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Dane County Wisconsin assistance programs.

Cash grants and loans are available from charities, churches or non-profits. The agencies offer emergency financial help to pay heating or utility bills as well as rent, mortgages and security deposits. Or find free food in Dane County from pantries and even medical or dental care in Madison. Find how and where to apply for help along with information on free gasoline vouchers, clothing, loan repayment programs, and much more.

Get grants, employment assistance, emergency aid

If you are struggling or behind on your bills in today’s weak economy, the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (CAC) is an organization that may be able to help you. Some of the assistance programs they offer are below, as well as information on other agencies and charities. Contact them to learn more about these programs and other services, or to apply for aid.

They also offer financial assistance and emergency crisis grants including a rent subsidy, childcare assistance and/or transportation assistance while enrolled in the program.

Telephone assistance - The community action agency offers this aid to those who need help with past phone bills or who may need some help in establishing new telephone services. Even cell phone payments are eligible for help.

Counseling and financial programs - Budgeting skills, counseling for bills, referrals to government programs, advice, credit counseling, debt assistance programs, financial literacy, and help from debt collectors will also be offered by the Community Action Coalition. Improving financial literacy is an objective of the agency. Find more debt assistance programs.

Emergency financial assistance and grants - Grants and direct financial assistance is offered to applicants who live in Madison and Dane County. The following areas are covered:

  • Energy and Utility Assistance. This is only occasionally available if the agency has surplus funding.
  • Household Items
  • Rent help.
  • There is a Clothing Center. It is open Tuesday-Thursdays 10 am to 3 pm.




Call the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. at 1717 North Stoughton Road, Madison, WI 53704 for information. O call them at (608) 246-4730 to learn more or apply for help.

Employment assistance is administered by the Dane County Job Center. They administer programs for both the unemployed and underemployed individuals who live in the region, including the city of Madison. Some examples of the services provided include short term training, job and employment assistance, tuition and/or information WorkSmart classes and career counseling.

Workshops can help clients learn new skills or prepare them for a full scale career change. Register for resume writing and interview practice sessions. Learn about government or other places to apply at for books, fees, and any other materials they may need for courses. Or find free laptop computers for training. A number of employment resources are available in Dane County from the center. Call 608/242-4900.

Foreclosure prevention and mediation

Dane County has a program in place that provides struggling homeowners who are facing a foreclosure with mediation and other resources that can help them with their mortgage. Read more on the numerous options of how to stop a foreclosure in Dane County.

GreenPath Debt Solutions of Madison is a HUD approved nonprofit credit counseling agency that offers the following services and resources. mortgage delinquency, foreclosure, and default resolution counseling, debt reduction, budgeting and credit counseling, full service debt assistance management programs (including bankruptcy, debt consolidation services, mortgage foreclosure information, subprime and predatory lending, property lien, repossession, help with real estate taxes, and tax foreclosure assistance), credit report dispute assistance, and they are a housing counseling-HUD certified. (608) 221-1695





Health and dental care

Access Community Health Centers is a facility that provides comprehensive birth to death primary health as well as dental care uninsured and low-income individuals and families in Dane County. Call (608) 443-5480 to learn more or make an appointment.

Medic Clinics partners with other local charities and non-profits, such as the Salvation Army and homeless shelters, to provide free health care to clients of these other agencies. Call (608) 265-4972.

Another community clinic is Our Lady of Hope Clinic. This facility, which is a nonprofit center, operates a free health clinic for uninsured individuals. It will help patients who do not have insurance, or who qualify for other federal government or Wisconsin health care programs. Dial (608) 819-8544.

General assistance and emergency help in Dane County

The Catholic Charities Diocese Of Madison offers a variety of programs that can provide support to the less fortunate as well as several family programs. Some of the resources offered can include several senior aid programs, food pantries, in-home companionship for persons 55+ living alone, and many other resources. (608) 821-3100. Read assistance from Catholic Charities Madison.

DeForest area Needs Network is a non-profit that provides up to $500 in financial assistance for emergency financial assistance with paying for rent, medical bills (including prescription medications, insurance co-payments, dental bills, eye doctor bills, counseling bills, health insurance premiums), heating bills and utilities (including water bills and telephone bills), car and automotive repairs, automobile insurance payments. (608) 846-3236

Middleton Outreach Ministry runs a program that provides eviction prevention as well as rental assistance. The program provides help to prevent eviction from a family, and it will offer help with paying first months rent and/or security deposits for new renters. Phone number (608) 836-7338.

Dane County Human Services offers a grant program that provides assistance to those facing an eviction, foreclosure, or losing their home. They also provide low interest rate loans for new cars or repairs. Addressing transportation needs of the low income s a major focus of Human Services in the county. The social workers at the office may also have information on other, regional free car programs from charities, and contact them for details.

