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Assistance programs Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

Find the churches, charities, government agencies including County office, and non-profits to apply at for financial help. Residents of Lancaster County can get help with their rent or mortgages, heating or utility bills, free food or resources for their medical needs. There are also free groceries or hot meals from food pantries, medical or dental services, clothes, debt counseling services and even job placement resources.

Children from low income households are a focus as on senior citizens. Charities can give children from back to school supplies or Christmas toys, as donations allow. There are also rental or housing programs for senior mothers as well as health care, medications, and assisted living for the elderly in Lancaster County. Find information below.

Find housing assistance, emergency help for bills, medical, food and more

The local Lancaster County commissioners (working with non-profits) uses government funds to help people find assistance with paying their rent and also prevent an eviction. This program will support those individuals and families who are on the verge of losing their apartments or leased homes. A major focus is on families with children, including single moms with income and other considerations in place. More on rental and apartment assistance programs for single moms.

Government funds will provide qualified lower income households them with rental assistance for up to a six months timeframe. In addition, people who have recently lost their homes and have become homeless can also get financial aid to put them back into a property.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Federal Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program is usually offered on an annual basis to Lancaster County. The county and city have worked together, and they often combine their respective funds, to initiate to provide struggling residents help with paying rent, financial assistance and even housing relocation services to stop evictions. The goal is to prevent homelessness and to get homeless people back into affordable, quality housing as quick as possible.

There are conditions and criteria. Tabor or CAP will determine how much monthly rent a family can afford to pay each month for their housing, and then money for payments that will cover the rest of the monthly bill will be sent on the applicant's behalf directly to the landlord to cover any shortfall in rent.




In addition, if applicants to the program have already have lost their homes or apartments, the program will provide money to relocate them to new housing and help them get back on their feet. All housing may be addressed.

The assistance is not provided indefinitely. The local program's guidelines state that a person can get assistance for up to three months at the start of the program. Then, if they still need rent or housing help after that time, the assistance can be extended for another three months, for a total of 6 months.

The county redevelopment authority is managing this program, and it will be implemented by a partnership that involves Tabor Community Services, the United Way of Lancaster County (dial 211).

Additional Lancaster PA housing and rental assistance programs - Almost 10 other organizations specialize in providing rent and housing assistance. Families who are faced with a crisis, who have an imminent eviction, or who may need help paying for a security deposit or assistance in applying for section 8 can get help from these centers. Find more information on Lancaster County rent assistance.

Find help with bills from Tabor Community Services. This is a community program for Lancaster County residents. Tabor Community Services helps Lancaster County, PA families and individuals by teaching and enhancing them the skills they need to solve their financial and housing problems. They offer a variety of assistance programs, and can put people in contact with the correct organizations.

They offer credit counseling and credit card help, mortgage and foreclosure advice, resources for rent help, self sufficiency programs, and more. Call them at (717) 397-5182, or stop by at 308 East King Street, Lancaster Pennsylvania.

Community Action Program of Lancaster is another regional non-profit. You can receive short term help from this community action program as well. Some of the financial aid that can be obtained is with utility bills, food aid, child care, and more.





As an example of one program offered, the OnTrack program can help with heating and energy bills. Some of this assistance provided is a reduced equal monthly payment on their utility bill, and it will be based upon both family income and size. They will also guarantee electrical service without threat of cutoff. You can also get some old bills canceled as well, and OnTrack provides the cancellation of any portion of unpaid bills and any debt owed to PP&L for every month the family makes the OnTrack Payment schedule. Weatherization energy saving programs can also be implemented.

The non-profit offers may other services too. There are grant programs for paying bills; job placement; home repair services; information on affordable health insurance plans; and several others. All of the resources from the community action agency resolve around fighting poverty and ending it in the county.

Contact the Community Action Program of Lancaster for more information and applications for assistance. 205 East King Street, Lancaster, PA 17602-5025, phone number is (717) 295-4883. or continue reading on Community Action Program Lancaster County.

