Cuyahoga County assistance programs.

Find how to apply for financial assistance in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Struggling families, seniors, and the low income can get help with rent payments or energy bills, a free box of food, bus passes, and even prescription drugs or medical bill assistance. Find help with paying those bills and other from charities as well as non-profits or churches in the region.

Locate help with rent, utility, and heating bills

Low and moderate income families and individuals of Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Ohio can get help from The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC). They are a private, non-profit organization that is committed to providing people assistance and resources to help people make it thru short term needs they may have. The services they offer are listed below, as well as their phone number.

Rent, mortgage, and foreclosure assistance

Cleveland and Cuyahoga County residents who may be facing foreclosure, eviction, or homelessness may be eligible to receive financial assistance and grants that can be used for paying rent and security deposits, mortgage payments, delinquent real estate and property taxes, or utility and heating bill payments. CEOGC operates a Housing Services office that offers applicants counseling, provides financial assistance and grants, and it can help to identify safe, affordable housing for people who need to move or find a home.

Payments from the program are made directly to landlords, lenders, and housing managers on behalf of the eligible homeowners and tenants. In some limited cases the resident applying for help my be provided a loan from CEOGC. Ohio homeowners have several other places they can turn to in order to get mortgage help, including assistance from banks, the federal government, and other agencies.

Grants for utility and heating bills from the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (EHEAP)

As everyone knows, the Cleveland Ohio area can have a cold, long winter. During the winter heating season as designated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (which normally runs from November to March), the Housing Services Office accepts applications from the thousands of eligible Cuyahoga County and Cleveland residents who need emergency payments to pay for their energy needs.





Applications are needed, and the annual allotment of funds from CEOGC is limited. But there may be money to pay for heating and gas bills, electricity for forced air heat, and bulk fuels such as heating oil, coal, and wood. The application period normally begins on November 1st and ends March 31st every year.

Help for paying summer cooling bills

In addition to the winter program mentioned above, aid is also available from CEOGC during the summer months. Grants and funding may be available to help low and moderate income Cuyahoga County residents pay for the electricity that is necessary to keep their homes cool. In addition, funds are also available to provide fans and even air conditioners for those people who are suffering from illnesses that can be life threatening when summer temperatures are extremely high. The application period for the summer cooling bill program, which is also part of the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (EHEAP), normally begins on June 1st and ends August 31st of each year.

Job search assistance, training and placement

The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland offers assistance to job seekers in a resource room that is equipped with computers, a fax machine, and telephones that are accessible to help job seekers search for and apply for job openings, and also follow-up with local employers. In addition to the self service resources offered, job seekers may also be able to receive one-on-one support and counseling during their job searches and they may able be able to receive some direct referrals to employers who have posted their job notices and openings with the program. Candidates may also be able to receive job-readiness training, which will prepare job seekers. It will help them develop their so called “soft skills”; assisting them to write a resume and cover letter; teaching them how to identify their existing skills and talents; giving candidates the opportunity to practice a job interview; and, also show them the skills that are needed to influence them to use their new skills to foster longer-term employment and career growth.

Suspension of property tax foreclosures

Cuyahoga County and Cleveland government official have declared a six-month halt in foreclosures for unpaid property taxes. The moratorium will be in place for at least the next six months, and local government officials say it will help over 1,700 homes that are now in the foreclosure process due to property tax issues and it will also help another 1,700 or so people that are expected to fall behind on their property tax payments in the next half-year.

Officials hope the moratorium on property tax sales will help some owners avoid foreclosure and that is will also prevent more properties from going vacant. It is important to note that taxes will still be owed after the six months moratorium ends, and that interest and penalties will continue to add up during suspension. Find additional ways to get property tax help.




Other programs offered by Council for Economic Opportunities in greater Cleveland

Some other programs offered include free tax preparation, Head Start, and referrals to other government agencies, charities, and organizations.