The local government can provide a number of other services to low income, seniors and other qualified residents. For example, they administer additional mortgage, rent, or security deposit assistance. This is offered to individuals and families that are facing impending homelessness, such as eviction or foreclosure. Other resources include food, energy bill help, health care, and more. Call the number indicated below for more information..





Financial assistance may also be offered for Dane County families who need help moving due to domestic violence, unexpected bills such as car repair or out of pocket medical, unusually high energy bills, or a reduction in child support income. Emergency rental assistance can be available for the unemployed or people who have had a reduction in hours or whose position was eliminated.

Other resources offered by the county include burial or Cremation Expense assistance for the indigent. Individuals can apply for government programs such as BadgerCare Plus (BC+) Program or the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program. Job centers are available as well. Also apply for programs such as Medicaid or Food Stamps at the Dane County Human Services Office. Address is 1819 Aberg Ave, Madison, WI 53704. Call (888) 794-5556, or find more information on Dane county public assistance.

Emergency rent help, along with other housing services, is provided to tenants facing eviction in Dane County. Agencies will receive government grants that are used for a security deposit or back rent, and other organizations will try to mediate a dispute or refer clients to low income housing. Get a listing of all non-profit Dane County rent assistance agencies.

The Salvation Army (phone number (608) 256-2321) administers a variety of programs. Among other options, they provides emergency rent help, shelter, food aid, personal/infant care items, funds for paying utility and heating bills, and transportation for homeless and low-income persons who live in rural Dane County Wisconsin area. There are also free Christmas toys, winter jackets, hats, and school supply programs. Click here for information on Salvation Army assistance in Dane County.

Madison Wisconsin based Evangel Life Center at (608) 222-4900. They provide funds to help with medical and dental bills, rent assistance programs, grants for paying energy bills, transportation assistance, and other programs.

Students from K to college age may get free back to school supplies, personal toiletries, dental check ups, or clothes/uniforms. The summer and fall months several local corporations, charities, and volunteer groups join together to help low income households. More on free back to school supply programs in Dane County.

The Tenant Resource Center runs programs that offer assistance, eviction prevention, foreclosure counseling, public housing, Section 8 housing, subsidized housing. Phone (608) 242-7406.

Other non-profits to call to ask for help include Middleton Outreach Ministry ((608) 836-7338) and Home Mission Fund (608) 837-7271. They may be able to offer housing help in the form of rent assistance, funds for utility bills, debt and foreclosure counseling, and money for medications.

Energy Services Inc., also known as Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP), provides free cash grants to help people pay their winter heating and energy bills. Call them at (608) 267-8601. Find other options, such as free heating oil. Find free home heating oil.

Madison and Dane County charities provide help during the holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas). Children are the main beneficiaries, with seniors next in line for assistance. The youth are often given free Christmas toys, while seniors and other families maybe given holiday food baskets. More Dane County free holiday programs.





AIDs Resource Center Of Wisconsin - People with HIV/AIDS and their families may be able to qualify for comprehensive housing assistance programs that offer intensive mortgage and housing counseling, residential housing, and financial assistance and cash grants in the form of money for utilities, rent, and security deposits. 121 S Pinckney St Ste 210, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, (608) 258-9103 ext. 14

Dane County Veterans Office – Veterans and their families, in particular those who served in the Middle East, can get grants that provides emergency, but temporary, financial assistance on a case-by-case basis with expenses related to mortgage payments, rent, condo association fees, security deposits, mobile home lot fees, utilities (including water bills and telephone bills), automotive repairs, gasoline vouchers, bus tickets (Madison Metro only), and household emergencies for a maximum of $500. 210 Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd Rm 108, City County Building, Madison, WI 53703-3342

Dane County families can get free winter clothing too. The winter, spring, and fall months can be long and cold. Low income families, especially those with kids, and seniors often need warm clothes, hats, gloves, and even space heaters. There are places for free winter clothes.

Porchlight – This is a Dane County eviction prevention program. It provides direct financial assistance and cash to households facing eviction and/or foreclosure. Most of the support is part of the DIGS program.

It can combine emergency financial assistance along with credit and debt counseling and tenant education. Grants from Porchlight can help people with paying rent, security deposits, or mortgage payments. In some cases there is assistance for rental applications fees, mobile home or condo association fees, moving expenses, utilities (including water bills), and automotive repairs.

DIGS is a collaborative effort with local churches and area faith communities in Dane County to centralize emergency eviction prevention assistance. The non-profit also offer shelter, loans and other aid. 1490 Martin St., Madison, Wisconsin 53713, (608) 252-8522, or read housing assistance from Porchlight.

