Knox County Tennessee assistance programs.

Whether the family is low income, or facing a crisis, financial assistance is available in Knox County. Find how to get help with paying bills ranging from rent to utility, transportation for work, security deposits, a mortgage or medical needs. There are even charities and government funded organizations that offer free food, clothes, and household supplies to struggling families.

Government assistance as well as free stuff is also available in the Knoxville region. This includes everything from free motel vouchers near you to school supplies, dental care, daycare for kids, and even Christmas toys. Financial aid is also combined with debt as well as loan help.

Programs to help with bills, expenses, and more

Learn about various services and agencies below, including the Knoxville Knox Community Action Committee, which is a non profit public agency that has its primary goal is helping to serve the citizens of both Knox County and Knoxville Tennessee. They focus on aiding low to moderate income families, seniors, the unemployed and as well as underemployed, handicapped and others persons with disabilities, and other individuals that may have special needs or facing hardships.

To meet their goal of helping these individuals they offer local residents a variety of programs and services. Just a sampling of what is available include the following:

Affordable prescription drugs for seniors -They provide resources for ways to save on and reduce prescription drug bills through discounted and free medicine programs, Medicare, both state and federal programs, and plans that pharmaceutical companies may offer. Find other ways to save on prescriptions.

Free eye exams, glasses, dentures, and hearing aids - Grants and loans for people who can’t afford these items.





Free and discounted transportation - Receive free, limited transportation for individuals and families of all ages who reside within Knox County and if they have no other means to get to their workplace, medical appointments, critical shopping, and other essential transportation.

Home repairs - A countywide program is available that provides residents with minor home repairs and improvements in cooperation with the Knox County community development programs as well as the City of Knoxville.

Energy bills - They have emergency funds and grants that can be distributed to help people keep their utility services from being disconnected. They can also help people with understanding and applying for the federal government LIHEAP program.

Save money - The team from Knox County Community Action address saving, investing, and living within means. Everything from coupons to shopping smarter, creating a budget, and paying down debt may be covered. As an example, find details on free coupons for low income families.





Weatherization program - This is a federal funded program that will provide free updates and upgrades to homes to help the owners reduce their energy bills. People who use this program can save hundreds of dollars per year on their utility bills.

Housing assistance - The Knox CAC administers services such as Emergency Solutions Grant, Families in Need and other programs. The assistance available includes everything from funds to pay for back rent, utility expenses, moving costs or security deposits. A primary goal is to help clients locate a permanent home and/or prevent homeless in Knoxville. They even provide help including applications to section 8 housing choice vouchers.

Heating Bills- There are a few different options for people. They are all administered through the Knoxville Knox Community Action office. They include:

  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)- This federal government funded program provides cash grants to both low and middle income families. The assistance program operates three main components to people in need:
    • Crisis prevention or regular assistance. This will deal with issues before they enter the crisis phase.
    • Crisis assistance. If someone is in a crisis, this option is for them. It will provide immediate cash grants or heating fuel. It will also turn someone’s utility or heating service back on.
    • Summer cooling bill assistance. This provides air conditioners in the form of installation of free 5000BTU air conditioners for individuals with medical conditions that are aggravated by summer heat and the humidity in Tennessee.
  • Another program for heating bill assistance includes PROJECT HELP, which is a crisis intervention energy program.
  • Last but not least Knox County families can turn to LOCAL HEAT RELIEF, yet another local assistance program. 

This is just a sampling of the assistance programs offered. There are more. The main office of Knoxville Knox Community Action Committee is located at 2247 Western Avenue in Knoxville, but a few smaller offices are scattered around the county. Call them at (865) 546-3500, or read more Knox CAC programs.




Senior citizen programs

The CAC-Office of Aging is a great resource for seniors. They offer numerous programs, including the following. They offer meals, but the biggest benefit of the office may be Senior Citizens Information and Referral Service (SCIRS) program. This is a free service that provides detailed information on programs and referral to/for senior citizens. It is also part of Eldercare referrals.

The programs will give seniors seeking help in such areas as housing assistance, transportation, health and insurance, recreation, finances, retirement, debt help, or general counseling. For example, get information on senior rent assistance programs from section 202 housing. Dial 524-2786 to speak to the office of Aging.

Help for bills in a crisis

The Knoxville Catholic Charities is one place to turn to. They provide referrals to financial help for rent and housing expenses. They also run a shelter and are a great resource for local families. The organization is one of the nation’s leading charity organizations and the programs they run help thousands of local families in eastern Tennessee. Other resources include transportation for seniors, free food, information on immigration services, and help for pregnant families/woman. Dial 524-9896, or read more Knoxville Catholic Charities.