The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland is located at 1228 Euclid Ave, Suite 700, Cleveland, Ohio, and the phone number is (216) 696-9077. More Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland programs.

Cuyahoga County Ohio programs that help people across the state of Ohio

Residents of Cuyahoga County and Cleveland can also get help with utilities, mortgages and foreclosure counseling, free food, and other aid from resources and services that help anyone in Ohio.

Rent assistance from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP)

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services administers this program. The goal is to both help people stay in their homes if they are facing an eviction, and to also help currently homeless people find a new home. The prevention efforts focus on providing temporary rent assistance and cash grants to individuals and families with stable incomes to keep them from becoming homeless. The program is not intended to be a charity program, but it will focus on people who are faced with a short term hardship and who need some help to make it through a difficult period. 216.420.6844





Cleveland foreclosure prevention counseling

Housing counselors from Community Housing Solutions can work with individuals and families to assist homeowners in both stopping and ongoing and avoiding a future foreclosure through debt negotiation, providing mortgage assistance, refinancing, loan modifications, obtaining lower terms and rates, assisting families in developing budgets and referrals to other needed resources and Ohio and federal government programs or services as needed. Call the agency at (216) 231-5815.

Cleveland Housing Network is another agency to contact. They offer extensive mortgage help. In total, four different types of mortgage assistance are offered, including partial mortgage payment, principle reduction, past due mortgage payment, and foreclosure transition. These program are offered alone or in combination with other options, all in an effort to help Cleveland area homeowners avoid foreclosure. In addition, they provide ongoing partial mortgage payment assistance in order to keep the homeowner current (funds to pay up to 15 months) as well as payment on past-due or delinquent mortgage expenses in order to bring the homeowner current on their mortgage. Call (216) 881-8443, or learn more on Ohio mortgage programs, including the Ohio hardest hit fund.

Additional mortgage and foreclosure assistance programs, advice, and services are provided by Housing Advocates (216) 431-7400, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland ((216) 687-1900), and Northern Ohio Affordable Housing (216) 932-6624.

The County of Cuyahoga also runs a foreclosure assistance program known as Don’t Borrow Trouble. This is a counseling and mortgage financial assistance program for people in a crisis. More on Cuyahoga County foreclosure assistance.

Tenant and landlord assistance programs

Cleveland Tenants Organization is a local organization that provides numerous resources, information and referrals to other agencies. They focus on resolving and helping with landlord/tenant dispute resolution and mediation services and evictions. They also provide access to Ohio foreclosure mediation programs, and can advice both renters and homeowners on federal, local, and state of Ohio federal landlord/tenant fair housing and related health laws and regulations. Call the organization at (216) 432-0617.

Rent, heating, and energy bill help

Lakewood Christian Service Center (phone (216) 226-6466) is an organization that provides rent payment assistance, energy, gas, and or utility bill assistance to qualified families in order to help them avoid homelessness due to eviction or utility shut-off/disconnection. The amount given to each applicant will vary with each case. In most cases the financial assistance provided will be for no longer than a three month period of time.





Ohio Volunteers of Americaoperates in the Cleveland area as well. A number of basic needs are available, including housing, Thanksgiving meals, and assistance for seniors. As the name implies, many people from the community volunteer and partner with the less fortunate to offer services. Resources include:

  • Shelter and transitional homes for low income residents.
  • Housing and job training for veterans and others, such as the homeless.
  • VOA helps seniors and the disabled in Cuyahoga County.
  • Other programs are available too. More on Volunteers of America in Ohio.

The Cleveland Based Emerald Development and Economic Network provides qualified individuals with a wide variety of housing and renal assistance that may be used to prevent evictions and homelessness from occurring. While there are different criteria, depending on the exact situation funds may be used to assist with paying rent expenses, utility and heating bill payment, and/or utility reconnection. Dial (216) 961-9690.

Other agencies that may be able to help include the Harry Ratner/Samuel D. and May Wise Human Service Funds. Send them a fax at (216) 896-0597 and the Parma City of Service Department. Dial (216) 661-7406.

