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Dorchester County South Carolina assistance programs.

Learn how to get emergency financial help. There are agencies that offer money for paying utility bills, rent, or that give out free food. Find churches that offer housing assistance, non-profit and government financial assistance programs, grants from the government, and other support services in Dorchester County.

Whether it is a free prescription drugs for a senior citizen, loans to pay rent or a bill, or a job program, that type of help and more is available in Summerville and Dorchester County. There is also free Christmas toys, grants that help with security deposits, school supplies, gasoline vouchers and more.

Free food and homeless shelter

If you need access to food, such as a soup kitchen or a place to stay the night, contact or stop by the Dorchester area Palmetto House. The phone number of the non-profit is (843) 486-0861. They can help feed individuals and families in need, and provide all so important emergency housing and shelter.

Emergency assistance programs and financial help

If you are facing a short term hardship and need some help to make it through a difficult period, contact the Salvation Army. They administer a variety of programs to people in need of help. Some of the services offered include community-building and fellowship for adults, limited financial assistance and grants for paying bills, such as utility, air conditioning, prescription medication, and rent.

They also offer services to help people get back on their feet, such as transitional housing, senior programs, and character building programs for youth and young adults. Other seasonal support includes free Christmas toys, school supplies, shelter and more. Contact the agency at 843-763-9881. Other services are offered too. Read Dorchester County Salvation Army programs.




Another option is Tricounty Family Ministries. This non-profit charity organization is a faith-based. It helps people of all religions. It is an ecumenical ministry that provides low income and others with free food, clothing, medications, medical care, counseling, as well as referrals to federal and South Carolina government programs. There is also car transportation assistance, rent help, shelter, financial assistance for bills and also other vital services to the less fortunate in the Tricounty area. The facility provides a safe, compassionate, and inviting place for all people in need, regardless of their faith.

One of the largest needs of people these days is access to medical and health care. The organization provides services that the low income need. They partner with the state of South Carolina’s health department (those covered by Medicaid), the Medical University (MUSC), the Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center Inc., or private doctors and physicians as needed. Call TriCounty at 843-747-1788. Click here for details on assistance from Tricounty Family Ministries.

The Dorchester County Community Action Agency (phone (843) 761-8244) is another non-profit agency that provides options to those in need of assistance. Among other programs, they run the Community Service Block Grant. This is a crisis program that helps low income and the poor. They can provide qualified people with financial assistance, and even more importantly they offer programs that help people get back on their feet over the long term. Such as counseling, information on government assistance programs, and other aid.





Dorchester is also supported by the CCHSC - Charleston Human Services Commission. Low income families, seniors, and the working poor can turn to the agency for support and guidance. Examples of resources are LIHEAP energy bill assistance as well as funds for housing needs, such as rent. The Good Neighbor program can help pay water bills for those faced with a disconnection, and there are even Job placement services. More Human Services Commission.

Catholic Charities of Dorchester and coastal region - Several assistance programs are administered for low income families, the elderly, and immigrants. They also work with local churches. Some of what may be available includes free food, medical care (including dental and vision services) and more. While very limited, some emergency funds or access to government grants may be offered for expenses such as rent, utility bills, or a security deposit for a homeless family. More details on Catholic Charities Charleston region.

Dorchester County charities that offer basic needs, such as free clothing or school supplies/holiday items, can help working poor families. Many of the charities in town including Summerville have volunteers on site that collect and distribute gently used goods for everyday use or even Christmas. The help is available from clothing closets and thrift stores. Find free clothes and school supplies.

Dorchester and Summerville charities offer housing programs, namely eviction prevention and rehousing. Using federal government funding, qualified low income families, veterans, and seniors are the primary beneficiaries. Clients may receive financial help including loans, money to pay for moving costs, rent help, and permanent housing placement. More on Dorchester County eviction programs.

Agency on Aging in Dorchester County helps senior citizens, the disabled, their caregivers and those who are “elderly” or even retired. Multiple assistance programs as well as referrals are offered ranging from free Meals on Wheels to counseling for Medicare, including Part D. The Trident Area Agency on Aging also offers legal aid, nursing home reviews/inspections, fraud prevention, and so much more. Continue with Trident Area Agency on Aging.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has venetians and churches that help the vulnerable. Most of the support is from a thrift store, but Dorchester County families can apply for other help too. Whether someone is a senior, disabled, or homeless, everything from food to security deposit help or grants may be provided. More on St Vincent financial help.

Housing resources, ranging from rent to homeless prevention - rehousing, are offered. Most of the financial assistance as well as government grant programs for paying rent are regional in nature. But they still may be able to help qualified low to moderate income families. More on Dorchester County rent assistance.





Find free holiday programs. Families living in poverty, or those in a short term crisis, can get free toys, meals, presents, and much more for their kids. Contact  church, or non-profit such as the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots for help. Click Dorchester and Charleston free Christmas help.

Food assistance programs are available at pantries, soup kitchens, and other locations. The goal of these programs will be to reduce (or end) hunger in the Dorchester Community. Both short term help as well as long term support, such as SNAP food stamps may be issued. Other goods include baby formula, fruit, Meals on Wheels and more.

Examples of the pantries include Cathedral Bread Basket (call (843) 760-6116) as well as Christ Church. But there are many other distribution centers as well as pantries in the region. Find Dorchester County free food banks.

Utility bill help

The local community action agency is Berkeley-Dorchester Counties Economic Development Corporation, and they can be reached at (843) 761-8244. They offer a couple different programs and services that can help people with paying utility, air conditioning and energy bills, and they also run the weatherization program.

During the hot Dorchester County summer, many low income families need a way to cool their home. To this end, there is of course financial assistance for paying AC or electric bills, but there are also free air conditioner programs.

LIHEAP - Also known as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, is a federal government funded utility assistance program. The grants are targeted at the low income, elderly, and disabled. There are two main components. One is the crisis program. This is used to help people who are facing a disconnection of their service. Immediate financial assistance can be provided to keep the power on. The other option from LIHEAP is the ongoing, regular cash grants that are provided to pay monthly energy bills.





Weatherization assistance - This is another option for those in need. This program does not provide cash to pay energy bills, but rather is focused on helping people reduce the amount they owe. The program works by providing qualified, low income residents with free energy saving improvements to their home. For example, receive additional insulation, window repairs, caulking, and other home improvements.


By Jon McNamara

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