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Assistance programs in Marion, Bond, Washington, and Clinton County.

Get help, whether in the form of cash, grants, or loans for paying bills along with free stuff. Find where to apply in the region of Marion and Bond County (as well as surrounding towns) for emergency utility bill, deposit or rent assistance, mortgage help, free food or medical care, and more. The list of churches, charities, and non-profits in the area, including Clinton and Washington County that help the poor, elderly, and disabled are below. Or there is also short term support for emergency situations.

B.C.M.W. Community Services, Inc. may be able to arrange emergency financial assistance and related services. They run the Community Services Block Grant Program in the region, and have a wide variety of other assistance programs. The state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity helps fund the agency as well. The main office is at 909 East Rexford, Centralia, Illinois 62801-0729, call (618) 532-7380.

  • Emergency Resources and Services - Qualified families and individuals can receive medication, free food, shelter, and transportation in a crisis situation.
  • Christmas and Holiday Projects are available. These include Adopt-A-Family which can provide gifts to children. Food baskets, meals, and a Thanksgiving/Christmas Program is offered too. Coats for kids may be distributed.
  • Job and Employee Support Program- Provides local residents assistance with paying for and meeting employment related expenses for car repairs, uniforms etc. for low-income working individuals.
  • Job Development/ Placement - Provides employment services such as job placement and development activities for low-income, unemployed and working poor individuals.
  • Family and Community Development (FCD) – Meet with a case manager to develop a program to assess a family's immediate and longer term needs. Access resources from this service. Also the case manager will work with the family to devise a plan which will lead them to self-sufficiency, and ideally direct people to short term financial assistance programs. Read more on Illinois public assistance.




  • Referrals and Information – The community action agency can provide information and referrals in order to link low-income people with various local and national resources. For example, learn about government and public programs, services from local non-profits, and other aid. They may have information on the following.
    • Homeless Prevention and Rental Assistance, including security deposits, first months rent, utility bill and mortgage assistance. Resources are offered for those who are facing a temporary economic crisis.
    • Clothing pantries offer items for working adults, school children, and the working poor.
    • Transitional and Emergency Housing – Very short term, temporary homeless assistance is provided.
    • Front Door Program - Applicants must qualify and obtain a referral through the DHS public aid office. If you are qualified, receive employment related expenses.
    • EFSP Program – Learn where to apply for this federal program which also may offer rent and utility assistance, emergency food, and shelter. Families in Clinton and Marion County, as well as surrounding area, may apply.
    • Scholarships – Get information on competitive scholarships and information on educational grant programs. These services are offered to low-income students who are attending an Illinois state college.
    • Head Start – Receive education, social services, and more from this child development program. A number of comprehensive services are provided.
  • The Homebuyer Program can help residents looking to buy a home. Receive financial assistance and counseling when it comes to paying for down payment and closing costs. Specifically, this B.C.M.W. Community Services home buying program can help with paying for the down payment, closing costs and rehabilitation of a home. The qualified clients will receive a zero-interest, forgivable loan, which means it may not need to be repaid. Homebuyer will be provided a mandatory workshop on the mortgage application process, home selection, closing process, maintenance, budgets, and other related subjects to both help them buy a home and improve their financial situation.
  • Illinois Housing Development Authority provides money to the nonprofit to pay for home repairs in Clinton and Washington County as well as surrounding areas. The government money is used to pay for major rehabilitation work on owner-occupied properties in need of general repairs to ensure the home is safe and livable.





  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Get help for winter heating bills. The government LIHEAP program will provide a onetime cash benefit to eligible households to be used for paying their utility and energy bills. The amount of the payment is determined by the applicant’s fuel type, income, and household size. You will need to apply and meet with a representative from the LIHEAP program.
  • Project Bread was created by a partnership with Midland Area Agency on Aging. It offers a well-balanced noon meal for senior citizens in the region. For those who are homebound, Project Bread may be able to deliver food to your home.
  • Homeless families in Clinton and other counties can benefit from the Transitional Housing Program. Qualified participants are provided a subsidized transitional housing unit to live in for a short period of time. This will allow them to have shelter while they actively work on goals that will make them self-sufficient over the long term. Meet with case workers to address employment issues, income, transportation, employment, education, child care, health issues and housing. Ideally everyone will be able to find permanent housing, and maybe even get some funds to pay for rent or deposits.
  • Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) - Save fuel and importantly money on your utility bills, while increasing the comfort of their homes. The program is funded by the Department of Energy.  The agency works with the Illinois Department of Public Aid Office of Energy Assistance to offer this service in Washington, Bond, Clinton, and Marion counties. Click here for more information on federal government weatherization.

All of the programs listed above are offered by B.C.M.W. Community Services. Call (618) 532-7380, or get more details on BCMW programs.

Operation Blessing "People That Care" Inc. – Lower income families in the Wood River area can receive emergency assistance in the form of food and clothing. 18 East Lorena, Wood River, Illinois 62095, call (618) 251-5683

Society of St. Vincent De Paul of Edwardsville may have limited amounts of emergency financial assistance and referral services to low-income families and individuals across the region. Some funds may provide for food, rent, or utility bills in a crisis. St. Boniface Church, Edwardsville, Illinois 62025, phone (314) 881-6000

Jarvis Township Senior Citizens Center - Senior citizens in Troy, Illinois can receive meals and transportation. Dial (618) 667-2022

Glen-Ed Pantry – Offers emergency assistance with basic needs and other emergencies in Glen Carbon  and Edwardsville Illinois. 125 Fifth Avenue, Edwardsville, IL 62025, main number (618) 656-7506





Salvation Army in Centralia offers social services for families and individuals. There are many resources including senior centers, financial assistance for bills or rent, as well as an emergency homeless shelter. The charity also has day camps, substance abuse treatment, and child care. The main Centralia center can be reached at 618-532-5942 or (314) 646-3000, and it services all of Marion, Clinton, Washington and Jefferson County. Continue with Centralia area Salvation Army.

The assistance program from the Salvation Army can also help with heating oil, prescription eye glasses or drugs, clothing, and free food. There are also back to school supply giveaways as well as Angel Tree free Christmas gifts for kids. In Marion County Illinois dial 618-532-5942, or read more on the center and find other Illinois Salvation Army social services.

Urban League - Fosters community progress and long term sufficiency through job programs including advice and resume review. Other programs include training, literacy, shelter, youth development, food and clothing. Main number (314) 615-3600

Soup kitchens and free food banks

These can be run at a number of centers, including local churches, non-profits, and other charities. Many offer food boxes and community suppers through the year free of charge or for a small donation.

  • Gospel Light House Food Pantry, address is 1003 E Poplar, Odin, Illinois, phone 618-755-8383
  • Centralia Benevolent Association, 900 E Rexford St, Centralia, IL, call 618-533-2305
  • Angel Food Ministries, Eternity Baptist, 305 N Beech, Salem. Dial 618-533-4541 for low priced food boxes.


By Jon McNamara

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