Harry Ratner/Samuel D. and May Wise Human Service Funds - This charity, non-profit organization provides one-time cash grants for individuals and families with critical needs. May only cover a portion of the cost or expense. Some of the assistance provided is for baby clothing, utility bills, cribs, school uniforms, prescriptions, work clothing, furniture, linens, medical bills, dental bills, medical equipment and appliances which include air conditioners for medical purposes. Cleveland Ohio. Call (216) 566-1262

Church social service programs - Most faith based groups provide material or in-kind goods. This may be free food, clothing, furniture, cribs for babies, and similar items. On occasion, there may be local churches that offer money for some expenses, such as rent or prescriptions.

Over 20 churches in Cuyahoga County and throughout the city help families facing poverty. There is also support for immigrants, the elderly, and other vulnerable members of the community. More Cleveland and Cuyahoga County assistance programs.

Bay Village City Of - Department Of Community Services - Programs can help pay utility and gas bills, as well as distribute food vouchers. 300 Bryson Lane, Bay Village, Ohio 44140. Phone (440) 899-3442.

JFS of Cuyahoga County can assist with utility bills, ranging from water to heating and electric. The government agency can also provide other one time financial aid to qualified low income families, ranging from emergency money to pay for living costs or vouchers and applications to government benefits. Call (216) 635-2918 or try (216) 391-5027, and there are other offices in the county.

Emergency heating bill assistance - If you are struggling with paying your heating bills and meet low income guidelines, then look into some of the programs offered by non-profits and also Cuyahoga County government. Fund, grants, and heating oil are just some of what is offered to the working poor. A formal application process is in place, and the enrollment period usually begins in November. Continue with heating bill programs in Cleveland.

Non-profits, lenders, and other agencies in Cleveland and Ohio may be able to provide interest free financing in the region. The non-profit will offer assistance in the form of no interest loans for expenses such as utilities, rent, education costs, and car repairs. Some programs are available regardless of religion, while others are focused on certain parameters of applicants in Cuyahoga. Read more.

AIDS Taskforce Of Greater Cleveland - HIV or AIDs patients can apply for emergency financial assistance, which may be available to assist with meeting rental and utility payments for qualified Cuyahoga residents. 3210 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44115. Call (216) 621-0766





Cuyahoga County Division Of Senior And Adult Services - Can help people apply for HEAP (LIHEAP) federal government assistance. In addition, a great place to get referrals to charities, non-profits, and other government aid for housing, health care, and other needs. They also have information on other utility and heating programs.

A focus of this group is one assisting both the disabled as well as senior citizens. The Division of Senior and Adult Service also runs programs such as Home Support, they can coordinate in home care, and they can help people apply for grants from SSI disability or other benefits as well of Aging & Disability Resource Network. 1701 E 12th St., LL Reserve Square, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Call (216) 420-6830, or click here for details.

Fatima Family Center offers help for basic needs to income qualified Cuyahoga County families. Some support may be issued in the form of a loan. Assistance may be available for paying rent, utility or heating bills, or a security deposit for those that are qualified. 6600 Lexington Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103, (216) 391-0505

Saint Martin De Porres Family Center – The charity organization can assist with basic needs. Food, clothing, and Christmas assistance may be offered from the church. Or some funds for expenses such as rent to stop an eviction or financial support for utilities. (216) 268-3909.

Financial assistance from emergency loans - Cuyahoga County residents, the disabled, veterans, and others have a few sources of cash available to them. The interest rates charged will vary, as will the terms and conditions, but options include:

  • Government backed loans to pay for heating equipment, home repairs, or housing.
  • Higher risk payday or title lending companies.
  • Pawn shops, thrift stores, and more.
  • Find more details on financing options. More on emergency loans in Cleveland Ohio area.

