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Assistance programs in Pierce County and Tacoma.

Get information on grants, financial assistance from charities or churches in Pierce County as well as government assistance or benefits. These programs, in Tacoma and countywide, can all provide help with a rent or mortgage payment, emergency funds for paying utility bills to keep power on, free food, and much more.

Many charities also give out free stuff. Whether that is a motel or hotel room voucher for a night, school supplies to students, or a tank of gasoline, support is offered. There may also be free furniture, Christmas toys, hot meals, clothes and more. The emergency financial aid is focused on low income families, the elderly, and disabled, but anyone can apply.

Rent, food, utility bill, and job assistance

Churches that are located in the Tacoma Washington area and Pierce County are increasing their efforts to help people cope. The number of people who need assistance and are turning to faith based area near them, no matter their religion. Churches in the Tacoma continue to help individuals of all backgrounds. Many people need financial aid of a box of food, while some need information on new job or maybe to have their skills updated or just get counseling.

In addition to helping people of all faiths, churches provide other aid. Using limited funds, they may be able to provide emergency assistance, such as rent help, utility bill assistance, free motel vouchers, and help with medical bills. They also offer referrals. Some have emergency lodging as well, and learn about motel room voucher for a night.

As another example, there have been some local churches that have paid families money for water, electric, or heating bills. There are some that have provided funds for rent. Or Pierce County churches give free food or gasoline vouchers. This form of assistance was given to one person who worked very hard, but received a short term illness.

Some people turning to a faith based groups have found jobs as well. As a parish may be a place to meet small business owners who are hiring. Or some churches have information on job fairs in the county. In general, people can’t turn to the church for support if they have no long term plan to become self reliant. As assistance is limited. The church also does provides clothing, food, and rent assistance. Find additional church assistance programs.




Other agencies to contact include the Pierce County Community Action Program. Call the Tacoma based agency at (253) 798-6266. The services they offer to help people with bills and living expenses include.

  • Emergency services - They partner with local agencies, and they also administer a small grant to provide low to moderate income individuals with emergency financial assistance.
  • Free items can be provided - This can range from work clothes to diapers, computers for work, and more. Find a list of free stuff, including grant programs.
  • Weatherization Program - This energy conserving program examines single and multi unit dwellings, mobile homes and other structures for existing heat loss conditions, then uses private sector contractors to install energy conservation measures on these units. The program is free to qualified individuals.
  • Find a job - Low income families can use the Pierce County CAREER Program to receive training, counseling, and leads on job opportunities.
  • Housing programs - Various services are offered that can help repair a home, improve it, and add energy saving improvements.
  • Energy Bill Assistance Program - This resource provides heating and utility bill support through a direct payment made to the utility company on the Pierce County or Tacoma families behalf. This assistance program only operates during the heating season, usually November through April of each year. Find how to get help directly from your energy company, and read more on Washington energy bill assistance.

For more information on any of the resources listed immediately above, call (253) 798-6266. Or try the community action agency in Pierce County.





Catholic Community Services (phone (253) 383-3697) also offers qualified families several programs and resources. They can advise people on where to turn for help and counseling, and direct them towards financial assistance options from their Family Center. More on Pierce County Catholic Charity programs.

Metropolitan Development Council Pierce County is another agency that helps Tacoma and Pierce County Washington families. They offer dozens of programs to qualified low income individuals, including the following.

  • Energy and heating bill assistance
  • Mobile dental and medical clinics
  • Housing aid, including rent help and shelters
  • Family support services
  • Counseling
  • Referrals to local charities and non-profits
  • Information on Washington foreclosure assistance programs

The non-profit has a major focus on offering housing solutions, such as transitional housing, permanent placement, and limited rental assistance. Call the agency at (253) 597-6710, or continue with Metropolitan Development Council Pierce County programs.

The Salvation Army - Tacoma Corps administers a multitude of programs. Eligible individuals can access Rental Assistance, Life Saving Prescriptions, or Free Food. The Salvation Army may also have Emergency Housing, Utility Assistance, and Senior and Youth Programs. Call (253) 572-8452

Another Salvation Army office is in Pierce County Washington at (253) 841-1491. Between these two locations they offer low income, seniors, and the working poor a wide array of emergency assistance programs. There are also free items offered, including school supplies, Thanksgiving Turkeys, or Christmas meals or gifts. Click here Salvation Army Pierce County Washington.

