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Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Franklin, Southampton and Isle of Wright assistance programs.

Charities, churches, and Social Services provide government grants to pay electric bills or money for rent, security deposits, or mortgage payments. There is also free groceries from food pantries, job placement programs, back to school supply giveaways and other help in the Portsmouth, Southampton, and the region.

There are charities and social service departments for emergency financial aid or food stamp applications. Or get help in the form of low income housing, homeless prevention programs, medical bill or debt settlement or credit card help. Many resources are available in all cities and towns, including Portsmouth, Suffolk, Norfolk and the area.

Non-profits for financial help, including utilities and rent

Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project (STOP) is the community action agency. They provide coverage and referrals across the area, including Portsmouth and Norfolk. Case managers from the site work with low income clients and help them overcome their challenges and get back on track with a stable financial condition.

STOP provides activities, programs, social services, and needed referrals for the socio-economic upgrading of low-income families. The non-profit and its staff also serves as a crisis outreach site, providing emergency rent, food, utility bill payments, shelter, and other needed services on short notice. Other resources may be Head Start applications and information on government government sponsored job training programs.

As noted, self-sufficiency is stressed too. These means that case mangers work with the client on an ongoing basis. The main location is at 2551 Almeda Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23513, dial (757)858-1360, or click here STOP Community action assistance programs.

Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition is a place to turn to if faced with an eviction or utility disconnection. The center may have grants for paying rent or utility bills for people of the city. Several grant based programs are provided from PARC as well as referrals. Call (757)397-5208 or 757-966-2107, or more on Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition.




The Salvation Army has numerous offices and centers in the region listed below. They provide assistance, as resources allow, to counties and cities such as Southampton, Norfolk, Franklin and others. While the non-profit does its best to meet the demands of the low income and working poor, unfortunately only a fraction of requests are normally able to be fulfilled. The resources offered include some of the following.

Homeless prevention for people with an eviction notice or warrant for rent. In some cases mortgage help is offered in Virginia for a foreclosure notice. Qualified Salvation Army clients may be provided with a one-month or a partial month payment to prevent homelessness.

They may also provide financial assistance programs that include groceries, food, rent, transitional housing and utilities. Centers may have free bread, donuts, water, and fruit are offered daily as available on a walk in basis.  Or free back to school supplies or snacks are given to kids. Or try Salvation Army seasonal programs including free Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas toys/meals.

Some locations also process applications for the H2O water assistance program. This is funded through the public utility companies of Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Seasonal resources from the Salvation Army can be holiday meals, free Christmas toys or gift cards or back to school supplies. All funding is very limited.

  • Portsmouth Corps, 2306 Airline Boulevard, Portsmouth, Virginia 23701. Phone (757)393-2519
  • Salvation Army-Suffolk and Western Tidewater, 400 Bank Street , Suffolk, VA 23434, dial (757)539-5201
  • 510 North Main Street, Franklin, VA 23851. Main phone (757)516-2636
  • 5525 Raby Road, Norfolk, VA 23502, call (757)543-8100

There are other financial assistance programs available to the low income, working poor, and struggling. More on Salvation Army Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Franklin area.





Franklin Cooperative Ministry - As funding allows, the charity offers financial assistance or grants to the disadvantaged. The funds can be used for utilities, housing costs, prescriptions, dental care, clothing, security deposits and other crisis aid. Address is 301 W 1st Ave, Franklin, VA 23851. Call the charity at  (757) 516-6322.

Low cost loans can be offered as a form of emergency financial aid. There are sources of funds for military families in cities including Southampton, Franklin, or Portsmouth as well as anyone who is seeking to borrow low cost funds. These are not predatory lenders, and even learn about options including unsecured personal loans for financial help.

Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia may occasionally have government funding from the Regional Housing Crisis Line. They support many counties. They offer direct financial aid as part of the Regional Housing Crisis Line. Funds from the Catholic Charity churches may be in the form of a loan and can meet needs such as payment of different types of utility bills, including electricity, water or natural gas.

Also payment of rent or mortgages is offered to those that are otherwise self-sufficient. They are a HUD approved Agency. Other services from Catholic Charities includes Pregnancy Counseling, Elder Care, Representative Payee services, and even Life Coaching. Phone number is 757-587-4202 or (757)456-2366.

Ghent Area Ministry - Has material and financial assistance for individuals who are homeless, very low income or in financial need. The Freemason Street Baptist has partnered with other churches in the Ghent region to distribute food, limited financial assistance and housing referrals for those in danger of eviction or utilities cut-off. There is also emergency travel assistance, and/or free winter coats. 1301 Colonial Avenue , Norfolk, Virginia 23517, call (757)622-0438

Portsmouth Oasis Social Ministry tries to ensure all residents have access to food and social services. There may also be a limited amount of money for bills or rent in a crisis. The HUM Center provides Christmas and holiday support, free hot meals, and more. There is also a thrift store on site as well. Find more information on Oasis Social Ministry.

Social Services Department is open for each county, city and town. They all offer emergency or long term aid. A focus is on energy and utility bill assistance, however other support is offered too. The Cooling program assists with payments of electric and air conditioning bills during the summer months. The departments also provides financial assistance to households during emergencies, such as when running out of fuel or lack of heat.

Social Services also help with medical and health needs. Medicaid, Medicare, SSI disability benefits and even counseling is offered. They are all doe in an effort to make medical and health more affordable for low income households. Read more on medical debt settlement.