Belleville Community Health Improvement Program – Only families in the Belleville School District are served. Get help with basic necessities of life, including rental assistance, utility and heating bill help, and other crisis assistance. 276 Soden Dr, Oregon, Wisconsin 53575, (608) 835-4188

Neighbors In Need Of Assistance – People who live in the Oregon School District, and who have a minor child, can get money to pay utilities (if faced with a disconnection) or funds to pay rent if have an eviction notice. 276 Soden Dr , Oregon, WI 53575, call (608) 835-4188

Seniors In Need – Must be 55 or older and live in the Stoughton Area School District. Beneficiaries are allowed one request for help per year, however funds are available to pay for a wide variety of services and items from rent to hearing aids, medical bills to prescriptions, etc. 248 W Main St, Stoughton, WI 53589, call (608) 873-8585

Stoughton Area Resource Team – Individuals who are 54 are under, and who live in the Stoughton Area School District, can get their needs met. Apply for assistance with utilities (including water bills and telephone bills), rent, security deposits, gasoline vouchers, mortgage payments, mobile home lot fees, moving expenses, minor automotive repair, property taxes, or education-related fees.

the Resource Team may also help with work-related needs, and medical bills and fees (including prescription drugs, co-payments, eye doctor bills, counseling bills, dental bills, health insurance premiums). In addition, the non-profit also helps by coordinating resources and services with other organizations (churches, government, social service) when all other sources have been exhausted. 248 W Main St, Stoughton, Wisconsin 53589, (608) 577-5650

Cambridge Area Resource Team, or CART, may be able to help low income families facing a crisis. Financial assistance is offered for rent, transportation, mortgage payments, prescriptions, medical bills or heating/utility bills. Referrals are provided for health care and employment opportunities in Dane County. 223 Jefferson St, Cambridge, Wisconsin 53523, (608) 423-1423.

Thrift stores and clothing closets can be a source of either free or low cost goods. There will be an assessment done of the applicant’s income, and this will determine whether or not vouchers are given. What may be provided includes:

  • School supplies such as free backpacks or uniforms.
  • Professional clothing for job seekers or a interview.
  • New parents may be given diapers or baby clothing or families outdoor wear for their children.
  • Other items may be provided too. Locate Madison and Dane County clothing closets.





Saint Vincent De Paul Society Of Madison is made up of local churches that provide information on social services, free food programs, holiday support, and more. Low income housing may also be arranged as part of the St Elizabeth Ann Seton House.

Other services are offered in Dane County by St. Vincent Volunteers, mostly through referrals to financial support for security deposits, utilities, and other bills. There is also a free food pantry, pharmacy for medications, clothes, and furniture for the low income. The Address is 1301 Williamson St, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, dial (608) 819-1061. More on Saint Vincent de Paul Dane County assistance programs.

AIDS Network is only for people with HIV, AIDs, or their families. It may offer utility bill assistance, rent help, housing counseling, landlord advocacy, address housing discrimination issues, and offer emergency shelter. 600 Williamson St, Madison, Wisconsin 53703.

Churches in the Madison Wisconsin region partner with Community Action. Rent help is offered for single mothers with minor children as well as others that are struggling. There may also be food, clothing, and meals for people in poverty. It is rare to get assistance with deposits. The referral line is (608) 246-4730, or local other churches that offer financial aid.

Badger Childhood Cancer Network can support families that have children with cancer. A number of services are offered, including housing assistance (rent/mortgage), funds for utility or heating bills, gasoline vouchers, bus tickets, and even car repairs. (608) 231-8006.

Transitional housing programs - Dane County residents that are way behind on their rent and facing eviction or that are currently homeless can receive help from these resources. Agencies and charities provide a number of services. They range from emergency shelter to more longer term transitional housing units. Also get information on job training, resources for paying security deposits when ready to move, and more. Continue with transitional housing Dane County.

Foundation For Rural Housing offers government assistance as well as grants. Assistance is for veterans and the low income that qualify. Very limited assistance may be available for the payment of back property taxes, utility bills, mortgage payments, security deposits or rental assistance. 4506 Regent St., Madison, Wisconsin 53705, (608) 238-3448.

Housing Initiatives will offer rent and housing assistance to the mentally ill and homeless in Dane County. 1110 Ruskin St., Madison, Wisconsin 53704. Main number is (608) 277-8330

Saint Vincent De Paul - Sacred Hearts Of Jesus And Mary Catholic Church administers numerous social services. The main focus is on helping with utility and heating bills if someone is faced with a disconnection. Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 53590. Dial (608) 837-7381 for intake.

Free food assistance programs

Village of Belleville pantry, which can be reached at (608) 424-3341, offers food, meats, diapers, and other aid.

Countryside Communities Center offers a pantry that low income can use every 30 days. (608) 437-5224

Allied Partners (phone (608) 204-9722) has a pantry that can be used once a month for free food and other aid.





Good Shepherd Lutheran Church distributes free food, groceries, diapers, household products, and other aid. Call the Madison Wisconsin agency at (608) 271-6633.

Dane County The River Food Pantry offers food, diapers, clothing, pet food, meats, and fresh fruits. (608) 442-8815.

A number of other charities, churches, non-profits, and food pantries operate across the county. Find more Madison area free food banks and locations in Dane County to call for help.

By Jon McNamara

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