Ladies of Charity also provides emergency assistance and financial aid such as a nutritious three-day supply of food based on family income and size, rent assistance, medication and prescription drugs, clothing, baby layettes, diapers, and limited utility and heating assistance to individuals and families. In addition to these options, non-utility fuel assistance is also available for coal, firewood, and kerosene heating sources. 524-0538.

Of course you can always contact the Salvation Army. Phone 525-9401. The local branch runs an Emergency Assistance Program. They also have free seasonal stuff, including Thanksgiving dinners, school supplies, and Angel Tree Christmas gifts. This program from the charity provides financial assistance and help for paying bills and debts. Receive supplementary aid and support such as free food, clothing, prescription drugs, furniture, and household items to local families and individuals in emergency or crisis situations. Find more information on Knoxville Salvation Army centers.

Second Harvest Food Bank can be contacted if you need food for your next meal. They run assistance programs including Food for Kids, Knoxville Harvest, and provides cased food to those in need. Phone number is 521-0000.

Volunteer Ministry Center and the The Bush Family Refuge provides utility bill assistance as funding allows. To be qualified for aid, you must live in Knox County Tennessee and in addition VMC asks that your unpaid utility bill be under $100 to qualify for assistance from the program. Dial 524-3926.





Ladies of Charity provides limited emergency cash grants and funds for last $30 of rent bill owed. The program is available to public housing Knoxville Tennessee residents in KCDC housing only. Dial (865) 522-6341, or learn more on Ladies of Charity.

The charity can also offer referrals. So while resources are very limited, the faith based group will do its best to meet all requests given to it. Click here for other low income programs.

Migrant workers can get help from TOPS. Phone (865) 673-3053. They provide utility and rent help, credit counseling, job search and employment programs, and other forms of aid.

North Neighborhood Center - Project Help provides monetary assistance for heating bills and any other fuel source each winter. Other funding may be offered for paying rent, housing costs, and providing for other basic needs. Dial (865) 925-0880. Additional Neighborhood Center addresses are:

  • 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920, call (865) 577-7591
  • 7028 Maynardville Highway, Knoxville, TN 37918, call (865) 925-0880
  • 2247 Western Ave, Knoxville, Tennessee 37921, telephone (865) 524-3345
  • 4200 Asheville Hwy, Knoxville, TN 37914, main number is (865) 546-5125

Independent Living Program – This non-profit organization provides cash grants to Knox County residents who use mental health services. Financial assistance can be used to pay rent, eye exams, utilities, some car repair, eyeglasses and dentures. You can only apply for help at most once per year. 1451 Dowell Springs Blvd., Knoxville, Tennessee 37909, dial 865-970-9800.

Free holiday help - Disadvantaged Knox County families and those facing a one time crisis can apply for meal and free Christmas toy programs. Both local and regional charities as well as volunteer groups provide food boxes, free gifts to children, and companionship to the elderly. Click free holiday assistance in Knox County.

Hope For Today - Provides cancer patients with limited amounts of financial assistance. Applicants need to be uninsured or meet low income levels. These qualified patients may receive assistance for buying food, gasoline, housing expense, rent and utility payments. They emphasize physical healing and spiritual support for patients as well. Piney Grove Baptist Church, phone (865) 983-4948

Navy - Marine Corps Relief Society will try to arrange emergency financial assistance (in the form of grants or loans) for both active Navy and Marine Corps personnel or their families in Knox County Assistance is also offered for veterans too. This will also involved budget and credit counseling services. Money can be used for needs such as medical bills, rent, utilities and more. (901) 874-7350

Child and Family Transitional Housing Program for Women offers shelter, case management, and assistance in finding a permanent home. Address is 901 East Summit Hill Dr, Knoxville, TN 37915. Dial (865) 637-8000 for intake.

Assistance for clothing and household goods is available from several charities. Some sell items, such as a coat or piece of furniture, at a low cost and other charities provide the items for free, such as school supplies or work clothing. Knox County clothing closets may also offer help at Christmas or Easter. Read more on free clothes and school supplies in Knox County.





Society of Saint Vincent partners with churches and other organizations in Knox County to help the less fortunate and poor. A focus is on basic needs, and this can be met through items from the thrift store or seasonal assistance such as Christmas and free school supplies. Financial aid for bills, rent, and medications is very limited, but it may be available as well. Other St. Vincent resources are for seniors, children, and the disabled in Knoxville Tennessee. Learn more on Saint Vincent de Paul emergency assistance in Knoxville.

ADFAC is focused on preventing homelessness in the Appalachian region of Tennessee. They offer everything from low income apartments to grants and foreclosure counseling. More on Aid to Distressed Families.

