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If you need help with bills, contact a charity.

If you need help with paying your rent or bills, including your electric or heating bills, you can look into the following local or national charities as well as non-profit organizations. A number of other services may be provided by a charity, including free food, housing, basic needs such as clothing, and much more. The type of financial assistance provided will vary. However, various programs and services are offered by charities, as noted below.

Unfortunately the resources available from these organizations tends to be limited, and only a certain number of people can be assisted. This is mostly due to the high demand placed on the charities. Much of the aid is focused on people who are most at risk. This can include senior citizens, families with very young children, single moms, and the disabled. Even if a charity or non-profit can’t meet your needs, ask them for referrals. Or maybe they have a waiting list that you can sign up for.

National charities and organizations

In addition to the resources below, find a comprehensive listing of national charity organizations that offer aid and financial help in all states. You can receive help with paying for utility bills, medical expenses, rent, food, prescription medicines, or job training. The organizations also provide grants as well as many other types of financial aid. Find a list of national charity organizations.

Catholic Charities is a network of local churches and social service agencies. The organization will assist those that qualify, regardless of their religion, race, gender, or age. They focus on reducing poverty and strengthening families over the long term. Food, housing, emergency financial aid, clothing, holiday assistance and much more is offered. Learn more on assistance programs from Catholic Charities.

Charity health care services may be provided. Many hospitals, doctors, and medical providers offer some form of free medical or dental care to the very low income or uninsured. Read more free medical care.

Christmas and other holiday focused charities operate nationally. They do their best to help low income families, children, the lonely and vulnerable by giving free items and support. A number of services may be available, and learn how to get Christmas toys and gifts for free.




Churches provide a wide variety of assistance, including emergency rent help, food, assistance with paying utility and heating bills, health care, and more. A church near a family can be used for financial help, as they are increasing the number of aid programs administered in today’s difficult economy. Locate assistance from churches.

Community Action Organizations are local public and/or non-profit groups that provide various types of assistance to those in need. They can help with heating and utility bills, provide job training, rent payments, and various other services. Many also help low income families apply for government grants. More information on financial assistance from community action agencies.

Episcopal Church - This is a national organization, but the services run by each local parish vary. The charity supports the vulnerable and families living in poverty. Volunteers can provide basic needs such as personal hygiene items, clothing, hot meals, or food. Some of the parishes of this charity may also have more extensive support, even involving health clinics held by volunteers or loans to use for car repairs. Continue with services from Episcopal Church.

International Association of Jewish Free Loans - Regardless of religion, this charity organization can provide borrowers with access to funds for addressing an emergency. The loans will be interest free, which means there are no financing charges. The assistance from the non-profit can be used to pay for emergencies such as rent, car repairs, utility bills, housing, and medical expenses. Read Association Free Loans.

Love Inc. is a national, faith based charity. Each local center will partner with dozens of churches, non-profits and religious groups in an effort to help families that are facing a one time crisis with basic needs or overdue bills. Clients can receive referrals to resources such as food, Christmas and holiday programs, or clothing. Some Love charity locations may also coordinate emergency financial assistance for expenses such as rent, car repairs, or energy bills. Learn more Love Inc. programs.

Lutheran Social Ministry provides a number of social services to the elderly, low income, poor, unemployed, and disabled. The non-profit charity organization partners with community organizations and local municipalities to coordinate services. While the types of assistance provided vary by location, some charity sites will have food, emergency financial assistance, coordinate housing, funds for energy bills, and provide other support. Find more assistance from Lutheran Social Services.





Mortgage help is also offered by various agencies, charities, and government programs. This will usually include free counseling, referrals, and assistance in applying for state or federal government resources. There is both foreclosure advice as well as government sponsored mortgage assistance programs.

Non-profit credit counseling agencies operate in many cities and counties. These organizations will usually charge clients a small fee for their services. However, if your income is low enough, then the debt reduction and other financial services may be offered for free, as a charity type service. Find a listing of free or low cost non-profit credit counseling agencies.

Payday loans (or lower cost Salary Advance Loans) can provide you with cash overnight. Some non-profits work closely with credit unions and other lenders to provide short term cash. However this should always be looked upon as a last resort. Or if the struggling household is not interested in borrowing money, then a charity can offer them alternatives.

