Rhode Island Catholic Charities emergency assistance.

The Rhode Island Council of Churches, Catholic Charities, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence have partnered together to create the Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund. It can provide qualified people with cash and financial assistance for a crisis and basic needs, such as prescriptions, rent, heating and utility bills. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence Office of Community Services and Advocacy and local churches administrate the service.

There is an application process in place, and the program and its services are provided in both Spanish and English. Funds are limited, and the application process is extensive. In order to receive support, the following need to be met by applicants. Feel free to call 401-421-7833 ext. 207 for information.

Rental assistance may be provided to Rhode Island families who have an eviction notice, or who need help moving to a shelter.

Emergency utility assistance may be provided by the Catholic Charity program for people attempting to restore utility services or who have a termination notice from their utility company.

Assistance for prescription medications – Applicants who are ineligible for health coverage or who are currently waiting for their health insurance coverage to commence may get medications or prescription drugs.

Heating bill assistance is offered as a last resort. Prior to applying to the Dire Emergency Fund, applicants need to have made use of or be ineligible for all federal government, state of Rhode Island and other private heating assistance funds. Funds are made available through a program known as Bishop’s Keep the Heat On Fund.

Money management is offered from a program called Family Futures: Learning that Adds Up to Savings. This course is several weeks long, and it can help teach individuals and families the importance of money management, credit repair, debt reduction, budgeting, and more. Many of the beneficiaries are living on fixed incomes such as disability or social security, unemployed, or low income.




Some additional workshops offered by this program include saving money on energy bills, basic budgeting skills, banking, debt management, resume building, and job hunting. The lessons, classes, and workshops are held by some of the community’s leading credit counselors and experts on financial fitness.

After the Catholic Charity sponsored workshops are complete, individuals may elect to work one-on-one with a financial coach/credit counselor. Participants will meet once a month for a minimum of six months. Together you will address a wide variety of issues, including creating a plan to reduce your debts and outstanding loans, writing monthly budgets, credit repair, and opening a bank account.

Refugee and Immigration Resettlement Services are offered by Rhode Island Catholic Charity affiliated organizations. The agency works closely with and in an affiliation with Migration & Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Staff from the center will provide refugee resettlement services. The programs are appropriate for anyone in need of affordable refugee resettlement casework or immigration services.

Keep the Heat On helps with paying heating and energy bills. It is mainly funded by donations and contributions from local residents, businesses and churches, with matching funds from Catholic Charities. Most years, hundreds of families receive assistance for paying their bills if they have no place left to turn for aid.

Senior Health Insurance Program, or SHIP, can help seniors, the disabled, and older adults. They can receive help with understanding medical bills and health care costs. Receive information on available private and public health care coverage. SHIP volunteers provide one-to-one counseling to families and caregivers, seniors, adults with disabilities, and will discuss topics like federal retiree health insurance, Medicare, free and reduced-cost medical care programs, Medicare prescription drug plans, supplemental insurance, long-term care insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, over insurance, Veterans benefits and other medical care programs.

A network of local Rhode Island programs are part of SHIP. Staff and volunteers who work with Catholic Charities will offer education, personalized counseling, and outreach. The network and the resources provides accurate and objective information and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and their immediate families. So recipients of services from the SHIP program will be better able to understand and utilize their Medicare benefits. Also get help and advice in enrolling in these programs and plans.





Free state and federal government income tax preparation and filing services are offered for individuals and families with low incomes. Participants can receive all tax credits for which they are entitled to, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). All volunteers and staff who assist with this income tax program have completed training and are certified by Catholic Charities and the Internal Revenue Service. Rhode Island families can get advice and support with Telephone Tax Refund, Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Rhode Island State Property Tax Refund, and Education Expense Deduction.

Rhode Island Catholic Charity centers

Pawtucket is served by Project Hope/Proyecto Esperanza. Address of the center is 474 Broadway, Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860. Dial 401/728-0515. The Project Hope provides direct assistance to residents who are most at risk, including low-income families, seniors, and disabled.

Woonsocket is served by St. Charles Borromeo Church. Location is 190 North Main Street, Woonsocket, RI 02895. Phone (401) 762-2849

This Woonsocket office provides direct financial assistance and cash grants to qualified low-income families. Some of the assistance includes access to the Keep the Heat On winter heating bill assistance program. Receive help paying for and obtaining other basic needs such as food, rent, and prescriptions. Get an application for the Cabrini Fund child care scholarship program. Also access immigration information, assistance, and free or low cost representation from specialists. Get help preparing income taxes for low-income individuals and families.

Providence is covered by St. Martin de Porres Multi-Service Catholic Charity Center. The office is at 160 Cranston St., Providence, Rhode Island 02907. Main number 401/274-6783.




This location houses one of the longest serving senior centers anywhere in Rhode Island. It is a nationally recognized center that provides individuals with a wide range of services and culturally diverse programs for over 1,900 disabled adults, inner city seniors, and homebound elders. Seniors can get information and referral, health screenings, free daily meals, social services, and referrals and information. This can also include details on a variety of activities and education classes, computer instruction, and local Rhode Island support groups and various financial assistance programs. All programs and services are operated in partnership with the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs.

West Warwick, 145 Washington Steet, West Warwick, RI 02893, telephone 401/823-6211
South County/Wakefield: St. Francis of Assisi Church, 114 High Street, Wakefield, Rhode Island 02879-3141, telephone 401/783-3149


By Jon McNamara

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