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Assistance programs Champaign County.

Find how to get emergency financial help from government DHS grants, charities, or churches in Champaign County. The agencies can help with paying bills (electric or utility); housing (rent, deposits or mortgages); food (free groceries and summer meals) as well as much more. There are even clinics that provide free prescription medications, medical bill help, dental care, or items such as Christmas gifts for kids or school supplies for students.

There are many housing programs too. Whether it is free furnace or heating system repairs to low cost apartments or homes, the low income can have their basic needs met. Find short and long term financial assistance in the Champaign County area.

Programs from Community Action

Champaign County Regional Planning Commission is the local community action agency (phone (217) 328-3313) and they offer several services and assistance programs.

  • Emergency Rent Assistance Program - This helps both the near-homeless and currently homeless individuals and households obtain housing, pay for rent and retain housing. Services provided in this emergency rent program include information and referral on Illinois and government programs, assistance with landlord negotiations, emergency rent assistance, and housing counseling.
  • Heating and utility bills - The federal government created Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to help eligible low-income households pay for utility and heating bills and other energy services.
  • Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) - this program is designed to help low income and other qualified residents save fuel and money on their energy bills. There are also free repairs to HVAC units or heating system. The program can also help with increasing the comfort of their homes or fixing a heating system. More on free furnace repairs near you.
  • Advocacy Program - This addresses housing, including provides guidance for the homeless and assistance for families facing eviction in Champaign. Work with a CCRPC case manager in locating an affordable apartment, and get referrals to programs to pay a security deposit fee or rent. Other support may be mediation as a form of eviction prevention or deferred interest loans for bills.




  • Scholarship programs - The Champaign Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) prov
    ides Scholarships that are awarded to assist low-income persons to obtain post-secondary and other education as a means to increase self-sufficiency and improve income.
  • Champaign County Regional Planning Commission offers various government and public programs for the low income as well as the working poor.  They include Head Start/Early Head Start, which are federal government funded programs for child and family development. Among other things it promotes family strengths for long term benefit to child and family, including dealing with health, social issues, and employment opportunities. This resource also can coordinate comprehensive health care, including nutrition services, medical, dental, and also mental health. The planning commission also refers and helps people sign up for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
  • Senior assistance is offered in coordination with non-profit community agencies. Among other services they can get help and information on financial and legal matters in Illinois and the region. Another option is the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Scholarships. These can be awarded to assist low-income persons and help them obtain post-secondary education as a means to increase self-sufficiency and future income. Minorities, single parent run households and the poor may get college paid for. Find more on financial help for the elderly in Illinois.

Call the commission at 1776 East Washington Street, Urbana, Illinois 61802, (217) 328-3313. For more details on the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission and their resources, click here. As they offer more grants, case management, and other resources. Continue with financial help from Champaign County Regional Planning Commission.

Information and possible financial assistance for bills in Champaign County

Salvation Army, Emergency Social Services of Champaign Illinois offers a wide range of assistance programs as well as counseling to the low income in the community. They may also provide the Warm Neighbors Program (AmerenIP) assistance, the H2O Project for IL American Water, $50 prescription assistance per year for patients, as well $50 clothing voucher. They are part of the Illinois Salvation Army organization.





There are free goods from the charity too. They may be Thanksgiving turkey dinners or Christmas gifts, or back to school supplies or Toys from Angel Tree. Emergency food, clothing, household items, and eve free furniture with Red Cross referral.

Another key focus of the Salvation Army in Champaign County Illinois is on coordinating employment, job training opportunities, and counseling. This is a form of assistance in overcoming struggles. Clients will be able to work with a dedicated case manager and work on long term solutions while they receive short term financial assistance. The goal is to help families in Champaign County regain self-sufficiency. Call (217) 373-7825 More details on Champaign County Salvation Army assistance programs.

Eastern Illinois Foodbank may be able to provide free food, groceries and other other household good and products to those in need. The location mainly supplies local pantries with government commodities and food. Those centers distribute the items to the Champaign community. Dial (217) 328-3663

Catholic Charities of Champaign Illinois (217.352.5179) may have a food pantry, emergency crisis intervention and assistance, and may be able to direct struggling families to other local assistance. There are programs that can help pay rent, utility and heating bills, and provide other forms of financial assistance. The Good Samaritan Program is also for the elderly and seniors, and gives them food, meals, and other supplies. More on Champaign County Catholic Charities assistance programs.

Family Service of Champaign County is a social service agency that offers numerous assistance programs. Among them include information on financial assistance, senior citizen programs, meals on wheels, and transportation. A program known as First Call for Help can direct people to local charities, government programs, and non-profits. The non-profit may also be able to provide limited emergency assistance available to qualifying families and individuals, including free food, rent, utilities, heating bills, prescription medicines, and limited transportation. Call (217)352-0099

Charity as well as non-profit rental assistance is targeted at families with an eviction notice and some form of income. Any financial aid comes with restrictions. When possible, the Champaign organizations can help with security deposits, coordinate local shelters, and offer money for housing. Find Champaign rental assistance programs.

Helping Hands of Mahomet offers food, clothing, and household products. The non-profit provides meals, used clothing and household items to those in need in the Mahomet-Seymour School District. It distributes government commodities on the third Saturday of each month. Call (217) 586-3392.





Energy, heating, and utility bill help from Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Call the Urbana agency at (217) 384-1226. They may be able to provide cash grants and other energy bill assistance programs.