Volunteers of America offers various social services, with a focus on housing assistance. They also run the  Supportive Services for Veteran Families, or SSVF. This offers eviction prevention, federal government grants for paying rent, job placement assistance, and more. They also will have shelter and information on low income apartments for the general public, in particular seniors. Knoxville, TN 37917, (865) 546-4813.

TN Opportunity Programs assists migrant or seasonal farm workers in Knox County. This is a government funded program that is available to qualified low income immigrants that work in labor intensive jobs. The non-profit is involved in administering grant based aid, as follows.

Emergency rent help, funds for paying utilities, and referrals are offered, including to food pantries or loan programs. The goal is to stop a crisis. The homeless can explore resources for security deposits as well. Telephone - (865) 281-8677.

The Department of Human Services administers federal government and state benefits. The main ones in Knox County include welfare from TANF, SNAP food stamps, and free or low cost child care vouchers. But there are other temporary public assistance programs available as well.

The case workers from DHS use Families First to provide short term support. They also arrange self-sufficiency services, ranging from employment to job placement. Whether it is a grant for paying bills or information on employment programs, the county may help. More on Knox County public assistance.

Knox County Helen Ross McNabb Center provides social services in the form of parenting classes. All of the resources from the center are offered for free and are also DCS certified. For more information on the assistance provides from the classes, call (865) 523-8695 x 1149.

Homeowner/Tenant homeless prevention programs combine case management, government grants, and placement into temporary housing in Knox County. HUD provides an annual allotment of money to the county each year, and agencies may use it as needed to stop homelessness or reverse it.

Funding is available to individuals that are not too far behind on their housing costs. Some clients will be referred to legal aid or loan programs. No matter the clients background (whether a senior, single mom, or disability) rent or foreclosure assistance may be provided. More on homeless prevention in Knox County.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee offers numerous social services in Knox County. They include free food, meals, referrals, and Transitional Supportive Housing. The units are rent subsidized. Or get help with other meeting needs, such as clothing or free holiday programs. 119 Dameron Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37917, call (865) 971-3570.

Non-profit rent help - Several organizations across Knox County can help families pay their rent, security deposits, and find low income housing. The agencies range from government programs to churches and local charities, and they all focus on meeting housing needs. Find information on Knox County rent assistance.





Knox County financial resources that are available statewide

There are government programs and non-profits that support all of Tennessee, including the city of Knoxville. they include the following.

The disabled have a wide ranging of programs too. There is financial assistance, low cost loans, free homecare, and many other services. Even get help in applying for SSI or SSDI. Find more on emergency disability financial aid programs.

Health care for patients with no insurance

The working uninsured and low income can get healthcare from Interfaith Health Clinic. Phone 546-7330. This medical care program provides an on-site family practice health care to working families and individuals without health insurance. Services provided by the clinic include lab work and x-rays on a free or sliding fee scale. Specialty clinics including podiatry, diabetic counseling, gynecology, and minor surgery are held at the health care clinic as well on a regular basis. Mental health counseling, dental care, and affordable prescription medications are also offered on-site.

Other places to turn to for free or low cost health care in Knoxville include West Knoxville Free Clinic ((865) 675-3743), InterFaith Health Clinic (phone (865) 546-7330), and the Free Medical Clinic of America ((865) 577-3733). All of these community clinics provide numerous health care services to the low income, working poor, and others. Some of the care may be free, or low cost based upon the patients income. Get access to check ups, access to medications, and counseling.

In addition to those locations, there are several other medical and dental clinics in the region. Find more Knox County Tennessee free community clinics.

Food assistance in Knox County

All of the following offer food, serve meals from a soup kitchen, run a food pantry, or may be able to provide other household assistance. Food in the Fort ((865) 524-4552), Harvest Food Pantry ((865) 637-1295), Faith Promise Church ((865) 251-2590), Friendship Baptist Church (phone (865) 691-4084), Faith United Methodist Church ((865) 688-1000). Read more on food banks and pantries.

Note, that those are just a sampling of some of the churches and food banks in Knox County Tennessee. Several other food distribution centers operate in the region. Find more free food pantries in Knox County.

Mortgage and foreclosure help

The Knoxville Area Urban League provides homebuyer’s education, mortgage and foreclosure default intervention strategies, and budgeting/credit repair, as well as debt reduction programs. 524-5511.





Legal Aid of East Tennessee (dial (865) 637-0484) can offer Knoxville homeowners a certified foreclosure counselor who can provide information on various resources, services and mortgage programs that are offered by government agencies, the state of Tennessee and private and community organizations. Find more on Tennessee free legal assistance.

Knox Housing Partnership, Inc. (865) 637-1679 is another HUD approved counseling agency.

By Jon McNamara

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