Consumer Protection Association administers the Ohio Fuel Fund Grant Program. This is financial aid for residents facing a disconnection of their heat or utility service. There may also be some grants to pay towards a reconnect fee. Other options may be the Emergency Home Energy Assistance (E-HEAP) / or Winter Crisis Program (WCP). The goal of all of these is to help the less fortunate, including elderly and disabled, keep their heating and electricity on. (216) 881-3434

Saint Philip Neri Family Service Center administers crisis relief. This can be a partial rent payment or funds to help the homeless pay a deposit. Or inquire into heating or gas bill assistance programs. Free meals and more is available as well. Another service is the medical care from Project H.O.P.E. 799 E 82nd St., Cleveland, OH 44103. Call (216) 391-4415 for intake. Find programs from St. Philip Neri Family Center.

Transitional housing programs are located across the city of Cleveland and all of Cuyahoga County. Using a combination of government and non-profit resources and funds, agencies can house the recently evicted and homeless. However the main focus is on addressing the root cause of those that are struggling. So to this end, agencies will provide case management, job training, employment opportunities, and help for basic needs. Also get assistance in finding a home and paying the rent on it when ready to move. More.

Cuyahoga County Catholic Charities - The agency can help the low income, unemployed, and people facing poverty. The primary resource offered is known as Emergency Assistance Services. Families can get help with meeting their needs and paying bills. Get information on rental assistance, grants for paying utility and heating bills, food, meals, and other items such as clothing. Some programs focus on senior citizens as well as providing meals and gifts during the holidays and Christmas. Read more Catholic Charities in Cleveland.

Empowerment Center Of Greater Cleveland - Customers of First Energy/The Illuminating Company can get up to $300 for bills. In addition, vouchers for food and eyeglasses are offered, and other assistance programs are run at the location too. 3030 Euclid Ave. Ste. 100, Cleveland, Ohio 44115. Call (216) 432-4770

Government assistance - The Cuyahoga County Employment and Family Services agency runs many of the social services for the county. Case workers are available to help qualified lower income families. Programs offered include free health insurance, child care, food, heating bill assistance, and more. Some of the programs will even help people find a job or gain new career skills. Read more.





Veterans Service Commission - Cuyahoga County - Access food and clothing vouchers in an emergency situation, as well as help for other emergencies,, such as eviction prevention or utility disconnection. 1849 Prospect Ave. Rm. 150, Cleveland, Ohio 44115. Phone number (216) 698-2632.

Journey Of Hope - Cancer patients and their families can get up to $500 to help pay for basic needs and expenses. 21139 Lorain Rd. Ste. 1, Fairview Park, Ohio 44126. Call (216) 262-0612

Sewer and water bills - Qualified applicants can receive discounts or direct financial assistance for paying their water and/or sewer bills. Assistance in prioritized for the low income, elderly, and disabled across Cuyahoga County, however anyone can call to explore their options. Read more on water bill assistance in Cleveland.

Basic needs including clothing and household goods are provided from clothing closets and thrift stores in Cuyahoga County. Some centers will provide the items for free to low income families and the poor while other locations will sell goods at low cost. Assistance includes clothing, holiday assistance, and even items for children and babies. Learn more Cleveland clothing.

Lakewood Community Services Center - A number of social service programs are run, and they can help people apply for government aid too. For example, the agency provides rent payment assistance and/or utility bill assistance in order to avoid homelessness due to eviction or utility shut-off. Information on food pantries and clinics is available too. Address is 14230 Madison Ave., Lakewood, Ohio 44107. Call the agency at (216) 226-6466.