Two non-profit agencies to turn to for help include Neighborhood Services (717.392.2175) and the Salvation Army (717.397.6255). Neighborhood Services offers assistance such as The Conservatory Program, the Guardianship Program, The Representative Payee Program, The Discretionary Budget Assistance and Emergency Intervention Program. The non-profit agency also helps people in financial crisis.

On the other hand, the Salvation Army of Lancaster County offers families and individuals immediate emergency assistance to people in need of help, without discrimination to their background. The agency provides help for rent and housing costs, low-cost child care, gasoline vouchers, food and utility bill assistance. There are also seasonal programs, including free Thanksgiving turkey dinners, winter jackets, Christmas toys or meals, as well as school supplies. Click here to find additional electric bill help, which is offered nationwide as well.

The Salvation Army of Lancaster County offers a wide array of other programs, and has a few locations in the region. Meet with a case manager to learn about additional services available, including job training and holiday assistance. Read more Lancaster Salvation Army.

Lancaster County Assistance Office is the main office for government and public assistance. A variety of applications are offered ranging from SNAP food stamps to Medicaid, elder care services, cash aid, and homeless prevention grants. Most of the assistance, including cash aid, is short term in nature and is combined with rules and regulations around work. The location is 832 Manor St, Lancaster, PA 17603. For details dial (717) 299-7411.

Ephrata Area Social Services provides assistance to portions of Lancaster County. The non-profit works closely with local churches and charities to help the less fortunate and poor. While some financial aid may be offered for paying rent or utilities, the focus is on basic needs.

The organization may be able to provide free food or clothing from a pantry and clothing bank. Other support includes Meals on Wheels for seniors and the disabled as well as free or low cost transportation. Read Ephrata Area Social Services programs.

Programs for free holiday assistance are available. A number of agencies provide everything from food and a hot meal to free toys, Christmas gifts, and presents for children. Churches and other groups may also bring a meal to a senior or homebound person in Lancaster as well. More on free holiday help in Lancaster County.

  • Another option is the Lancaster County Project for the Needy - This organization focuses on food and other related social services. A particular emphasis is on providing assistance around the holidays, including Christmas. Meals, gifts, toys, and other holiday aid is offered. Click here.





Salem Family Ministry runs a free food and clothing bank. Other aid may be gasoline vouchers, funds for rent or energy bills, vouchers for fruits and baby formula, and more. Location is 339 West Gramby Street, Manheim, Pennsylvania, 17545, dial 717-665-2331

The Lancaster County winter can be cold and long. Many kids and seniors need help in staying warm. Clothes and other goods are needed, but there are ways to get assistance. Whether it is boots, hats, gloves, or something else, find places that give free winter clothes.

Rent Help from the ESG Homeless Assistance Program - Emergency Solution Grants in Lancaster also includes funds and grants. The funds can be distributed to help low to moderate income people pay their rent, and there are also funds to also prevent an eviction. The program has a federal as well as state government component.

Its goal is to help low-income and struggling families pay their rent and also avoid eviction. It also helps pay for long term housing. A number of residents may qualify, including single moms or the disabled among others. In addition, if someone is currently homeless, it can also help the homeless find permanent housing and also pay their first month's rent and security deposit. For more details on ESG in the region, dial 211 for referrals.

Homes of Hope is only for residents in the Warwick area. There may be emergency money to help prevent an eviction. Any support will include budgeting and sessions with a credit counselor. The goal of the non-profit is to keep families, including those with children and single moms, housed. Call 717-735-7540.

Fair Housing Center is located at 123 East King Street. Lancaster County tenants that are threatened with an illegal eviction, or face unsafe housing conditions, can get free advice and support, including legal aid. There may also be referrals to financial support and targeted services, such as SSVF for veterans in Lancaster or supportive housing for the disabled or elderly. Phone - 717-299-7840, or read more Fair Housing in Lancaster County.

Locations of free clothing or furniture banks and distribution centers for household supplies - Low income families that are in a crisis, have children in school, or are working can be provided free clothes, school supplies, furniture for a home or apartment and similar goods. Other locations sell items at a low price. Find free clothing closets, furniture banks and school supplies in Lancaster County.

