programs are provided and paid for through a number of methods, including federal, state of Arizona and local government entities. Additional services for handling debts may also be provided by local faith-based and charitable organizations in the community. Find an agency to apply at for STCS and Click here.

This is not charity care, and assistance will be declined and not provided if qualifications are not met. The state can deny to help an applicant who has refused a job or if they have refused training for employment in the last 30 days. Also if someone is currently benefiting from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) diversion program then they will not qualify for aid. If an application to STCS is denied, then find additional government grants for debts.

Families and individuals must apply at a local Arizona CAP office or a homeless or domestic violence shelter as noted above. All cash and emergency payments are made by providing vouchers and payments directly to the vendor, landlord, or utility company. Applicants do not directly receive cash assistance from the Short Term Crisis Services program.




By Jon McNamara

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