Charleston County South Carolina Assistance Programs.
Low income families and those in an emergency can find churches, charities, or non-profits that offer financial aid. Find help with rent or security deposits, grants to pay electric or utility bills, free groceries from pantries, and even medical or dental care in Charleston County.
Learn where to apply for help with those bills or government assistance, and find how to get transportation, job training, free school supplies or Christmas gifts and other support. There are also loans for low credit borrowers along with free clothe, mortgage and homebuying programs and other aid.
Housing and energy bill assistance
Get rent, mortgage, and utility bill assistance in Charleston South Carolina from the Shelternet program. It was created almost 20 years ago and it provides assistance to an average of 1000 people per year. The program relies on the support of about 100 social service agencies that are located throughout the Charleston area.
They provide a variety of aid, including grants to help pay rent, low income housing, ways to get help with paying utility bills, and more. They are one of the top organizations in the Charleston area. Contact them at (843) 856-4125.
Homeowners who are facing a foreclosure, or who are behind on their mortgage, can receive free legal advice and counseling from a clinic that is offered 4 times per month. Read more South Carolina foreclosure assistance.
Charleston County Human Services Commission (phone (843) 724-6760) offers this federal government funded program. It offers low to moderate income households free energy saving upgrades to their homes. For example, homeowners may be able to receive additional floor and wall insulation, weather stripping, caulking, and other updates. All of the improvements are free to applicants, and they can help people reduce their utility bills by hundreds of dollars per year.
Job training and employment
Project Pride (phone number 843-724-6760) is another resource. The goal is to remove barriers to employment by providing the necessary resources for low-income residents of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. For example, they can provide applicants with some job skills, access to computers and other equipment to find jobs, resume review and more. The goal is to help people succeed in the job search or job application process. Contact the Charleston County Human Services Commission for information on this program as well.
Charleston South Carolina area charities
There are a variety of other charities and non-profit organizations in the Charleston area. They include.
Association for the Blind: This group pays for the purchase of prescription eyeglasses for needy residents of greater Charleston. (843) 723-6915.
Berkeley Seniors Inc.: Provides for the purchase of meals and other food assistance for eligible homebound seniors in Berkeley County. (843) 761-0390.
Carolina Hearing Aid Bank: Grants and funds for the purchase of hearing aids for those who cannot afford them and are not served by any other agency or government program.
Charleston Jewish Social Services: The agency provides emergency food assistance and free mental health counseling free of charge. Please contact 843-614-6600.
My Sister's Smile/My Neighbor's Smile: Offers dental services, cleaning, and more for victims of domestic violence.
Old Fort Baptist Church - CIFC Program: Has an on site medical clinic and food pantry.
Operation Home: Program that provides for the repair and upgrades to the home of people on very low incomes.
Rural Mission Inc.: This charity offers emergency home repairs and updates for the needy living in unsafe conditions and expansion of the mission's home repair and maintenance education program. Phone (843) 768-1720.
Several charities offer holiday assistance to the region, including at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Low income families as well as single mothers can apply for free toys for their child or a box of food. More on Charleston County SC free holiday programs.
Emergency financial aid
If you or your family is facing a hardship, East Cooper Community Outreach (849.9220) offers several assistance programs.
- They offer food, clothing, and financial assistance for rent and utility bills.
- Dental services and cleanings are also offered for low income and needy residents.
- Free health care and medications. Community Outreach runs the Med-I-Assist program, which partners with pharmaceutical patient assistance programs (PAPs) and provides needy people with free medications.
- A free food pantry is also on site, along with many services around paying down debts, payday loans, and general financial literacy.
- ECCO is a leading non-profit in the region. Read more on East Cooper Community Outreach.
Another non-profit agency to turn to for help is Tricounty Family Ministries. This organization runs offers several services and resources. They provide medical care, food assistance, free clothing, counseling and referrals to federal government and South Carolina assistance programs. There is also information on low cost or free transportation, shelter, financial assistance for rent and utility bills, and other vital services to the less fortunate in the Tricounty area. 747-1788. Learn more on Tricounty Family Ministries assistance programs.
The Charleston County Human Services Commission (843-724-6760) may have limited financial assistance to help people pay utility bills, rent, and other expenses. They also run the federal government funded LIHEAP program in South Carolina.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach – Programs cover Johns, James, and Wadmalaw Island residents only. Some of the resources include prescription expense assistance, a free food pantry, GED prep classes. In addition, apply for financial assistance at most every year (12 months). Help for utilities such as water, electric, and sewer bills. They also run a Benefit Bank Site, in which a counselor can help clients to determine if they are eligible for government programs such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), TANF, and Children's Health Insurance. 1684 Brownswood Rd., Johns Island, South Carolina 29455, dial (843) 559-4109
Crisis Ministries – A resource known as Project Prevent can help with paying rent and the non-profit offer funds for utility bill assistance if you have a shut-off notice or eviction notice. A primary health clinic is also on site. They offer financial support, cash grants and low interest loans for medical needs, housing and other emergency bills for the needy in Charleston. Address is 573 Meeting St., Charleston, South Carolina 29403, call (843) 723-9477.