Social Services offer other support to the low income, families in poverty or unemployed. Other information from a center can include applications to SNAP food stamps, TANF cash assistance, SNAP Employment & Training, General Relief, Adult Care and more, There is also support for disability applications and other aid. Find more Virginia public assistance programs. Or call an office below.

  • Social Services in Isle of Wight County, 17100 Monument Circle, Isle Of Wight, Virginia 23397
  • Southampton County Social Services, 26022 Administration Center Drive, Courtland, VA 23837, phone (757)653-3080
  • Norfolk Department of Human Services, 201 East Little Creek Road, phone (757)664-6035
  • Franklin Department of Social Services can be called at (757)562-8520
  • Suffolk Social Services is located at 135 Hall Avenue, Suffolk, Virginia 23434. Phone (757)514-7450
  • Social Services in Portsmouth VA is at 1701 High Street in Portsmouth. Main number is (757)405-1800
  • Norfolk Department of Human Services serves as a main contact point for families facing eviction or that are currently homeless. Assistance available includes connection to appropriate service providers, screening for placement into local shelters, and applications for eviction prevention resources. 741 Monticello Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23505, or click more information on Department of Social Services in Norfolk.

Little Creek Fleet and Family Support Center supports veterans and military families. Programs include relocation assistance, personal financial management, information and referral, military life skills education, transition assistance and more. Veterans, active military members and their families can get help. Even find disability for veterans. Call the center at (757) 462-7563.

Emergency homeless prevention services can assist those facing imminent eviction or foreclosure. There may be government grants for making a partial rent payment, information on shelters, help for security deposits, or housing counseling. Low cost loans may be issued too. The goal of social services is to keep the family housing, regardless of age, whether disability or not, or other circumstances. Click more information on homeless prevention in Hampton Roads area.

Free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals or gifts are available in eastern Virginia. Programs such as Adopt a Family operate in the region, including Norfolk. There may be everything from free toys to gift cards and food baskets for less fortunate families. Read more free holiday programs in eastern Virginia.

Regional food pantries

Wesley Community Service Center, 1701 Elm Avenue, Portsmouth, VA 23704, (757)399-0541. The center passes out groceries, canned goods, and other items in partnership with the Foodbank. They also have a soup kitchen for meals.

Open Door Chapel at Virginia Beach is an option. There is a free food pantry for groceries as well as personal toiletries, holiday meals or paper products. Phone (757)340-1441

Freedom Fellowship is based at 836 Regency Drive in Virginia Beach. Call the pantry at (757)428-3277 for hours and information.

FOTE Outreach and Community Development Program can be contacted at (757)431-0052. Whether applications to food stamps or a bag of groceries, assistance is offered.

Episcopal Church of the Advent provides a free food pantry for the Ocean View area in the City of Norfolk. Location is 9629 Norfolk Avenue. Call (757)587-0125

Grace and Hope Mission, 2800 Lafayette Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23509. Call the pantry at (757)855-7175. In addition to the free food pantry, there are Easter meals, Christmas food baskets and free Thanksgiving turkey dinners.

Union Mission Ministries - There is a low cost thrift store that can be used by people looking for bargains / inexpensive goods, including for cooking supplies. Main phone (757)627-8686

Saint Columba Ecumenical Ministries is based in Norfolk at 2114 Lafayette Boulevard. For those referred families and low income individuals, they are provided with enough food for three days. Call (757)627-6748.

Episcopal Church of the Ascension helps the needy in Norfolk. Telephone - (757)423-6715.

Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church Pantry . Get canned groceries, fresh produce or vegetables, Christmas food or baby formula. Call (757)622-4487

For families that live in Norfolk and the region, they can locate several free food pantries and/or soup kitchens that focus just on their area. Based on donation levels and other factors, applicants can be provided with groceries, baby formula, and fresh fruits. Other basic needs can be met by them too, such as holiday toys or clothing for work. Find Norfolk City free food pantries.







Community clinics, health centers and free medical care

Western Tidewater Free Clinic - Coordinates non-emergency health care for the poor, uninsured, and those who can't otherwise pay their medical bills. They only support Western Tidewater. 2019 Meade Parkway, Suffolk, Virginia 23434, call (757)923-1060.

Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System covers Hampton Roads. The non-profit clinic provides general medical care to uninsured adults and children over the age of 12. Get treatment for headaches, ear aches, and pink eye, infections, chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Telephone is (757)889-2273

Hampton Roads Community Health Center has a few locations. They offer comprehensive medical care on a sliding fee scale. Examples of services are flu and pneumonia vaccines, prescriptions for medicine, diabetes and blood pressure checks, pediatric services, hypertension, X-Rays and other care. There may also be free cancer screenings and help in applying for insurance.

  • 3415 Granby Street in Norfolk. Call (757)533-9108.
  • 664 Lincoln Street, Portsmouth, Virginia 23704, (757)393-6363.

HOPES Clinic at Eastern Virginia Medical School - Offers free offers physical exams and follow-up care for diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and even heart disease. Call (757) 446-5600 or (757)-446-0333.

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital can support patients that are either uninsured or under insured. Basic outpatient medical care is for residents of the City of Norfolk, including referrals to specialized services. Or find more and click here for other medical assistance programs. Address is 130 Colley Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510. Call (757)388-300

Southeastern Virginia Health System Clinic in Suffolk - Telephone (757)925-1866. they offer check ups, help adults or children on Medicaid, and give other free care.


By Jon McNamara


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