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Assistance programs Marion County Florida and Florida.

Find a list of churches, government assistance programs, charities, or non-profits that offer financial help in Marion County. Apply for grants to pay electric or utility bills, money for a rent or security deposit, free from from pantries, and other support in Marion County and Ocala. Clients range from low income families to the working poor or those on a fixed income.

In addition to direct emergency financial aid in the Ocala area, there is also free medical or dental care, school supplies for kids, bus passes or gas vouchers, senior centers, Christmas toys and other support. The agencies in Marion County Florida provide financial assistance for bills, help for the elderly or seniors and free stuff to the needy.

Get help with paying bills and rent from community action

The Central Florida Community Action Agency has a program that provides individuals and families help with paying utility and cooling bills. The need for help is unprecedented, with many people now requesting aid who never have in the past. If someone needs help, the Central Florida Community Action Agency can provide aid on a general basis. However, there are some income criteria, and the most that someone can receive help is but once a year. The maximum grants they can receive for an energy bill is $300, and they can also receive up to $600 if they have a disconnect notice.

If your utility provider is Clay Electric, which currently provides service for almost 20,000 people in Alachua County, you can get additional utility bill assistance through the Salvation Army, as those two groups have partnered together.

Some of the other aid that one can receive includes emergency assistance. This can include direct assistance for basic needs such as rental assistance, food, energy payments, transportation to and from work, nutrition, and more. They also run the local weatherization program to help people upgrade their homes for free to conserve energy.

They are located at 410 E. Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala Florida. Dial (352) 378-2168. Read more Central Florida Community Action Agency.




Emergency financial assistance in Marion County

The Marion County Homeless Council (phone number call 211) receives federal as well as state government funds and is now taking applications for the government Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program. The funds will be spent to help prevent individuals and families from being evicted and losing their homes. There are also emergency security deposit assistance programs nationwide.

The housing assistance program was created to mostly assist renters who are in danger of losing their homes or maybe who have lost their housing because of a change in their employment, or because their landlord has been foreclosed on, or because their income has decreased. The federal government stimulus money will also help keep people in their homes by providing money for rent, utility bills, security deposits, and more. In addition, the money will also help people get housed by paying hotel/motel bills or moving expenses and the like.

Grants and funds from the program can be used by applicants to assist with paying their rent or utility bill payments to stay in their current homes. The funds can even be used to pay for security deposits and other costs to relocate to other rental housing. Learn about additional ways to get rent assistance, including federal government eviction prevention programs.

Brothers Keeper of Marion County provides financial assistance with partial payment of rent that can be made due to those eligible. The agency may be able to assists with partial payment of additional expenses as well, such as the OEU (city of Ocala) utility bills. Programs for health care are also offered, as the agency may provides $50 maximum in prescription assistance once every 6 months to those eligible for help. Last, but not least clothing and food can be offered. Call the Ocala Florida agency at (352) 622-3846, or read more Brother's Keeper assistance programs.

Salvation Army of Marion County provides numerous social service programs. Some of the resources offered include utility bill assistance. There is also free or clothing, furniture and household items are for sale from the Thrift Store for those qualified individuals who are needing assistance with obtaining affordable clothing or furniture.

Meals and a food pantry are served on site, including holiday meals and free Christmas gifts. Also housing programs, such as rent assistance or apartments for senior citizens, may be offered along with free back to school supplies for low income parents. Dial (352) 732-8326, or read Marion County Salvation Army programs.





Annie W. Johnson Senior And Family Center – The non-profit agency provides limited financial assistance with utility, mortgage expenses or rent payment assistance in emergency situations. 1991 W. Test Court, Dunnellon, Florida 34430, phone (352) 489-8021

Homeless shelters and transitional housing - Marion County Florida residents that are behind on their rent and facing imminent eviction may be good candidates for transition housing programs. Hundreds of families from the region receive support. The programs provide a place to stay, access to food and other basic needs, as help as help in finding and paying for a new home. More on transitional housing Marion County.