Or read about ways to get help with paying for prescription drugs or receive free medication. Hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and clinics offer income qualified patients with so called charity care or other forms of financial aid for paying for their medications.

Many charities are involved in applying for private and government grants. While the money may be used to pay for their own operations, sometimes they know of other programs for individuals. Get information on grants to help with paying bills.

Referrals may be offered. Contact a non-profit or charity in order to find information on government assistance programs offered by your state. Social workers and volunteers at many charities contain a wealth of knowledge on local resources. Local churches can also be a source of referrals to emergency assistance. In many cases, government grants are provided to help fund local charities and non-profits.

Saint Vincent De Paul - Tens of thousands of volunteers, or Venetians, work with this charity organization. They provide basic needs such as food and clothing, access to thrift stores, and more. As a last resort, when a family is in a crisis, limited financial assistance for paying bills (such as utilities or rent) may be offered. However that is very limited, as the charity organization focuses on other social services. Read Saint Vincent De Paul programs.

Salvation Army Centers - They operate from thousands of centers across the nation. The organization tries to feed the hungry, fight poverty, provides limited financial aid for bills in a crisis, and more. Case managers from the charity try to help people overcome their challenges. More on Salvation Army charity programs.

The Assistance League - This charity has hundreds of centers. While each location offers different resources and direct financial assistance is not usually available, they can generally help with the following. Call the charity for information on free school clothing and supplies, holiday gifts and meals, basic medical care, and assistance for seniors or children. The regional charity focuses on households with children, including single mothers or dads and can offer other aid. Learn more on Assistance League.





The Jewish Federation of North America works with hundreds of charities across the nation. Regardless of an individuals religion, they generally assist the less fortunate, unemployed, and elderly. Basic needs such as meals, eviction prevention, and utility assistance may be offered for a crisis. Other programs include education, case management, and job search assistance. Continue with Jewish Federation Financial assistance..

The Urban League assists the underserved and working poor. The focus of this non-profit charity organization is on providing clients with jobs, educational opportunities, affordable housing, and also ensuring that people have access to medical care. More on Urban League programs.

United Methodist Church provides help to the working poor from thousands of locations across the nation. While the specifics of each site will vary, the charity will generally offer free food and clothing as well as basic needs. Some of the churches that are part of UMC may offer shelter, school supplies, and help for the evicted and homeless. Other financial aid is offered as well from the non-profit charity ministry. More on services from United Methodist Church.

Volunteers of America provides human services nationwide. Most of the assistance is focused on homeless prevention and healthcare issues. Some of the other programs include job training, help for veterans, long term care, short term shelter, and much more. Volunteers from the charity support the elderly, less fortunate, and others that are struggling. Click to find help from Volunteers of America charity organization.

YMCA - This charity focuses on children, addressing hunger, and coordinating job training. Some of what may be offered, depending on location and state, includes affordable day care, free meals and snacks for children, job search assistance, and after school programs and care. The YMCA has charity centers in all states. Read programs from YMCA.

State specific organizations and charities

In addition to the statewide charities, many counties have county and local non-profit agencies that can be called upon in your time of need. Other local charity organizations can provide financial help just to people in that town or county. Find a listing of social service organizations, churches, as well as local charitable agencies, and learn how to apply for financial help from them.

Community action agencies are local non-profit organizations that provide struggling families as well as low and middle income people with resources, programs, grants, and other assistance. They provide both long term and short term help. Community action agencies are a tremendous resource to use for help.

There are numerous charities and assistance organizations that operate only in one state. These groups can provide various types of assistance, including help with utility bills, medical bills, free items for the poor, and other types of aid. Find the charities near you.







Non-profit law firms are located in most states and they provide free advice and legal representation. The organizations are funded by the federal government, and they can help with civil cases. Attorneys from the pro-bono firms address housing issues, foreclosures, credit and debt collection, domestic lawsuits, and much more. Read more free legal advice.

If the charities or programs can’t meet your needs, then find additional forms of financial aid that is offered by government organizations and agencies in your state that will help with paying bills. It is always suggested to contact as many agencies as possible and to be thorough in your search. Many charities and other organizations exist across the country and in your state, and they can offer you help in these difficult times.

By Jon McNamara

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