Government and non-profit homeless prevention - Tenants and homeowners can seek help as part of welfare or they can contact a charity. There are resources for struggling families, with a focus on veterans and the disabled among others. When qualified, eviction or foreclosure help includes everything from counseling to direct financial aid. Continue with homeless prevention in Lancaster County.

Non-profit food banks

There are agencies across Lancaster County that provide free groceries, emergency food boxes, and other assistance to struggling families. Some of the centers will even have clothing or serve special holiday or Christmas meals. Some pantries include the following.

  • Columbia Food Bank - 717-449-5101 has referrals, emergency food and more.
  • NE County Food Bank has vouchers and other help. Telephone - 717-354-3776.
  • Senior centers may deliver free meals to the elderly and also operate congregate sites.

There are many other locations, including food banks as well as soup kitchens for hot meals. Find more free food pantries in Lancaster County. Each generally has free groceries, health classes, and other support.

Lancaster County Food Hub (formerly known as Council of Churches) provides assistance if residents are out of all other options. They have a free food pantry for groceries along with meals as well as a clothing bank. The Food Hub is located at 812 N. Queen Street in Lancaster, and it is open from 9:30 to 11:45 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday as well as Fridays, however hours may change.







 Generally free clothing can be given at the same time as food. Local charities and churches can help with the following from their office at 812 North Queen Street, Lancaster, PA 17603, Phone 717-291-2261.

Job finding services and other aid in Lancaster

The Urban League is a community-based organization with a mission to help low income, minority groups, working poor and the other disadvantaged in the community reach their full potential. The organization is located in Southeast Lancaster. Programs are offered in employment and training, job finding assistance, life skills education, HIV/AIDS outreach, information on grant programs, teen pregnancy support services, and  other aid is offered. Call 717.394.1966

The Urban League also has general information on increasing income. This can include gig type jobs, flex positions, or even work at home opportunities. They can be a primary or second source of some extra cash. Find other income producing opportunities.

Free medical and dental services

A facility to stop by at is the SouthEast Lancaster Health Services. Call 717.299.6371 to make an appointment. The medical facility provides bilingual medical and dental services to Lancaster Pennsylvania residents. The help provided will be based on a family focused, preventive approach to health care and dental needs.

Specialties offered by the clinic include obstetric/gynecology, chiropractic, pediatrics, dental cleanings and surgery, cardiology, psychiatric care, and general check ups. Much of the health and dental care is free to low income families. They even can advice people on how to settle medical debts.

The Welsh Mountain Medical & Dental Center is a so called rural community health center that has as its mission the goal of providing high quality medical and dental care, as well as health education services. The medical facility ensures that everyone in the area has access to complete healthcare, especially the unemployed, low income, and uninsured. The facility focuses its help on those who may not have financial resources and funds. Phone number 717.354.4711.

Low cost or free child care

Elizabethtown Child Care Center, which can be reached at 717.361.9824 offers very affordable or free, high quality child care. Costs of the child care services will be based on parental household income as well as the family size. The services offered by the center enable low-income parents to work and become self-sufficient over the long term.

Another agency that may be able to help is the Lancaster Day Care Center. This non-profit agency also provides low cost or free quality day care for children. The center was established to assists low-to-moderate-income families with child care fees and expenses. Call them at 717.392.7413.





State of Pennsylvania, as well as federal government funded voucher programs can also help pay for daycare. It is usually subsidized, but some clients in Lancaster County may receive 100% financial aid. There are work and/or job training requirements around this though. More on free daycare in Pennsylvania.

Get free legal counsel and representation from lawyers

MidPenn Legal Services provides free legal assistance, counsel, advice, and representation to low-income and elderly families in the Lancaster Pennsylvania region. Some of the clients they help have issues to deal with such as foreclosures, domestic violence, welfare, debt collectors, elderly, homelessness, social security, and other poverty-related issues.

Attorneys from MPLS will help increase access to the justice system for the elderly and poor families, and they help clients foster independence, as well as addresses both the symptoms and the root causes of poverty and low income families in the area. Dial 717.234.0492, or click here to learn more on free legal aid in Pennsylvania.


By Jon McNamara

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