Restoration Urban Ministries – Services include a food pantry, transitional housing, clothing and household goods, food pantry, and even a tutoring program. 1213 Parkland Ct Champaign, Illinois 61821, phone number (217) 355-2662

Housing Authority of Champaign County can provide elderly, disabled, and/or low-income families with rental assistance from programs such as section 8. There is also public housing, home buying programs in Champaign County, mediation and other services. Phone - (217) 378-7100

Stevick Senior Center provides emergency assistance, including food, limited financial assistance with transportation, utilities, and shelter/housing. Another option is the Food for Seniors program, which provides groceries to seniors in Urbana and Champaign Illinois who are in need of food. Some boxes may be delivered by volunteers too. The non-profit work closely with the Illinois Agency on Aging offices. Telephone (217) 352-5118

Free clothing, household items, furniture and basic supplies are available. There are as many as 10 thrift stores as well as clothing closets or furniture banks in the region. They help kids get school supplies, provide free coats to low income families, distribute free furniture and many other goods. Almost all of the goods will be given out at no cost to income qualified families. More on free clothing or furniture banks and school supplies in Champaign County.

Holy Cross Catholic Church has an Emergency Assistance program. The address is 405 W. Clark, Champaign, Illinois 61820. Phone (217) 352-8748. Holy Cross provides a food pantry and some limited emergency assistance to Champaign residents upon referral from a social service agency.

Consumer Credit Counseling of East Central Illinois - This non-profit organization provides budget counseling, foreclosure assistance and other debt management services to Champaign Illinois consumers. Call (217) 398-2227 or click here for more financial aid for paying debt programs.

Lincoln Land Credit Counseling - Another group that can provide counseling and debt management services for people, including the low income in financial trouble. Can help with everything from payday loans to credit card hardships, budgeting workshops, and other financial services. Call (217) 239-4360

St. Vincent de Paul has a few churches in Champaign County. The charity will give free food as well as hot meals. There may also be clothes, boots, free hygiene supplies, Meals on Wheels, and other basic needs. In rare cases short term emergency financial help may be offered. Find details on St. Vincent de Paul assistance programs in Champaign.







Champaign County Illinois Department of Human Services FCRC offers public assistance, cash assistance, and benefits such as SNAP or Medicaid. They help the poor, unemployed, elderly, and disabled get temporary assistance from the government. The grants can be used to pay for bills or basic needs, ranging from health-care to housing, energy costs and more.

Other benefits include SSI disability applications, case management, and job training. There are even resources in the region such as free lawyers for civil legal needs. Call Champaign County DHS at (217) 278-5605. Or the main office is 705 N Country Fair Dr, Champaign, IL 61821.

Champaign County Illinois based non-profits administer the rental assistance program using funds and grants provided by the federal government. This housing assistance, which is also known as the subsidized housing choice voucher program, will help qualified low income families and people who are struggling to pay their rent.

The demand for housing is very high. Only a limited number of families will be able to qualify, and there is often a waiting list in place. However there will be an all out effort to work intensively with people in Champaign to help them become economically self-sufficient and help them with all financial matters and bills

The primary agency to call for information or to apply at is the Housing Authority of Champaign County (phone (217) 378-7100). This organization is focused on providing vouchers and rental assistance to low-income, senior citizens, elderly and disabled individuals and families in the community.

Those Champaign families who participate in the program will be expected to contribute financially toward their monthly rent payments. However, the amount they need to pay will vary depending on factors such as their total household income, whether the tenant is going to school, whether they have a job, and other criteria. Those who enroll will also be signed up into case management and self-sufficiency program which will help them gain long term stability.

The main focus of the program is to provide rent assistance and to also provide guidance and possibly aid with other bills. Find additional ways to get rent assistance.

Food banks, free pantries, clothing, and assistance programs in Champaign

Open Door Neighborhood Services Ministry, University Place Christian Church, 403 S. Wright St. offers a food pantry.

Vineyard Food Ministry, 922 W. Bradley, Champaign, Illinois 61820, (217) 384-3081
Call for information on non-perishable emergency food, including government commodities, bread and produce for qualified clients.

St. Patrick's Church Food Pantry, 708 W. Main St., Urbana, IL 61801, (217) 383-1002

Wesley Evening Food Pantry allows people to “shop” for their own groceries, so they can pick out the food they most need and can use. (217) 344-1120

Grace Lutheran Church Food Pantry - Clients of this center can be served at most once a month and will be served surplus commodities as well as fresh and staple foods. 313 S. Prospect Ave., phone (217) 356-6232

Liberty Temple Church Food Pantry - Runs a small food pantry. The church will call First Call for Help for referrals. 1218 Holiday Dr., Champaign, Illinois 61821. Phone (217) 351-3546

Greater Holy Temple Church Pantry is based at 1408 W. Beslin, Urbana, IL 61801. The church operates a food pantry, holiday meals program and provides free clothing in child and adult sizes. A referral to the pantry is required. Call First Call for Help at 352-6300 for referral. In special cases, deliveries can be made to disabled individuals and seniors. Read more on pantries in Illinois.





Gibson Area Food Pantry - People who are referred may be able to use the pantry. Not open to the public…only referrals. The center is at 401 N. Church.

There are many other government food programs, soup kitchens and pantries in the county. Whether someone needs short term help, or long term solutions to preventing hunger, options are available. Click Champaign County free food pantries.

Affordable or free health and medical care

Contact or stop by the Frances Nelson Health Center, which has as its goal the mission of providing health and medical care accessible to all people is a primary goal of our Healthy Community Initiative. The services will be low cost, and high quality. (217) 356-1558.

The state of Illinois also has information on, and placement of, various other medical programs. There are free community clinics as well as health insurance policies. There is medical (and dental care) for the uninsured, adults or children. Another key focus is on helping with prescription drug costs, and many residents use pharmacy assistance programs. Learn more Patient Assistance Programs from drug companies.

By Jon McNamara














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