Some of the regional programs that may be able to assist with energy bills, mortgages, rent, prescriptions, and more include:

  • Black Diamond Community Center - (360) 886 - 1011
  • Eatonville Family Agency - Phone (360) 832 - 6805.
  • Gig Harbor/Peninsula FISH - (253) 851 - 8800
  • Federal Way Community Caregiving Network - Serves northeast Tacoma. (253) 661 - 0505
  • Plateau Outreach Ministries - Runs the Samaritan Project. Dial (360) 802 - 2220.
  • Saint Martin of Tours - Covers Fife Washington. (253) 970 - 9037.

Children's Home Society - Key Peninsula - Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula can apply for emergency assistance with rent and/or utility bills. On average $50 is paid out. 17010 S Vaughn Rd, Vaughn, Washington, 98394. Phone: (253) 884 – 5433.





Pierce County DSHS - Community Services Offices offers one or more of the following. ETANF/WorkFirst clients may apply for financial assistance or grants when faced with an emergency. Apply for emergency funding for paying eviction notices; utility bills including electric, gas, heating fuel, water/sewer or telephone. Homeless can apply for security deposit move-in assistance. They also administer the Additional Requirements for Emergent needs (AREN) in Pierce County 5712 Main St SW, Lakewood, WA, 98499. Call (877) 501-2233. 1301 E 72 St, Tacoma, Washington, 98404. Phone: (877) 501 – 2233

Consumer Protection from the Washington Utilities Commission can advise Pierce County households on their rights when it comes to a utility disconnection or the winter moratorium. The government affiliated group works to ensure that low income families do not have their power or electricity service illegally shut off. They offer information on payment programs and other potential solutions. Dial (888) 333-9882 for information on consumer rights.

Federal Way Community Caregiving Network is a non-profit organization that supports residents of the school district only. They may have move in assistance (such as security deposits), rent, bus tickets, and maybe an occasional motel voucher. In some cases a forgivable loan will be issued for these types of expenses, such as utilities or rent. The main office is at 345 S 312th St, Federal Way, Washington, 98003.

Families Unlimited Network – Can help pay rent if faced with eviction, or emergency funds for utilities. 2610 Sunset Dr W, University Place, WA, 98466. Call (253) 460 – 3134

Helping Hand House – If you have a child in the home, and a utility disconnection notice, this not for profit has funds for Tacoma residents. Aid is focused on families with children. 11701 101 Ave Ct E, Puyallup, Washington, 98373, (253) 848 - 6096

Utility disconnection laws can also help Pierce County families that are struggling with light, electric, heating, or gas bills. There are a few state rules and regulations out there, regardless of income. Find how to prevent utility shut offs for children.

LASA – Churches and volunteers formed this group. They will need to review your financial situation, and may be able to pledge money towards utility, bus vouchers, rent, medications and/or anything else that may prevent homelessness in Pierce County. 8956 Gravelly Lake Dr SW, Lakewood, WA, 98498. Phone number: (253) 582 – 5320. More on LASA programs.

Pierce County Veterans Bureau – Military member, veterans, and families can apply for emergency assistance. Get free food, rent and utilities, all of which may be offered to qualified, indigent military members and veterans. 925 Tacoma Ave S, Suite B, Tacoma, Washington, 98402, (253) 798 - 7449

Saint Francis Cabrini Church – If you are low income, and have a disconnect or vacate notice, this church provides help with paying rent, utilities, or housing expenses (no more than $100), and can even offer limited assistance with furniture. Serves their church boundaries only, which currently includes zip codes 98499, 98439 and a small part of 98498. Address is 5505 108th St SW, Lakewood, WA, 98499, (253) 588 - 2141 Ext: 351





Social services, cash assistance, and public aid - The low income can get help from public funded programs run by Pierce County, the federal government, and the state of Washington. Services range from food stamps, LIHEAP, to general assistance. Thousands of families receive assistance from the government every year. Find public assistance in Perce County.

Plateau Outreach Ministries runs the Samaritan Project. This provides Emergency Financial Assistance. It can pay for security deposits, school supplies, propane, medications, and a portion of a monthly rent payment. The charity only serves the greater Enumclaw area. There are also referrals, information on shelters, and assistance to the currently homeless. (360) 825-8961

Free holiday programs of Pierce County - Low income residents can get help during Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Donations are available from Toys for Tots as well as Angel Tree among others. Find places to get free toys for a child, a holiday meal, food, and more. More on Pierce County free holiday assistance.

Making a Difference in Community, or MDC, administers Housing Services in Tacoma Washington. This is mainly Low-income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for the low income, seniors, or disabled. The Family Need program can help pay electric bills, and they may also have referrals to other resources, such as transitional housing. Telephone number is (253) 572-5557.

Army Community Service may have assistance for active military members, their families, and referrals for veterans. The organization provides assistance with emergency financial needs like vehicle repairs, rent, utilities, rent evictions, and other basic necessities. Aid is in the form of a grant or zero interest rate loan. Fort Lewis, Washington, (253) 967 – 7166.