Telamon Corporation – Trident – Supports only migrant workers. The non-profit organizations provides assistance for migrant workers with providing food, groceries, employment opportunities, gas/bus fare, job training, and rent and utility help. Trident One Stop Center, 1930 Hanahan Rd. St 200, Charleston, SC 29406, call (843) 574-1864
Homeless prevention and rehousing services can be contacted when a family is in either rent arrears or has an eviction notice. There are options that can help, including the following.
- Lease on Life provides legal aid, case management, and stability services.
- Charleston tenants showing the ability to pay future rent and housing costs can apply for government grants.
- Programs can also help the homeless move into a new, low income apartment. More on Charleston eviction help.
Trident Area Agency on Aging – Like most agencies, very limited funds. When funding permits may have rent and/or mortgage assistance. Programs are for people over 60 and their families. Can provide specific information and referral for senior citizens and disabled people, and offers facilities such as the benefit bank. 1360 Truxtun Ave., Ste. 105, Charleston, South Carolina 29405, telephone (843) 554-2275
Senior citizens and retirees continues to move to Charleston Mt Pleasant, and other areas. They often need financial help. Or they need to learn about activities such as local trips, free meals, or how to apply for Medicare or other senior programs. There are many national and local options out there, and find a list of financial aid programs for senior and retirees.
Carolina Children's Charity – The charity organization provides financial assistance with bills and expenses to families with children with birth defects and/or childhood diseases. Can assist qualified people with services related to child's birth defect/disease, e.g., prescription medication, health and medical care, therapies, equipment, prescription eyeglasses, etc. 1064 Gardner Road, Ste. 112B, Charleston, South Carolina 29407, call (843) 769-7555
Neighborhood House is a Johns Island social service outreach ministry. Some of the assistance administered includes a clothes closet, food pantry, G.E.D. preparation, basic skills training, computer education, direct emergency financial assistance for expenses such as rent or utilities. They also operate a free soup kitchen five days per week. 1684 Brownswood Road, Johns Island, SC 29455, call (843) 559-4109.
Stella Maris Catholic Church Society of St. Vincent de Paul is located on Sullivan’s Island. Assistance provided includes rent, utilities, prescription and mortgage assistance, food vouchers and more. Call (843) 814-1229. Also serves Isle of Palms residents.
Programs for water bills are located across the county. The main resource in Charleston South Carolina is the Good Neighbor Program. This can provide income qualified renters and homeowners that are facing a crisis with payments plans or cash assistance for paying their water bills. Find water bill assistance in Charleston South Carolina.
Charleston Department of Social Services processes applications for government benefits and public assistance. Some examples of what is available in the county and South Carolina includes SNAP food stamps, cash assistance from TANF, low income energy bill assistance (LIHEAP), and job training. Low income parents may even receive vouchers to use to pay for child care. Click more information on public assistance in Charleston County.
Coastal Catholic Charities offers support in the city, North Charleston and nearby communities. Programs include Save a Smile dental assistance, prescription medications, free vision care and eye glasses as well as basic medical check ups for the uninsured. They operate food pantries at churches, help immigrants, and may have referrals to other charities in Charleston County for emergency financial aid. Find more details on programs from Charleston Catholic Charities.
Charleston Area Community Development Corporation focuses on homeowner programs. It can help provide low income families with down payment assistance, owner occupied rehabilitation, and counseling. No help is offered for foreclosures. 2146 Dorchester Rd., North Charleston, SC 29405, (843) 747-3311
World Overcomers Ministries can provide referrals to other non-profits and government programs such as ShelterNet. This can provide emergency rent and energy bill assistance. A voucher is also offered to Goodwill for clothing. 6060 Rivers Ave., North Charleston, South Carolina 29406, dial (843) 746-5180.
Salvation Army Service Unit - Charleston County - Assistance programs provide support to struggling as well as lower income residents. There is gently used clothing, free food (however no support if receiving food stamps), rent help (5 days from due date, due now or late), household and free personal items. The church - charity can also offer referrals to the Benefit Bank site, cooling bills and energy help (utility bill must be late, disconnect notice, be or already disconnected).
Note that the applicant needs to have some income (job, self employed, disability, etc.) to receive financial assistance as these are not charity programs. Documentation of a significant decrease in one's income in the last 60 days is required as well for help. There is also free furniture, school items for kids, and also toys or gifts for Christmas. Call (843) 747-5271. More information on Salvation Army in Charleston County South Carolina.
Loan programs - In an emergency, when charitable funds and other forms of financial assistance have been used, a cash loan may provide assistance. The money may help pay for everything from debt consolidation to rent, car repairs, transportation, and much more. Continue with emergency loans in Charleston.
CHA - Charleston Housing Authority administers a few government programs, such as section 8 and vouchers that are used by veterans from HUD VASH. Another services is self-sufficiency from FSS. Most of the resources have waiting lists and are limited. Continue with Charleston housing authority.
