Kalamazoo County assistance programs.

Low income families can get financial help for paying their bills. Find charities, government cash program, charities and more that provide assistance for rent, heating or utility bills, free food or clothing, and more in Kalamazoo County. Or get free food from pantries, medical or dental care, and job placement services. The assistance is wide ranging and helps the low income, seniors, single moms, immigrants, and others in the community.

Assistance for paying heating and utility bills

Local residents can turn to several agencies to get help with heating or utility bills. While the Salvation Army is the agency that distributes the bulk of utility bill assistance in the area, and has recently been assisting 45 to 50 families per month with heir heating and utility bills, which is an increase from 15 to 20 clients in a typical month, other groups may also help. See below.

Regarding the Salvation Army, last year the agency gave out nearly $500,000 to 675 area families for utility or heating bill assistance. Up through the end of September, the agency has already given assistance to 672 families. And they anticipate a few hundred more to be helped before the year is done. Dial (269) 344-6119.

Kalamazoo County Action Bureau: To receive help or learn more, call 269.373.5066 to contact them. Services and assistance is available, depending on funding. The agency may have Emergency Utility Bill Assistance, including funds for for electric, natural gas, and other deliverable fuels. Other programs administered include and Home rehabilitation. Income and other conditions need to be met. Call for more information.

Comstock Community Center: Residents who bring a shutoff notice to the center can receive once-a-year assistance of up to $50. They are located at Comstock Community Center, P.O. Box 34, Comstock, MI 49041. (269) 345-8556





The Salvation Army: The office is located at 1700 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI 49001, and they can provide energy bill help as well as they offer other programs. Get free food, clothing and holiday assistance as well. In most cases, a referral from DHS is needed.

The charity also has a thrift store (for clothing including school supplies), an emergency food pantry, and Pathways of Hope for long term advice. Call (269) 344-6119, or read Salvation Army Kalamazoo County.

Kalamazoo Deacons Conference: Qualified residents can receive anywhere from $75 to $100 for their bills every 18 to 24 months on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the Kalamazoo Deacons Conference, 1010 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007 to apply or learn more. Phone number (269) 344-7333.

Rent assistance programs - Residents of Kalamazoo Michigan have several different non-profit organizations and charities that they can call and apply at for emergency rental assistance. Priority is usually given to families with children, senior citizens, and the disabled, however anyone can ask for help. Find a full listing of Kalamazoo rent assistance organizations.

Housing Assistance Programs

Housing Resources Inc. is an agency that provides a variety of services to people facing eviction, as well as those who are currently homeless. They do have limited financial assistance and grants they can offer, but most of the aid they can offer is by referring people to government programs. Clients can be linked to programs for paying a security deposit, or maybe receive a short term loan for their rental expenses. The goal of Housing Resources is on rehousing the homeless and even preventing it in the first place.

Some of the other services from HRI include providing counseling, directing people to charities with funding, assist with foreclosure prevention tactics, and other similar types of support. You can call the agency at 269-382-0287, or find more details.





Homeowners across Kalamazoo County can also take advantage of statewide and regional mortgage and foreclosure counseling resources. Most of the services are provided by HUD certified agencies, and qualified families may actually receive free advice. Find other Michigan foreclosure programs.

Free foreclosure counseling in Kalamazoo

Homeowners can contact Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. to receive free foreclosure counseling, homeowner assistance, information on mortgage programs, budgeting skills and other housing-related services. Call the agency at 269-385-2916.

Where to turn for food aid

Kalamazoo Gospel Mission (343-5880) as well as the Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes (343-3663) are two local charities or churches the provide those in need with free food and hot meals.

Ministry with Community is another Kalamazoo Michigan agency that provides food and meals. Dial 269-343-6073.

If you need more options, locate additional Kalamazoo food pantries. Low income families can find other locations to apply at for SNAP food stamps or find a free pantry. Or seniors can sign up for Meals on Wheels.

Emergency financial aids and grants

Three other charities that may be able to provide assistance include the following. Some only focus on certain parts of Kalamazoo County, but you should contact them to see if you are eligible for assistance based upon where you live in the county. The resources they offer range from financial assistance for utility and heating bills, rent help, food, clothing, prescription medications, and more. Contact Comstock Community Center (345-8556), South County Community Services (649-2901), or Portage Community Center (323-1942).

Low income Thanksgiving and Christmas programs - Families that need free toys, gifts, books, clothes or food for the holidays can get assistance. Several charities assist single parents, the elderly, and working poor among others. More on Kalamazoo County free holiday and Christmas programs.

Western Michigan Catholic Charities provides a number of services to low income families, the working poor, and senior citizens. Resources and funding are limited. When possible, the charity, working with local churches, will offer individuals free food, holiday meals, and baby formula. Case managers can help residents (in particular seniors) apply for medical and prescription assistance. Other aid available for the needy includes limited financial assistance for paying bills when someone is faced with a crisis. Click here.

Kalamazoo Community Action Agency is part of the state of Michigan and nationwide network of poverty fighting organizations. The non-profit administers many programs for low income and working poor families, some of which are emergency and others revolve around employment and education.




Some of the financial aid can include grants for paying heating bills or rent for families facing an eviction. Transitional housing, or referrals to security deposit programs, are offered. Other services include weatherization, free dental exams and vision tests. They also help seniors in Kalamazoo as part of a partnership with local agency on aging centers. Read Kalamazoo Community Action Agency.

Human Services - The county office can help low income families with applying for public assistance. There is help for the disabled, seniors, and very low income, though there are strict application processes in place.

  • Housing, such as relocation or funds for rent or paying energy bills.
  • Federal aid, including SSI disability or food stamps.
  • Job training, including DHS can help with child care while the parent is working.
  • Much more is available, and click more Kalamazoo County public aid.

Free medical care for uninsured and low income

Appropriately named the Free Clinic of Kalamazoo (344-0044) provides free medical services for the uninsured. They offer prescription assistance, acute care, general checkups, dental screening, and access to several other health care programs.

Family Health Center Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (488-0813) provides emergency prescription medications (only once per year) to people who do not have this as part of their insurance plan or who can’t afford their medications.

Additional centers provide medical care and savings to the underserved. Low income patients, senior citizens, disabled, and others may all stop by for advice and health services. Find more clinics in Kalamazoo.





Free legal assistance in Kalamazoo Michigan

Call Legal Aid of Western Michigan. The pro-bono law firm provides free legal advice, consultations and representation to eligible low to moderate income individuals and residents of Kalamazoo County Michigan in civil (non-criminal) matters. Areas of legal aid and service are domestic violence, foreclosures, housing, public benefits, rent eviction and consumer; other services include referrals, community legal education and outreach. Dial 269-344-8113, or click here fore more on Michigan legal assistance.


By Jon McNamara

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