City of Ocala Hall – Runs a program known as Social Security and Disability Billing Program. The service was designed to help people make the payment on the due date of a utility or cooling bill at the beginning of the month for seniors on Social Security and disabled citizens who have Ocala Electric. 151 SE Osceola Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34471, dial (352) 629-2489

St. Theresa's Catholic Church Social Services can help those facing imminent eviction or foreclosure. Limited rent or mortgage payment assistance is available from their Social Service Department, but funds are limited.

The Resource Center at the church also allows free use of computers to families living in poverty. Or anyone from Marion County can use the thrift store for clothing or furniture. 11528 South Highway 301, Belleview, FL 34420, (352) 245-1359. Find help from St. Theresa's Catholic Church.

Churches not only provide material goods, hot meals, and support, but they also offer financial aid. It is limited though and based on donations and tithes among other sources. Some offer other funding too, and find how to get loans from churches.

Marion County Kidney Foundation Inc. may have financial assistance or grants for Marion County residents who are on dialysis, have Stage 4, 5 Chronic Kidney Disease, or are a kidney transplant recipient. Get help with utilities, rent/mortgage, food, prescription medications, transportation, dietary supplements, eye glasses, and other medical equipment. (352) 671-5013

Marion Senior Services helps seniors and the elderly in the Marion community region. Services include Care for the Elderly, Alzheimer's Disease Initiative Programs, as well as Emergency Home Energy Bill Assistance. There are also free meals, local social services programs (ADA Medicaid Waiver, the CDC + Program), and other support. 1101 SW 20th Court, Ocala, Florida 34471, phone (352) 620-3501. Or more on help for seniors.





Referrals are offered from Love Inc. of Central Florida and Marion County. It is a network of local churches that try to help the poor, parents with children, the elderly and vulnerable. A hotline gives referrals to everything from free furniture or clothing banks to food, baby supplies, Life Skills training workshops, volunteer transportation programs and more. Continue with Heart of Florida Love Inc. assistance programs.

Community Legal Services works to ensure the low income and less fortunate have representation. The nonprofit law firm operates in Marion County Florida. They offer free, or low cost, yet high quality legal assistance to low-income residents. Help is only for legal matters. Call 352.629.6257.

Shores Volunteer Skills Bank may have emergency assistance for utility bills. This includes water, electric, cooling, and other types as well. (352) 687-4848.

Charities in the region, as well as national organizations, can help low income or struggling Marion County residents. They can offer a wide range of services, including transportation, emergency financial help, medications (even for cancer or chronic conditions), shared housing, and much more. Find a list of charities that help with bills.

Interfaith Emergency services - In addition to the resources indicated below, they also have hygiene items, food assistance, and clothing,. The organization also operates a shelter for women and children, single parents, and residents facing homelessness. A thrift store and soup kitchen is north of downtown Ocala Florida. In Reddick, call 352.591.2260 or dial 352.629.8868 in Ocala.

State and national government assistance programs can always be applied too. There are several available to families with an income under poverty levels. Vouchers can pay for child care, SSI disability provides cash assistance, and even programs for car repairs. Find financial help from state governments.

Marion County Free Holiday Assistance - There are several agencies that may be able to help. Low income families, or people facing a crisis (such as unemployment) maybe given assistance such as the following.

  • Hot meals are served at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Children can be given free Christmas toys and gifts.
  • Seniors and the homebound in Ocala can apply for home delivered meals or food.
  • Other assistance is also available at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Learn more on free holiday assistance in Marion County.

Emergency rental assistance and low income housing - People who rent their home or apartments may be able to qualify for cash assistance or for free advice and case management. Several non-profits, churches, and charities focus on providing rent help, transitional housing, shelter, and landlord/tenant mediation. Read more on how to get rent assistance in Marion County Florida.

Family and Life Connection Network can be reached at 352.622.8960. The non-profit charity has financial assistance to low-and-no-income families for rent or utilities, emergency food assistance, clothing, local transportation assistance and in-home care to seniors.