Christians In Action - Apply for emergency housing help, or in addition they offer some limited financial assistance for utility shut-off, if money is available (which it is limited). The agency will generally pay half of the utility bill or about $100, whichever is less. 7853 Main St., Olmsted Community Church, Olmsted Falls, Ohio 44138. Phone (440) 954-4140

St. Joan Of Arc Church may have onetime assistance, however funding is very limited. Programs may offer temporary emergency financial aid for expenses including apartment/house/mobile home lots. This can include the rent or security deposits for them. Other support is for utility bills, minor car repairs, furnace repairs, food cards, and prescription medications. 496 E Washington St., Chagrin Falls Township., OH 44022. Call (440) 247-7183.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and holiday programs are available from numerous organizations and groups in the greater Cleveland area. Children in particular will get free clothes, goods, and toys from churches and charities. There may also be Adopt a Family and Angel Tree programs available. More holiday programs in Cuyahoga County.

Cleveland Mediation Center is for veterans. May have rental payments and landlord/tenant mediation services as well for individuals who were served an eviction notice. (216) 621-1919

Frontline Service assists veterans in the county from Supportive Services for Veteran Families. The non-profit may offer rental deposit and some funds for rent payments in order to pay for permanent housing. Other resources include cash for car repairs, bus tokens, gasoline vouchers, clothing, and household goods. Or get referrals to community as well as federal benefits and services. Telephone - (216) 623-2113.





Department Of Aging for the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County offers homeless prevention services. There is case management as well as landlord and tenant mediation from specialist. Zero interest loans may be issued for some expenses, maybe even including rent. Other care is for seniors such as Meals on Wheels, Medicare applications, and support for caregivers. The office is at 75 Erieview Plaza and can be reached at (216) 664-2833.

Southgate Neighborhood Family Service Center is part of the Ohio Job and Family Services. Vouchers may be issued for emergency needs. This may be rent, food, or maybe a car repair. The homeless, or recently evicted, can possibly use the voucher to pay for relocation costs or the security deposit on a new apartment in Cuyahoga County Ohio. The center is located in at 5398 1/2 Northfield Rd., Maple Hts., Ohio 44137. (216) 518-4862.

Parma City - Department of Community Development can assist those with an unforeseen emergency circumstances such as an illness, accident, disability, or death. This can include mortgage assistance, funds for utilities (maybe even water bills), and eviction prevention services. Or receive food, groceries, and referrals. Dial (216) 661-7406 for information.

Students from low income households and families living in poverty can get free school supplies, hygiene items, haircuts and more. Each year back to school supply events take place. They help kids of all ages get the items they need for the upcoming year. Find Cleveland Ohio free school supplies.

Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging provides help to seniors in Cleveland and the entire county. While some assistance is for low income individuals, other programs are available to all residents. Case managers can help people find jobs from the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), provide information on medical billing assistance from the Senior Medical Patrol, deliver free meals to the homebound, and help senior citizens sign up for government benefits such as Medicare. 925 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115, call 1-800-626-7277. More on Ohio Senior assistance programs.

Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services may have vouchers for emergency bills or needs. The funds can be used to pay for rent, deposits, children's beds/mattresses, clothing, furniture and more. A number of restrictions are put into place on the voucher program. Three offices are 8111 Quincy Ave., Cleveland, OH 44104, (call (216) 987-7000) as well as 9830 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44102 ((216) 987-7000). However other centers are in the county such as in Maple Heights.

Programs to stop evictions and reverse homelessness are available using United States HUD grants. The money pays for housing programs that are administered by non-profits in Cuyahoga County. Based on the criteria in place, families living in poverty and the working poor can be given cash for bills or rent, shelter, and other guidance. Read more Cuyahoga County eviction and rehousing.

Greater Cleveland Food Bank - The non-profit runs a help center/referral unit. This not only provides information on free food and hunger prevention programs in the county, but also applications to HEAP, SSI disability, public housing, and more.

  • Learn about local pantry sites that pass out fresh produce.
  • Charity run soup kitchens can feed the homeless, families in poverty, and families in a crisis.
  • Workshops on using coupons, cooking healthy meals, and other support is arranged. Find details on the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation will offer assistance for employees of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Museum of Art, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals. The funds can be used to pay a portion of their rent and housing costs. Resources are restricted to those employees who meet qualifications. Dial (216) 361-8400.

