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State & Local Resources

Rent Assistance

Free Food Pantries

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Help with Water Bills

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Elkhart County assistance programs.

Low income families and struggling households can get emergency financial help, free items (food, gasoline vouchers, etc.) and other support. Find the churches, non-profits, and government assistance programs to apply at for rent or utility bill help, free prescription drugs, debt counseling, and even foreclosure prevention services.

A number of low interest rate loans and grant programs in Elkhart County help families pay their bills, address housing costs or security deposits, and much more. A major focus is on preventing hunger, homelessness, and hunger in the community.

Locate resources, organizations, grants, and services that assist with bills

Both Church Community Services and REAL Services, Inc. are two local non-profit organizations that provide families and individuals in need with grants to help with paying bills, debts, and other everyday expenses. They can provide people with cash grants and refer people to other resources if they can’t help them. Find more information below on both organizations.

Emergency and Crisis Services - Church Community Services will provide cash grants and other types of financial assistance to qualified individuals and families. Grants can be used to help people prevent an eviction  from their home or apartment, stop their utility or heating service from being shut-off, and grants can help pay for prescription costs.





You can apply only once per year. However, they will review other special requests on an individual basis throughout the year. If you apply and are determined to be qualified, counselors will work with you to assess individual needs and walk you through options and programs. In addition, Church Community Services will partner with other local charities and agencies such as Salvation Army, Faith Mission , Township Trustees, Emerge, and others to coordinate resolution of the individuals crisis. Call them at 574-295-3673.

Resources and services

The local community action agency, Real Services, Inc. has several programs and other resources for people in need. Contact them at (574) 233-8205. Below are just a few of the programs and resources they offer. They have several others as well. Call them to learn more.

Free Legal Advice - They have partnered with Legal Services, Inc. to provide free legal advice, counseling, and other services to eligible older adults in who live in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, St. Joseph, and Marshall Counties.





REAL Services’ Energy Assistance Program - The State of Indiana funds this program. It focuses on helping people with low-incomes. Aid will be provided to these households to help them pay with electric and heating bills, primarily during the cold winter months.

Self-sufficiency Programs - A Case Manager or Family Development Consultant will work with struggling families to help them gain self-sufficiency over the long term. They will work with them to identify goals, provide advice, and develop an action plan to meet those long term goals. The twelve areas of family growth and counseling are: Energy, Adult Education, Housing and Rent Help, Income, Child Development & Education, Help with Credit Card Debt and Counseling, Family Relations, Transportation, Support Systems, Health, Nutrition and Substance Abuse, Employment, and Job Training.

Weatherization programs - This is a federal government program also run by Real Services that was designed to help income eligible households save on their energy bills by reducing fuel consumption and fuel expenses. It does this by providing people with weatherization measures for homes at no cost to those served. These improvements will reduce energy bills by up to several hundred dollars per year.

Housing resources in Elkhart - The non-profit agency is part of the federal government funded program that can provide grants to qualified low income families for paying a rent expense. The homeless in Elkhart County may also receive shelter or help to pay a security deposit on a new low income home. The emergency shelter program is used to provide this assistance to the homeless and families facing eviction.

Some of the other resources include the Family Caregiver Support Program, Housing Counseling, Family Development Foster Grandparent, Geriatric Care Management, Guardianship Resources and Referrals, Food Aid, In-Home Services, Lunch and Learn, Meals on Wheels, and Medicare (SHIP Counseling). Read more REAL community action agency programs.

Help for rent, heating and utility bills in Elkhart

Family Christian Development Center: The non-profit agency provides emergency help with rent and utilities to qualified residents of the Wa-Nee School District, as funds are available. The applicant will need to present photo ID, plus their latest bill &/or a shut off notice for gas, electric or water bills in order to get assistance.




The organization also has other services, including a food pantry that families can visit twice per month, a medication assistance program, along with a clothing closet (for all ages), well-baby care, and holiday help. Call them at  (574) 773-2149, or find details on how to get help with water bills.