Household goods, including free clothing and furniture as well as school supplies are provided from free clothing closets. There are also furniture banks as well Families as well as the working poor can apply for everything from school supplies to items for work or holiday toys. Some Marion County thrift stores may even offer gift certificates to use for furniture or baby supplies. Or find free desks, appliances, beds, mattresses and other household furniture. Continue with free clothing closets, furniture and school supplies in Marion County.







Employment assistance from North Central Florida Job Readiness and Placement Services, Inc. The center provides self improvement counseling, job placement, employment skills training and tutoring to children and target groups. Phone 352.854.5802.

Local eviction prevention programs have limited funding, but can also arrange case management and legal aid. Organizations combine resources in an effort to help veterans, families living in poverty, and Marion County residents in a crisis. Assistance includes money for rent as well as utility bills, water, and deposits for a new apartment. Other aid may be provided too. More on Marion County eviction and rehousing help.

Community with a Heart Assistance Program

Local residents, local charitable and social service agencies and others have come together to start Community with a Heart. It is a program that is administered by the Ocala Star-Banner and it was created to assist people who have fallen between the cracks of existing assistance programs and can’t qualify for help from anywhere else. It is meant to serve as an option of last resort.

Tens of thousands of dollars are disbursed each and every year to qualified applicants, and the grants can be used to pay for rent, utility bills, monthly mortgage payments, car repairs, medical emergencies, and various other needs that families may have. Those requesting assistance are thoroughly screened to ensure their needs are legitimate and that the funds are being used appropriately. The aid provided is not meant to serve as a long term charity program, but instead provide people with money to make it through short term challenges they may be facing.

There are many agencies involved in administering this program, including, but not limited to, the Brother’s Keeper, Marion Senior Services, Central Florida Community Action Agency, Marion County Schools Social Services, and others. Contact one to learn more about Community With a Heart.

HUD foreclosure programs, and debt assistance services

Greenpath Debt Solutions is the local non-profit credit and homeowner counseling agency. Call them at (888) 776-6735. Programs offered include Housing Delinquency/Foreclosure Counseling, Rental Counseling, Bankruptcy advice, Debt management plans, and information on mortgage assistance programs in Florida.

Marion County families can get other debt help as well, with free assistance given to the low income. It is possible to reduce credit card or medical debts. Or extend the payment terms for a car loan or get a lower interest rate. Find free non-profit credit counseling in Florida.

Free health care and prescription medications

Interfaith Emergency Services, which is based in Ocala, provides the following. Prescription glasses and eye exam provided by local optometrist.. They assists with providing for long-term prescription assistance programs through pharmaceutical manufacturers and drug companies. Learn about patient assistance programs. Dial (352) 629-8868.

Heart of Florida Health Center is a community clinic that is specializing in low-income and uninsured residents in Marion County. (352) 732-6599

Other community clinics in the area include Bellam Medical Clinic - Dunnellon, FL (352) 465-1199, Citra Family Health - Citra (352) 595-7777.

Senior Citizen programs in Marion County Florida

Marion County Senior Services ((352) 620-3501 offers such assistance as Community Care for the Elderly. There are also grants as part of Emergency Home Energy Bill Assistance, local services programs (ADA Medicaid Waiver, ALE Medicaid Waiver, and the CDC + Program), Food Pantries, Counseling, and more.





Free food programs, meals, hygiene supplies and food pantries

Several churches, charities and non-profit centers distribute free food, groceries, and meals to the low income and needy in the community. Items such as fruits, vegetables, breads, and meats are distributed to people of all backgrounds and income levels. Some of the leading agencies include Citra First United Methodist Church ((352) 595-3151) as well as Community Of Gratitude (dial (352) 288-3499).

There are other free food pantry distribution centers and programs in the county. They focus on low income families as well as children and the elderly. Or click here to find additional Marion County free food pantries

By Jon McNamara

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