Housing and funds for rental assistance -  In a crisis, if an individual has a short term financial hardship but is otherwise on the path to stability, they may have other financial assistance programs available to them for paying rent or a security deposit. All resources are of course limited. A couple dozen other rental assistance programs operate across Cuyahoga and Cleveland Ohio. Read more on Cleveland rent help.




Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Salvation Army

They operate several locations around the area, and each site can provide people with utility and heating bill assistance, free food, clothing vouchers, prescription medications, and referrals to other needed services or benefits, including government programs. The food program they offer consists of six pantries sites and it will provide people with a three-day grocery bag of nutritional food to families and / or individuals who are in need of food or other help. Contact the Cleveland Salvation Army at (216) 861-8185. Or to get a full listing of the resources and assistance programs offered by the Salvation Army, click here.

Child care assistance

A child care providers in the Cleveland Ohio area include the Lexington-Bell Community Center (216) 431-2164) which provides qualified families with low cost or free full-day, year round early learning/childhood care. The program covers after school child care and an eight week summer day camp program.

Credit and debt counseling

If you are struggling with paying down your debts, the Cleveland Housing Network helps low income residents. Credit counselors will work hand in hand with clients. The assistance is typically offered for anywhere from 6-12 months, and the counselors will help people resolve outstanding debt commitments and disputes, they will help them work out payment plans with creditors, medical providers, and credit card companies, and they will also educate clients on decision-making abilities. The free credit counseling is also combined with classes on money management, credit repair, and budgeting. Learn more on credit card programs, or dial (216) 574-7100.

Many free credit, debt, and foreclosure programs and workshops are offered to individuals in the area from government approved non-profit agencies. Clients will need to meet certain income thresholds and other criteria. Find a listing of the non-profit credit counseling agencies in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Ohio.

Legal aid for evictions, foreclosure, and utility disconnections

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will provide low-income, elderly, unemployed, and other qualified individuals with pro bono legal council and free advice. The non-profit law firm can help prevent evictions, utility shut-offs, provide free legal foreclosure aid, and also ensure the enforcement of critical rights of tenants. Dial (216) 687-1900 to learn more on Ohio free legal assistance, or read more Cleveland Legal Aid Society.

Another place to turn to for foreclosure and tenant issues is Cleveland Tenants Organization. This agency can provide free information and referrals regarding landlord/tenant dispute resolution, can offer and mediation services, eviction and foreclosure assistance, and access and information on local, state and federal landlord/tenant fair housing, Ohio mortgage programs, and related health and safety laws.





Community health

Some of the local clinics and facilities to turn to for health care needs include:

Care Alliance - Get access to free or low cost prescription drugs. In focuses its assistance programs on patients with chronic illness. It also targets patients who are uninsured, those living under federal poverty guidelines, the homeless and minorities, and the unemployed. (216) 781-6228.

Neighborhood Family Practice - This is primarily for the uninsured residents of Cleveland Ohio. The practice provides benefits assistance for the uninsured via a drug access program. Fees for the services will be determined by the NFP's Sliding Fee Schedule and determining eligibility and enrolling in available health coverage and plans. The clinic can be reached at (216) 281-0872.

Cuyahoga and the greater Cleveland Ohio are are supported by a number of other medical and dental centers as well. Most offer low cost or free services to income qualified residents. Find more Cleveland area clinics.

Cuyahoga County food pantries

A listing of places in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Ohio that provide food in an emergency or crisis include the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland ((216) 619-8155), Lights of Heart Villa (phone (440) 232-1991), South Hills Lend a Hand ((440) 526-0514), Affinity Missionary Baptist Church ((216) 780-0101), and the Bethany Baptist Church (216) 791-2673.

Other distribution sites are in the community too. If these locations can’t help you, find more Cuyahoga County food banks. Call them for food, perishable items, baby formula, holiday meals, and other assistance.

By Jon McNamara

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