Open Door, Inc., of Nappanee-Elkhart City - Contact them for information on free food, emergency financial help for anyone living in Wakarusa or Nappanee once a month. The non-profit does also help with NIPSCO utilities bills once a year (for persons south of the Elkhart and Goshen areas). Dial (574) 773-3820

CCS, dial (574) 295-3673 - Provides limited financial aid for job related expenses, prescriptions, and rental assistance. Employment is a focus. No money is offered for rental deposits.

There are other regional employment and work from home job opportunities. Many folks struggle to get experience or the skills they need. Job centers help there. Or find a great entry level job for primary or secondary income.

The Salvation Army of Elkhart - The agency provides limited financial assistance with utilities and heating bills, and they will not pay utility deposits or reconnects. Other resources include, but are not limited too, free Christmas assistance, food, clothing closet, and social services. They also pass out free back to school supplies during the summer and fall.

Case managers also offer referrals to the needy and low income. The aid is offered for the following townships: Baugo, Cleveland, Concord, (with Elkhart zip codes) Osolo, Washington, and York Indiana. There is also a Salvation Army Branch in Goshen. Dial (574) 970-0088. Click more details Salvation Army assistance programs Elkhart County.

Community Action of Northeast Indiana - This non-profit supports several towns and counties in the region. A number of services are offered for those that are struggling and want to overcome poverty. There are programs for paying bills, rent, or providing food. Other services include self-sufficiency. In some cases, a loan will be issued and will need to be repair by clients.





Clients of the community action agency can look into financial aid in paying for housing needs. This will include rent, energy bills, or a security deposit fee on a new low income apartment. Other services for clients will include job training and placement, along with free or low cost credit counseling. CANI also offers weatherization as well as the section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in Elkhart County. Read more information on Northeast Indiana community action agency.

Free clothing assistance in Elkhart County - Several charities, churches, and non-profit clothing banks provide free goods to the needy and low income. Items supplied may be school supplies, Christmas gifts, toys, and general clothing items. Vouchers may be passed out to the poor or lowest income families. Fijd more details on free clothes and school supplies in northern, eastern and central Indiana.

Utility bill programs - Individuals who need help paying their energy bills, or who are faced with a disconnection, can call upon one of a few agencies and resources that focus on utilities. Money can help pay bills during the winter or summer, and other resources offered can include free fans. Read more on utility bill help in Elkhart County.

Mortgage help and foreclosure prevention

Goshen Indiana homeowners have a place to turn to for housing aid. LaCasa of Goshen, Inc. is a HUD Approved Counseling agency. The agency provides foreclosure prevention and mortgage readiness counseling to people who are behind on their mortgage, or who need advice. Dial (574) 533-4450, or click here fore additional foreclosure help.

Greenpath Debt Solutions - The credit counseling agency provides free budget counseling, debt reduction advice, housing counseling, debt and credit card repayment program, and consumer education to qualified individuals. (574) 293-0075

Debt Reduction and Credit Counseling - In addition to those two organizations, other agencies offer debt assistance, budgeting, credit repair, and related support. Hundreds of Goshen and Elkhart County residents are able to improve their financial condition every year. Click here free credit counseling in the region.

Food aid and groceries

The following churches, pantries, and charities may be able to provide free food, holiday or Christmas meals, and other forms of aid. Call them to get the specifics of their assistance programs. Family Christian Development Center - Phone (574) 773-2149. Middlebury Food Pantry Dial (574) 825-5135.

There are additional food pantries as well as soup kitchens in the county as well. Based on donation levels, everything from fruits to baby formula or canned goods are offered. Or case managers will help the client apply for SNAP food stamps. Locate free food pantries in Elkhart County.





Long term food assistance can be arranged for low income Elkart County families. Most of this is in the form of government aid. There are commodities, USDA school lunches, and other free programs. Even read about SNAP food stamp enrollment.


By Jon McNamara

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