Clothing distribution centers can offer either free items or sell goods at a low price. Each location will have income guidelines in place, and the resources at the Charleston County centers are limited. But they may have the following.
CCHSC, or the Charleston County Human Services Commission, is a leading non-profit community action agency. They offer several financial assistance programs and coordinate employment services as well. Some of the resources in South Carolina include the following.
- Help for bills and housing expenses. This can include cash assistance for electric, water and rental costs, including possible security deposit assistance.
- Free food and basic needs from the Human Services Outreach program.
- Information and referrals to LIHEAP, home repair loans for seniors and the low income, and more.
- Several other programs are operated, including information on job training, SNAP food stamps, Medicaid and other aid. Read Charleston County Human Services Commission.
Low income housing, rent help, and shelter - Low income families and individuals can receive housing assistance from non-profits and government programs. Services range from emergency rent help to assistance in finding safe, affordable housing units. Find listing of Charleston housing and rent programs.
School giveaway programs and donation services help the less fortunate in both Charleston as well as nearby counties. Students, including those from the city as well as North Charleston, can get clothes, book bags, general school supplies, and more. Find a list of Charleston SC school supply programs.
Many churches in the region, both the city and North Charleston and nearby towns, help low income families. They may give out free food, clothes, fans or AC units during the summer, some emergency funds and much more. the goal is to help immigrants, the poor, minorities, and others in need. Locate financial help from Charleston County churches.
Charleston County South Carolina statewide financial aid
Low income families as well as people living in poverty can get other support as well. There are state programs for everything from paying rent to energy bills as well as medical care.
Foreclosure and mortgage help in Charleston
Homeowners in Charleston South Carolina can call Foreclosure Counseling Program at (888) 320-0350. This housing/foreclosure program helps clients and homeowners throughout the county determine what strategies are best for their situation to prevent foreclosure and save their home. The HUD certified housing/financial counselors will discuss these strategies, and all available options, and develop a plan to get people back on track with their mortgage payments.
Get advice and methods to address other financial issues as well, such as credit card debt, budgeting, etc. Homeowners can be linked with an attorney from a variety of public assistance programs, non-profit law firms or pro bono legal sources to help them during the foreclosure crisis. Learn about all federal government and South Carolina mortgage help programs. Read more SC mortgage hardest hit fund and foreclosure programs.
Another option is Consumer Credit Counseling Services - Trident Area, which helps Charleston SC homeowners and consumers. Receive debt assistance, information on mortgage assistance programs, and debt management plans. (843) 735-7802
St.Vincent dePaul at Christ Our King Catholic Church - They provide financial aid for utility, rental and other bills for Mt. Pleasant residents in Zip code 29464 from the Cooper River up to Six Mile Road. Our Help Line is 843-727-1569. Leave a voicemail and a volunteer will call back.
Legal aid and services
If you need help with a civil legal issue, Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services, Inc. offers clients intake services, and the legal programs are for low-income Charleston County residents. Attorneys can provide free help with Housing (Landlord/Tenant and Mortgage Foreclosure Defaults), Predatory Lending and Education, Rent eviction advice, and Family Issues. All the programs are for civil legal issues, and the non-profit firm gives free legal advice and counsel on those issues. Click here to learn more, or call the firm at 843-853-6456. Or find other free lawyers in South Carolina.
Free food programs
Lowcountry Food Bank, Inc. provides free food and groceries to thousands of families per year. They partner with other local charities and food distribution centers to distribute the food. Or learn about Thanksgiving and Christmas meal services. Call the food bank at (843) 747-8146.
- Tricounty Family Ministries Food and Clothing Services provides food and clothing, diapers, baby formulas, and more. (843) 747-1788.
- Market Assembly Church Food Pantry ((843) 821-2600) runs a food pantry.
- Evening of Prayer Food Pantry, which can be reached at (843) 747-7722, is another place to turn to for free food and meals.
- If those locations can’t help you, find additional Charleston County South Carolina food pantries.
Community and medical clinics
North Charleston Harvest Free Medical Clinic - Is a free medical clinic. (843) 747-3526. Click here for other ways to get help with medical bills, including alternative for free medical care from facilities such as Wal Greens.
MUSC Free Medical Clinic at ECCO, which is based in Mount Pleasant. Phone (843) 876-7097
East Cooper Community Outreach Dental Clinic - Dental care for patients without health insurance. (843) 849-9220
Dream Center Clinic - Helps people in North Charleston South Carolina. Phone (843) 225-1115.
Too many people struggle to pay their medical bills. The fact is facilities such as Roper, MUSC, or others can sometimes bill incorrectly too. There are assistance programs for that too and things that patients can look out for. Read more on how to find medical billing errors.
If the medical programs and community clinics referenced above can’t provide the help you need, there are several other health centers in the area. They all have services for the low income and uninsured, including check ups, prescription medications, dental cleanings and more. Locate additional Charleston free community clinics.