Legal help in Tacoma from the Lawhelp Center and volunteer attorneys can cover a number of civil issues. Lawyers can help tenants facing eviction or offer other landlord mediation services. Projects can also advise consumers on credit and debt counseling, support immigrants, and assist with bankruptcy filings, among other services. More on Pierce County free legal aid.

Eatonville Family Agency – As funding allows the non-profit will offer limited payments for energy bills, rent or mortgage assistance. Very limited hours and funding. Dial (360) 832 – 6805.

Rapid rehousing and homeless prevention - All across Tacoma Washington and Pierce County are agencies that may receive annual grants from the federal housing. Many are part of the Continuum of Care, and provide support to the working poor and low income tenants. Placement into new homes as well as short term cash grants can be used for energy costs, rent, and more. More on Pierce County eviction and rehousing programs.

Free clothing assistance, furniture and basic needs - Several non-profit centers in the county provide low income and struggling families with free items. They include basic clothing, free furniture, Christmas assistance, toys, gifts, and free back to school supply items. More moderate income families can shop at thrift stores in Pierce County as well for discounted goods. Some free furniture or clothing bank locations may also provide financial assistance or free groceries. Find more details on free clothes, furniture and school supplies in Pierce County.

Washington Women's Employment & Education can help low income who are faced with eviction. The applicant needs to prove the need and resume payments on their own. Other assistance can help with security deposits, assist clients with finding a job, and work on general self-sufficiency. Housing plans may be available for participants, which will include follow up and other commitments. 3516 S 47th St. Suite 205, Tacoma, WA, 98409.

The regional Aging and Disability Resource Center is for assisting the elderly as well as their caregivers. There is also support for the disabled in Pierce County. Clients can get help with the following:

  • Learn about saving and living on either a fixed income, pension, or SSI.
  • Senior citizens can get details on prescription drug discounts from Medicare and other health care programs.
  • Low cost meals on wheels are arranged by the center.
  • Other support is also given, including grants, workshops for caregivers, and more. Continue Reading senior assistance Pierce County.







All Saints Community Services of Puyallup only covers East Pierce County, but not Tacoma or Lakewood. On occasion there may be money for a portion of back rent or emergency utility bill help. They are located at 204 6th Ave SW. Call (253) 848-2000.

Local housing assistance - Resources are available for families on the verge of eviction and/or those that may be currently homeless. Low income and transitional housing services offer many types of assistance. Free food, meals, funds for paying a deposit, and information on job training are just a few examples of what clients can receive. Continue reading transitional housing programs in Pierce County.

Associated Ministries helps coordinate the resources offered by non-profits and other groups in the Pierce County region. They provide a service known as coordinated entry. As part of this, there may be referrals given to housing solutions for the homeless and individuals facing eviction.

An entry specialist will partner with the client to information information on, and suggested places to apply at, for grants for paying back rent and referrals to charities. Many of the resources are available as part of Coordinated Entry. The Ministries may also provide locations of transitional housing, youth programs, were to get help with security deposits, and information on emergency loans. Phone 253-682-3401.

Multi-Service Center covers only a small portion of Pierce County and Tacoma. They may be able to refer clients to emergency rent or security deposit programs, provide food, and other basic needs. To show a limit of their services, as an example MSC only supports qualified families in Lakehaven Utility District with paying their water bills. So services are limited. 1200 S 336th St, Federal Way, Washington, 98003. Call (253) 838 – 6810 for information. Read more on Multi-Service Center in South King.

Tacoma Employment Resource Center (253-471-4890) can help clients either find a new job or enroll into a training program. Some individuals, whether they were long term unemployed, immigrants, recent graduates, or seniors re-entering the workforce need advice. The center offers them free resources to use.

Utilities, including electric, water, and heating - The main energy company in the region, Tacoma Public Utilities, administers several programs and discounts. Most of the aid is for low income and senior citizens. Examples of the resources include the Family Need Program, PowerAid, and others. Continue assistance from Tacoma Utilities.

Pierce County Share and Care House is a charity that can both rehouse the homeless and direct residents to financial aid for their rent and housing expenses. The non-profit is also involved in running low income and transitional housing in Pierce County. Other resources include Protective Payee and support from the local DSHS office. Click Care and Share programs.

Saint Andrew's Catholic Church provides some limited financial assistance for expanses like utilities. They may also have clothes and more. Call (253) 891 - 6535

Connections non-profit agency - This organization works closely with the government as well as other non-profits across Pierce County to administer dozens of programs. Some examples include rent help and transitional housing from the Action Program, motel vouchers, free food, and home repairs for the disabled and seniors. Grants for paying heating bills are available from EAP, and they also provide free food in the Tacoma area. Many other resources are offered. More on Pierce County Connection Community Action.

