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Lane County and Eugene Catholic Charities assistance programs.

Support for low income families is provided by Catholic Charities of Lane County Oregon. Qualified individuals will be able to work with a case manager in an effort to find a solution to their needs, whether it is funds to pay rent, utilities, or job counseling. A number of the Catholic Charity programs are provided by referring families to other regional non-profits and charities.

Assistance is often administered as part of a resource known as Family Support. The case manager assigned to the client will help them identify the resources they need to increase opportunities for family success, increase income, pay short term bills and otherwise reduce family stress levels. This is available as a free, voluntary and family-friendly service. It is paid for by donations, local churches, and with a large grant from the Oregon Department of Human Services. Dial 541-345-3628.

Emergency assistance is available in both Eugene and Springfield Oregon. This can include the following.

  • Food, including hot meals, holiday assistance, and emergency bags of groceries. Personal hygiene items are also available.
  • Clothing for both work or school.
  • Information on housing, including shelters in Lane County and emergency rental assistance. Or learn about the Catholic Charity Homeless Day Center.
  • Prescription assistance and vouchers.
  • Other services include, but are not limited to, phone use and assistance obtaining identification.
  • Get information and referrals to local food banks and social service programs.

Housing assistance is an option for those at risk of becoming homeless or who are currently without a place to live. While all resources are limited, churches and Catholic Charities may be able to help with Homeless Prevention/Rent assistance. This can assist those who are already renting an apartment but who are at risk of imminent eviction. Counseling can provide free information and referrals regarding affordable rental housing options.

Homeless programs include Housing Transitions. This will provide currently homeless families and individuals with emergency rental assistance, deposits and one-on-one support for a few months while they get on their feet. Or the Homeless Family Shelter is an option. As funding allows, Catholic Charity vouchers may pay for temporary shelter in a local motel. However the clients needs to work towards self-sufficiency. Only a very limited number of Lane County families may qualify for help, mostly due to the high demand.




Utility bill assistance is generally offered only during the winter months, as they can be particularly difficult for seniors and low-income families. Energy bills tend to be higher during the winter, so they are more difficult to pay. The Catholic Charity Community Service Centers tend to help thousands of Lane County families per year with some form of utility or heating bill assistance. There is normally a waiting list created and families can only apply certain times of the year, which tends to be in October or November. Those local households with a person who is a senior or has a permanent disability will receive priority of any funding.

Apply for LIHEAP at Catholic Charities. The organization partners with the Lane County Human Services Commission to process applications, administer funds, and generally oversee the program. The program can help with any type of energy expense, whether natural gas, oil, electricity, propane, or something else. Funds can be combined with other Oregon assistance programs such as Helping Hands, OEAP, OLGA, EWEB, Oregon Heat or SUB. Get more details on those below.

  • Springfield Utility Board (SUB) offers the Project Share program. This is funded by donations and may be an option during a crisis.
  • The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) Customer Care program requires an appointment from the applicant. Bring proof of hardship, a current EWEB bill, and other proof of income.
  • Many Lane County residents use Pacific Power. Those low income customers may benefit from the Oregon Energy Assistance Program (OEAP). They need to be facing a disconnection of their service.
  • Helping Hands is a possibility for Emerald People's Utility District (EPUD). Customers need to have a balance on their account in order to apply for energy assistance from this program.
  • Northwest Natural Gas Company can provide customers access to OLGA, or the Oregon Low Income Gas Assistance program. This is a cash grant program that is similar to LIHEAP. Many Eugene and Lane County residents may benefit from it.





Another social service resource is known as the Young Fathers’ Program. This is focused on assisting and addressing the needs of young males in the community. The focus is on men that are expecting a child, adopting or step father, currently parenting a child, or trying to regain custody of a child. Several classes and workshops are coordinated by Catholic Charities in an effort to ensure clients are self-sufficient and caring for their children and families.


By Jon McNamara

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