St. Vincent De Paul Society - St. Theresa's Catholic Church – While they have an extensive application process, including home visits, the not for profit administers emergency human and social service programs in areas of service which include free food (food bank), financial assistance to pay rent in order to prevent evictions, hotel or motel vouchers for temporary shelter, and financial assistance to prevent power shut-offs.

Depending on the exact need of the applicant, the organization may also provide food vouchers, gas vouchers and bus tickets. Last, but not least, may help with prescriptions and furniture when resources are available.  3939 SW 331st St, Federal Way, Washington, 98023. Call Phone: (206) 767 - 6449. Learn more on St. Vincent de Paul in Tacoma and Pierce County.

We Love Steilacoom Association - Must live in the town of Steilacoom Washington State, but can help pay utilities or heating bills, or emergency plumbing repairs. 2301 Worthington St., Steilacoom, Washington, 98388. Call the agency at (253) 581 – 1912





A Pierce County non-profit supported service is available in the form of a helpline. The specialists can direct residents to any one of dozens or charity or government supported programs. The goal is to help struggling families that are threatened by a crisis. Find details on the Pierce County crisis line.

Programs for paying rent and deposits - If none of these Tacoma and Pierce County programs can help you deal with your housing or rent concerns, then families have other options. Most of the aid is focused on those with an eviction notice or the homeless may also apply for grants for a security deposit. Find additional Tacoma rent assistance programs.

Find how to get help with utility bills in Tacoma. Some agencies and government programs focus on power, heat and light. Tacoma Power Aid (phone (253) 651 - 5065) offers utility bill assistance to Tacoma Public Utilities customers.

Water and sewer bills programs are offered too. Pierce County residents can receive a discount on their monthly water bills. Some payment plans may also be provide to income qualified families which can help prevent a shut off of their service. Read more on Tacoma water bill assistance programs.

Medical and dental care for the low income and uninsured

Low income and people with limited or no health insurance can contact Community Health Care at (253) 597-4550 operates several health and dental clinics around Tacoma and Pierce County. The facilities provide patients with access to high quality health care for Pierce county's low-income and uninsured residents. Multiple clinics throughout the area meet this need. They offer free healthcare for the low income.

Another option is Neighborhood Clinic in Tacoma. This facility provides free medical care to patients who cannot afford or access healthcare. So if you are low income, or have limited health insurance, contact this health care clinic. (253) 627-6353

Sea Mar Medical Clinic-Tacoma (phone (253) 593 - 2144) provides comprehensive community health care, including primary and urgent care, obstetrics, and internal medicine to patients on a sliding fee scale.

Additional medical programs and resources are offered from other health and dental centers in the region. Find a listing of more Piece County free community clinics.

Free food assistance

Social services is an option. They help with USDA programs such as food stamps, commodities, free school lunches, and more. All options are explored. Even find what to do when food stamps have been denied.

Contact FISH Food Banks. They run almost 10 food banks and pantries around the county. The goal of the FISH pantry is to provide each qualified client with enough nutritious food and groceries to make three meals a day for three consecutive days, and ensure people are provided nutritious food. There are also free soup kitchens too. Call (253) 383 - 3164

Bread of Life Food Bank - Lakewood offers temporary food assistance. (253) 582 - 2515

Holy Cross (phone (253) 752 - 0341) is part of the Saint Vincent De Paul Outreach Network, and it provides free food, groceries, and other aid. For example, click here to learn about food stamps.

Orting Food Bank provides food up to once per month for eligible households. (360) 893 - 3150.

If these food banks can’t offer you the groceries, meals, or food that you or your family needs, several other non-profits, churches, and food distribution centers operate in Pierce County. They will help anyone in need and will not turn anyone away. Find more Pierce County free food pantries.





Mortgage, foreclosure, and debt help

Housing is costly in Pierce County and Washington State. Many families, regardless of income, need help purchasing a property. There is assistance, ranging from loans to also mortgage and foreclosure help in Washington.

American Financial Solutions provides help to those who are behind on mortgage payments. Learn about such options as Loan Modification or Extension, Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, or Forbearance Agreement. Call (800) 894 - 5307.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, which can be reached at (800) 244 - 1183 provides housing counseling, debt assistance, help with buying a home on pre-purchase, advice on foreclosure and mortgage delinquencies, and debt repayment plans. Work one on one with counselors, and some programs are free of charge. Learn more on debt management plans.


By Jon McNamara

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